Entrepreneurship Comes with Stress, but also Optimism

Entrepreneurship Comes with Stress, but also Optimism


According to a Gallup poll, more stress appears to be a drawback of being an entrepreneur in America.

Treps are more stressed

In the US, 42% of entrepreneurs are more likely than other workers (at 45%) to report experiencing stress a lot of the day. They are also more likely than other US workers to say they worried a lot of the day (34% vs. 30%).

Importantly, the slight differences between entrepreneurs and other US workers in daily emotions hold true even after controlling for age, gender, race/ethnicity, region, income, education, marital status, and weekly hours worked.

This means that these demographic factors alone don’t account for entrepreneurs’ emotional health dividend; rather, there is something else about being an entrepreneur that relates to having more stress and worry.

Treps feed their intellectual curiosity

Entrepreneurs are more likely than other workers to report learning or doing something interesting – 71% vs. 66%.

Entrepreneurs are also slightly more likely to report experiencing enjoyment a lot of the day (89% vs. 86%), which may be, in part, due to their greater propensity to learn and do interesting activities on a daily basis.

Treps optimistic about the future

Entrepreneurs express more optimism about their future than other employed adults. When asked to place their lives on an imaginary ladder where the top rung represents their “best possible life” in five years, 30% of entrepreneurs place themselves on the top rung — this compares with 25% of other workers.


  • Entrepreneurs are slightly more likely than other workers to report experiencing stress and worry.

One possible explanation for this may be that the personal and financial risks involved in starting and running a business may lead to additional worry and stress.

For example, entrepreneurs are significantly more likely than other workers to be uninsured and to struggle to afford necessary healthcare and medicine, which may cause them to have higher levels of stress and worry.

  • Entrepreneurs are slightly more likely than other employed adults to report experiencing enjoyment and learning and doing something interesting each day.

The same intellectual curiosity and energy needed to start and run a business may also drive entrepreneurs to seek out and take advantage of opportunities to learn or do something interesting or exciting on a regular basis.

Entrepreneurs also have creative and strategic control of their business and manage their own schedule to execute on their business plan. Thus, they may have more flexibility to pursue interesting and exciting learning opportunities and activities than other workers.

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