Self Employed People Enjoy Work More

A study shows that the British self-employed work longer hours and make less money, but are happier. I think people like feeling as if they have some level of control over their work situation. The first thought that popped into my mind is… why don't more businesses incorporate *entrepreneurial* type positions into their org charts?

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  • First off, I do work more on my own and I do (mostly) enjoy the work more.

    From my experience, successful large companies get that way by creating niche positions/departments of excellence that are funded by the company’s scale. Interestingly, I got the newly created opportunity to be an intrapreneur at a large company and it caused all sorts of issues culturally. I wanted to tap into and leverage the niche deparments, tap into business’s infrastructure, but struggled to compete for resources against the biggest SBU’s on a pure year-to-year financial return basis. There’s a reason GE doesn’t like to be in white goods – they have capital requirements to meet and underperformers are a drag. Same goes for high risk ventures, even with low investment requirements. Most small start ups need cash before paying off, so acquisiitons of start up companies reaching traction (and retaining that successful management team) is a more sure bet, even while paying a premium, than starting up internally from $0. Google has figured this out recently, and many S&P’s have followed this trend – with a variety of LT results.

  • Entrepeneurs do work harder and longer than employees, but the rewards are also greater and go beyond money. The joy in having complete creative control, of not having someone looking over your shoulder, of making mistakes and not needing to abjectly explain your reasoning to multiple layers of management are all priceless.

    At the end of the day you look around and it is all YOURS.

  • I think there’s an element of self-selection here – people who enjoy work in general and take a great deal of satisfaction from their accomplishments may be more likely to become self-employed.

    The potential danger in misunderstanding the causal relationship is that self-employment itself is not the route to happiness – if you’re not already wired that way, starting a business isn’t going to make you love long hours for low pay.