Wonder Why So Many Women Are Smiling? They Are Entrepreneurs.

Okay, I know this is going to put legions of self-help authors who target the female audience out of business, but there is one simple key to happiness: be a successful women entrepreneur.

Babson College and Baruch College just issued their  2013 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) US Report, which makes it abundantly clear that established female business owners are enjoying a level of happiness that would cause Pharrell Williams to break out in song.

The study found that women who own established businesses rank their well-being more than twice as high as women who are neither entrepreneurs nor business owners. Also, one in 10 US women is starting or running a new business.

Smiling_girlBeyond economic and social benefits

“Women entrepreneurs show a substantial boost in well-being as their businesses mature, demonstrating the personal return on investment that comes with venturing into entrepreneurship. Our research found that the benefits of entrepreneurship extend beyond economic and social value. Clearly, entrepreneurship provides women a most satisfying career choice,” says Donna J. Kelley, lead author and associate professor of entrepreneurship at Babson College.

Paradoxically, we may have the misery of the “Great Recession” to thank for this increased happiness among women. History teaches us that financial hard times prompt many who have lost their jobs to strike out on their own and establish businesses. Certainly many women took this course of action over the last several years.

Not all of the good news in the study relates directly to women. The findings are also pretty upbeat for American entrepreneurs and business owners in general:

  • Almost half – 47 percent – of Americans think there are good opportunities for starting a business right now and that’s the highest that figure has been since they started the study back in 1999.
  • Some 56 percent of Americans believe they have what it takes to start their own businesses. That level of confidence is the highest among the 24 developed economies covered in the report.
  • 37 percent of US entrepreneurs are planning to create jobs and employ six or more employees in the next five years.

Older Americans doing well

It also looks like many older Americans are turning to entrepreneurship to launch those second and third careers. Folks who are 55-64 years old are just as likely as younger Americans to recognize entrepreneurial opportunities and at the same time they’re less risk averse. All of this adds of to Americans leading all the other developed economies among older entrepreneurs.

If you need a little extra boost of confidence to start or expand your business, this study should provide it.

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Image: Smiling Girl by Eric McGregor  used via CC BY 2.0.