Secrets to being a happier business owner

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For Australians who feel stuck in the rat race, it’s easy to feel jealous of entrepreneurs, who have the freedom of only answering to themselves and making their own rules. But leaping out of a steady job into the unknown also brings a host of new challenges. With the potential for long hours and sleepless nights brought on by the extra weight of responsibility, the glamourous image of entrepreneurship doesn’t always hold true.

Is the grass greener on the other side? Vistaprint surveyed 500 Australian business owners and 500 employees to find out whos happier at work. Discover the results of the happiness survey in the infographic below, followed by some tips to be a happier small business owner.

infographic

The majority of Australian business owners (82%) feel satisfied at work. What’s more, around a third of the surveyed business owners gave themselves at least a 9 out of 10 for career satisfaction, compared to just 15 per cent of employees, even though entrepreneurs are working on average five more hours per week. Happiness for owners is fueled by a sense of ownership, such as making their own decisions, a flexible work schedule and work-life balance. While workplace conditions, including nice colleagues, work-life balance and job stability are key factors for happy employees.

Although most Australian business owners are satisfied with their careers, there’s always room for improvement. Taking more holidays and spending more time with family and friends were business owners’ top two choices when asked what would boost their happiness, followed by trusting themselves and making time for exercise. With these in mind, here are some tips to become an even happier and more successful entrepreneur:

Look after yourself

When your business is your baby, and its success ultimately lies in your hands, it can be easy to take on too much. But being regularly overworked and under-rested is a recipe for burnout – which can take a toll on your health and business.

Taking time away from the daily grind is not only essential to your wellbeing, but it also clears and refreshes your mind. Whether you choose to take a week’s holiday or simply spend some time exercising or on other hobbies, any time out will help you return to your business with a new perspective, fresh ideas and drive.

While it can be hard to switch off, if you organise your time carefully and ensure your biggest priorities are taken care of, you can and should enjoy that well-deserved rest.

Charlotte McMillan, Australian entrepreneur and founder of digital scrapbook Storychest, says: "For me, it's about making the time you spend working really worthwhile, so that you can enjoy your downtime properly. To make it worthwhile, success in your field is key, however you define success.”

Make time for friends and family

As well as focusing on yourself, remember to carve out time for those close to you. Spending time with friends and family will help you realise there’s a whole life outside your business and that you’re much more than just your professional self.

Your friends and family are also likely to be some of your biggest advocates, who always have and always will root for you and your business. When the going gets tough, they will remind you why you started your company in the first place.

Trust your decisions

It sounds clichéd, but for many small business owners it can feel lonely at the top. You may feel like you lack the support systems and colleagues to bounce ideas off when making new decisions, leading to a spiral of self-doubt.

But don’t get caught in analysis paralysis. Draw on whatever data, insights and opinions you have access to, whether that’s inside or outside your business. Even if you’re a solopreneur with no employees to turn to, there are a range of business networking events in Australia where you can meet and share advice with like-minded business owners. Successful entrepreneurs don’t operate in a vacuum, but instead try to consider different perspectives – wherever they can find them.

Danielle Price, Founder of She Will Shine, a village for Australian female business owners to connect, says: “Owning and running a business can be a lonely roller coaster ride, but it doesn’t have to be. Family and friends want the best for you but may not ‘get’ business owner life. Seek out support from like-minded entrepreneurs who truly understand what you are going through. They know the challenges because they are living and breathing them too, and will encourage you to believe in yourself and make those tough decisions.”

The final decision will lie in your hands, so you need to trust yourself that you’ve taken the right steps and are doing what’s best for your company. Remember that key to being a happy entrepreneur is having the freedom to make these decisions yourself, and learn from them.

Being an entrepreneur is a highly rewarding journey, offering control over your destiny and, for many, a more satisfying working life. Here you’ll find more tips to help you be a successful and happy business owner.

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