Finance August 11, 2015 Last updated September 18th, 2018 2,195 Reads share

The Small Business Owner: Living The American Dream

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What does it mean to live the American Dream? OnDeck recently released its

It’s Not About Job Security; It’s About Building Something

I grew up in a small business family and started sweeping the warehouse floor and driving the delivery truck for the family business as a teenager. Like many small business owners, my father left the security of a good job to pursue his dream to build a business. In fact 81 percent of those surveyed traded the security of a corporate job to pursue the American Dream.

Nearly half of the entrepreneurs surveyed (49 percent) were following their passion when they took the leap; and what’s more, many small business owners aren’t afraid to put their money where their mouth is. The vast majority have a lot of skin in the game—73 percent dipped into personal savings and 23 percent used their personal credit cards to get things off the ground.

Rolling Up their Sleeves and Getting to Work is a Way of Life

Most small business owners put in a longer day than the average “9 to 5”—two thirds of survey respondents reporting that the average workweek for them is over 50 hours. Nine out of 10 spend time doing some kind of work on the weekends and 80 percent tend to take work home after they leave the office.

While 31.5 percent of those who responded to the survey had businesses that were open on the weekends, with the exception of a small handful (only 10 percent), even if the business was closed, most small business owners don’t completely unplug and instead spend time checking on emails or taking calls.

As a teenager, part of Saturday morning was always spent puttering around the warehouse with my father. He wasn’t there because he felt like he had to be (but sometimes I was); he was there because he wanted to be—he was doing what he loved doing. His willingness to work hard and do whatever it took to be successful is a trait shared by many small business owners.

Giving Back is Part of the Deal

Local communities depend on small businesses to keep their cities alive and thriving. And, in addition to creating jobs, eight out of ten business owners get involved in their communities. In addition to running a business, they find time to sponsor local activities, support local charities, and donate their time to groups like the Rotary, Kiwanis, or the local Chamber of Commerce.

82.7 percent of surveyed businesses offer either in-kind donations or contribute cash to support local charities, and roughly 70 percent support local activities like the high school football team or the community theater. Over half are members of the Chamber of Commerce or other community networking organizations. Participating in the local community seems to be just part of what it means to be a small business owner.

Running a Small Business May Not Be Easy, But They Say It’s Worth It

Running a small business certainly isn’t for the faint of heart. Is all the hard work and sacrifice really worth it?

90 percent of survey respondents say they would never look back; and if given the change would do it all over again. Well over half (65 percent) say they’re better off financially than if they’d remained someone else’s employee; and even with the added work and stress of being a business owner, a little over half feel like they are able to successfully balance work and life away from work.

Politicians and community leaders like to laud the achievements of the successful business leaders in their communities—and for good reason. These businesses entertain us, do our dry cleaning, service our automobiles, feed us, and perform dozens of other services we rely on every day. Fortunately for us, the businesses we trust are run by hard-working people who are just as concerned about helping our communities grow as building their own businesses; which is all a part of the American Dream.

Click HERE for the inforgraphic and how to learn more about keeping the American Dream Alive.

What about you? Tell us about your business. And, if you had the chance, would you do it again?

Images: “American Dream this way, Blue and Red Interstate Sign with word American Dream and an arrow with sky background/


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Ty Kiisel

Ty Kiisel

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