Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Unhappy Being a Self-Employed Entrepreneur? Get Some Employees

According to a new study from Finland, entrepreneurs with employees rate themselves happier than any other self-employed person. However, despite being the happiest of the self-employed people, an entrepreneur's happiness is only equal to the happiness of a salaried worker.

At this point, I'll remind you that this study is from Finland. You know, one of those Scandinavian countries that offer six week vacations, free education, free quality health-care. A place where being a wage slave is probably pretty nice.

If you did the same study in the U.S., I suspect the salaried worker would rate much lower on the happiness scale than the entrepreneur.

So Does Having Employees Make an Entrepreneur Happier?

Yes, and no. Employees control the speed of the emotional rollercoaster that is a startup.

Employees will surprise you with amazing insights and contributions, and then the next week miss two crucial deadlines. You just to have to roll with it. Unfortunately, unlike the typical entrepreneur, employees have lives outside of work that can sap their productivity. Illness, relationship problems, etc. And the entrepreneur can't control that.

I really hate having to deal with the fact that no matter what happens, no one will be as driven as me to see our company succeed. It's a tough thing to handle. Running a Fortune 500 company must be hell. Just knowing that 20% or more of your workers are just there to collect a paycheck and play solitaire would infuriate me.

But boy, when things are firing on all cylinders, employees are the greatest thing in the world. A united front against the world. Being surrounded by people who share your vision, your goal, your stock option plan, is a wonderful thing.

So do employees make you happier? Well, creating a company is like sex, it's more fun to do it with others, then by yourself in your bedroom. So yes, but some employees like to leave marks.

A Final Note

Farmers were the most unhappy self-employed people. It makes sense, they have to rely on God for their productivity, I just have to rely on freelance developers.