Why do entrepreneurs live nearly six years longer than the rest of the population? Yesterday I shared the number one reason why: control. Despite the stress of “going it alone” and the perceived risk entrepreneurs take (the reality is that entrepreneurship is the least risky career path), entrepreneurs are in control. Or at least they feel in control, and that is what matters most according to the research.
But what are some other reasons why entrepreneurs live 7.47% longer than everyone else? Here are five.
5 more reasons why entrepreneurs live longer
When I worked for any of my previous companies (including my dad), I always had a schedule. That schedule didn’t change because someone (even someone as cute as our daughter) asked me to do something.
Last year, if I was still working for someone else, I could not have said “yes” when my daughter asked me at 11:00 AM to go to the zoo. Instead, I was able to spend more than three hours with my family, watching Aracelli feed giraffes and enjoying time together. On a Monday.
One reason entrepreneurs live longer is the freedom they have. To enjoy life. To adjust their schedules on the fly. To spend that first beautiful day in the Spring outside instead of cramped up in a cubicle.
When an entrepreneur gets tired, she takes a nap. If he so choose (as I try to most days), he doesn’t miss his daughter waking up, even if it’s not until 9:00 AM.
That freedom is a measure of quality of life, which is directly correlated to a longer life expectancy.
When I release a product of my own and 100 people buy it, I know the impact that I had. I improved the lives of 100 people. When I coach a small business owner and he goes from making $80,000 to nearly $200,000 in one year, that is life changing stuff. His family bought a new home, his daughter is in a better school, and his family is no longer stressing over money.
And me…I can’t help but smile. My daily level of satisfaction with my work is infinitely higher now than it was when I worked for others.
I’m not alone. Numerous surveys have shown that the closer a connection workers felt to their output (in other words, the more impact they felt they had on the product or service), the happier they were. This effect was magnified for the business owners.
Direct impact = satisfaction = greater health = longer life.
3. Less stress
I mentioned yesterday that entrepreneurs do have stress, but rather than the kind most people think (bills to pay, payrolls to meet, etc.), it’s the good kind; the kind that says “I am in control.”
Not only is an entrepreneur’s stress type better overall, but we also have less stress as a whole. And this is independent of income level.
Each of the other four reasons tie into this. More freedom, not feeling chained to a desk, having an impact, quality time with family and friends, and healthy risk all lower stress. When I was stressed at work before I owned my own business, there wasn’t much I could do. I seethed in anger or bottled it up inside. But I dared not leave my desk and certainly not the entire office.
Now when I feel stress, I go for a walk or I go home. Simply getting away does the trick for me. It allows me to think clearly and to get past the initial force of the stressor.
Despite what people seem to think about the stressed out entrepreneur compared to the person earning a “steady paycheck,” entrepreneurs are, on the whole, significantly less stressed than others.
4. Better relationships
Entrepreneurs tend to have better relationships than the population as a whole.
Freedom, job satisfaction, and less stress are big reasons why. Compare the joyful, unstressed business owner who chooses to pick his kids up from school with no repercussions to the stressed out dad who just got out of a meeting ten minutes ago who is having to take “sick time” to pick up his kids. Which car ride do you think is going to be more enjoyable?
Before owning my own business, I never had a mastermind group. I never had a reason to. Now, one of my closest friends is in my mastermind.
Our daughter has never known her daddy to not be there almost every morning. She has never known me to not stay home late at least a few mornings each week or to say “yes” to “one more race” (she loves to run) even on a weekday morning. As a result, our relationship is better.
NOTE: That doesn’t mean it’s all cupcakes and lollipops. I have a long way to go on improving other relationships, but it certainly helps that I have some freedom in my schedule.
5. The elixir of life
When we launched our t-shirts, it was a big risk. We’d have to get a design, order inventory, set up a shopping cart, and so much more. We (my wife, Tara and I) agonized over every detail. But we did it!
When I look back at the process, it was life-giving. It woke me up every morning with passion. It was risky but boy was it worth it.
Every late night and early morning…worth it.
We learned a ton and wouldn’t do it just like we did it this time, but it was worth it.
Bonus reason: I know my purpose
This quote from the CEO of Evernote, Phil Libin, sums it up:
I know my purpose. I am changing the world. One product, one customer, one coaching client, one consultation, one blog post at a time.
What are some other reasons you think entrepreneurs live longer? If you are not already an entrepreneur, what is holding you back from starting your own business?