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What keeps small business owners happy these days? Pajamas, study finds


Most small business owners are happier than in their previous jobs, according to survey released earlier this week, highlighting the allure of being your own boss.

Eighty-two percent of small business owners said they enjoy life more running their own companies, according to the survey commissioned by GoDaddy, the Internet domain registrar-turned-small business-service-provider.

“The great thing about being a small business owner is that you are in control, and you have a feeling of mastery,” said Steven Aldrich, GoDaddy’s senior vice president for business solutions. “You control your own destiny.”

The survey, based on responses from 500 small business owners, provides a snapshot into the life of entrepreneurs and their work habits. It also gives insight into how small business owners stay productive, whether they’re living a healthy lifestyle and even what they wear on the job.

The findings are in prelude to Small Business Saturday, a five-year old program pushed by American Express and the Small Business Administration that is intended to promote small companies. The day falls after Thanksgiving and the Black Friday holiday shopping binge and before Cyber Monday, when online merchants try to make a splash.

In another recently released survey by Bank of America, small business owners also reported being more optimistic heading into the holiday season than in recent years.

In addition to being happier, many small business owners in the GoDaddy survey said they enjoy a number of other benefits compared with their previous jobs. Nearly two-thirds said they have more time to spend with family, for example. Only 12% said they have less time and 21% said they spend their time the same as compared with other jobs.

Additionally, small business owners – for whatever reason – said they’re eating healthier. Over half responded that they’re eating better because of their job while only 7% said their eating habits had gotten worse.

GoDaddy, known for its racy Super Bowl ads featuring scantily clad models, is using the survey as a way to hit home the message that its has branched out beyond its roots as a domain registrar into serving small businesses with a variety of online tools. In June, the company filed for an initial public offering.

“Freedom” is a recurring theme in the responses from small business owners. Owners can set their own schedules and their own priorities without being second guessed.

Just over six out of ten respondents said their days were unstructured, meaning they can set their own hours. Just over one-third said their days were structured like a “regular job,” presumably with regular hours.

In fact, 15% of those polled said they could work in their pajamas, if they wanted to. And where are they most productive? Seventy-two percent said they work at a desk in an office, 12% said they work at a kitchen table, couch or patio, 6% said they work out of a car, and one respondent (or .2% of those polled) admitted to doing work from bed.

“All that the customers want to know is that they offer quality services and products,” Aldrich said. “How they get the work done is not relevant.”