Forget Profit. Here’s What Really Makes an Entrepreneur Happy

rtuMoney doesn’t buy happiness. And neither does being your own boss, apparently.

To what extent an entrepreneur feels satisfied (or unsatisfied) on the job has to do with a variety of subtler factors, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article, which parsed key studies in psychology and economics conducted over the past few years. Sure, revenue and profit margins tell part of the story, but business owners are similarly affected by their prior experiences, as well as by their motives for pursuing entrepreneurship to begin with.

Here’s a breakdown of the best happiness indicators in the startup world–and how you should reframe your thinking to better manage your emotions:

1. The pursuit of autonomy is overrated, but feedback and job variety are not.

The majority of entrepreneurs may be in it for the sake of freedom, but other factors contribute just as much to your happiness, according to experts.

A 2009 study from the Indiana University South Bend, conducted by associate professor of management Leon Schjoedt, finds that entrepreneurs care deeply about things like variety at work and professional feedback. Schjoedt surveyed a group of founders and average professionals, who were both asked to rate their job satisfaction across four discrete categories.

What’s more, the study found that entrepreneurs feel the effects of a job more acutely than their peers do. This is likely due to the fact that entrepreneurs are more personally invested in the business overall. It’s probably harder for you to let things go, but you also feel the highs more distinctly than the average worker does. Continue reading

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