Side Hustles, Entrepreneurship Improve Sense of Prosperity

Small business owners are more likely to feel prosperous than 9-to-5 employees
A man driving a car

While many Americans believe prosperity eludes them, more than one-third are looking to side hustles and self-employment as a way to turn the tide around, a new survey suggests.

Financial software provider Intuit and market research firm Kelton Global surveyed more than 3,000 American adults to find out how they defined prosperity and get their thoughts on what it takes to achieve it. While one’s definition of prosperity reflects his or her priorities, most respondents—87%—said achieving their financial goals was the key to living a prosperous life.

An overwhelming percentage—78%—said prosperity was currently out of reach, and most felt that their ability to live prosperously was somewhat out of their control. More than half (58%) blamed the economy, saying it was a major factor keeping them from achieving prosperity. Also 46% said demographic factors such as race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation were barriers to living a prosperous life.

However, some respondents said prosperity was in their own hands. More than half—55%—said their inability to manage their finances effectively was a barrier to prosperity. Others were betting on entrepreneurship as a way to change their financial circumstances. In fact, 36% said they were considering starting a side hustle or identifying another income stream in addition to their main job. Another 37% were considering starting a business or becoming self-employed in the next five years.

Those who have already struck out on their own have, in fact, found entrepreneurship to be a good pathway to prosperity. According to the survey, small business owners were nearly twice as likely to report feeling prosperous than those who work traditional jobs. Not only that, but 33% of small business owners said the reason they achieved prosperity was because they pursued entrepreneurship in the first place.

Achieving prosperity is important to many Americans because without it, many find themselves delaying important milestones in their lives. For example, among those surveyed:

  • 30% have postponed purchasing a home
  • 22% have put off retiring
  • 22% have pushed back plans to start a family
  • 19% have procrastinated on starting a business
  • 19% have held off on getting married

However, despite the large number of Americans who feel unprosperous today, there is a sense of optimism for the future, with 58% of Americans saying they expect to achieve prosperity at some point in their lifetimes. Interestingly, Americans born outside of the United States (71%) were more optimistic that they would one day live prosperously than those born in the U.S. (58%).

Starting a side gig is one of the fastest ways to feel more prosperous because it adds another income stream while you enjoy the stability of a regular paycheck. There are many ways to make extra money without quitting your day job, and with some you may even be able to work from home. For those who are interested in becoming full-time entrepreneurs, a small business loan may provide the foundation needed to build long-term prosperity.

Tamara E. Holmes

Tamara E. Holmes is a Washington, DC-based writer who covers personal finance, entrepreneurship and careers.

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