The ups and downs of ‘being the boss’

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The hopes of more lucrative pay, leisurely hours and being your own boss are some of the dreams of entrepreneurs by starting their own businesses. But many new business chiefs are in for disappointment.

Only 21 percent of business owners with between two and 10 employees are earning more than they had expected, according to a national survey of small business owners commissioned by hourly job website, a Henrico County-based job search engine company that focuses on part-time and hourly jobs.  Plus, many owners report working long hours – an average of 63 hours per week toward their business.

Yet among small business owners with two to 100 employees, 63 percent say that starting their own business has been more personally fulfilling than they thought it would be. For company founders in growth mode – those planning to increase employment within the next 12 months – that figure rises to 71 percent.

The possibility of earning a higher income is not the biggest reason for becoming an entrepreneur, although it is among the top three reasons for 72 percent of small business owners. The poll found 91 percent say “being their own boss” was among their top-three influencers, and 44 percent say it was the No. 1 reason.

Day-to-day operations can also be frustrating for business owners, the survey showed. Small business owners said bookkeeping (cited by 38 percent), HR issues including benefits (31 percent) and recruiting (18 percent) topped their list of frustrations.

To help small business owners identify more qualified job applicants more easily, is offering a 60-day free trial to post positions of hourly workers, with screening questions to help owners narrow the focus for potential employees.

According to the survey, 61 percent of small business owners expect to hire employees in the next 12 months, with 35 percent expecting to increase headcount and 26 percent hiring because of turnover.

The online survey was conducted by IPSOS Public Affairs between April 15 and 22. The survey included 511 small business owners with between two and 100 employees.

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