Jessica Porter is one of many self-employed people who found happiness and work-life balance after starting up. (Credit: Porter Advisory)
Jessica Porter is one of many self-employed people who found happiness and work-life balance after starting up. (Credit: Porter Advisory)

Feeling burned out at your current job? Perhaps you should consider leaving — no, really.

A new study shows that self-employed Americans report feeling more balanced and less stressed than their 9-to-5-er friends and family. The 2019 Self-Employment in America Survey, taken by accounting software company FreshBooks, says that 70 percent of the nearly 4,000 workers polled have achieved work-life balance, and 55 percent feel less stressed than they did in a traditional office. Plus, 54 percent say they are generally healthier.

It’s little surprise, then, that 96 percent of those who have already made the leap from office employee to self-employed say they would never go back.

[Related: A Simple Guide to Self-Employed Retirement Plans and Insurance]

“Tens of millions of Americans have told us that their ‘dream job’ is to work for themselves,” Mike McDerment, co-founder and CEO at FreshBooks, says. “But this is a scary proposition for most because the world is, in many ways, not ready for them. The good news is that the payoffs — both financial and otherwise — are real.”

You don’t have to sell us on the idea. We have seen firsthand how self-employment and entrepreneurship have changed scores of women’s lives for the better — by giving them new ways to find stability, support their families and explore their passions.

[Related: I’m Not a Freelancer. I’m Running a Business]

Our Independent Life series homed in on this idea. We spoke to women entrepreneurs who found freedom, satisfaction, flexibility and fun after starting up — thanks largely to the ability to set their own schedules.  “It feels healthier, mentally and physically, to organize your life your way, instead of a schedule being dictated to you,” says Jessica Porter, who was building up her artists’ law firm, Porter Advisory, when we last spoke with her.

Another business owner, Manali Shenoy, summed it up: “Entrepreneurship provides a certain freedom that cannot be matched by a corporate job.” The work-friendly tunic seller, who was thriving at last check-in, told us that as her own boss, she’s able to spend more time with her children and indulge in beloved activities like jogging and Zumba. “While I was in the corporate [world], I would look forward for weekend breaks. Now, all 7 days of the week are equally interesting!”

There are, of course, risks and struggles in venturing out on your own. But the numbers — and the stories — indicate that self-employment is well worth the effort. (If you need some guidance on how to get started, check out our Advice & Tips section!)

[Related: 16 Popular Small Business Ideas for Women Entrepreneurs]