This weekend in the U.S., we celebrate Labor Day, which, according to Wikipedia, “honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of the country.” Since the late 19th century Labor Day has honored workers and recognized the fight of those brave souls who fought for fair wages, a forty-hour work week, paid vacations, sick leave and a slew of another worker benefits we now take for granted.
And while many of us will be enjoying the fruits of our labors over the long weekend, I think it’s important to acknowledge the changes that have taken place in our labor force and our country since the Great Recession.
Over the last seven years a new concept for how we work has been emerging and growing. A revolution has taken place in how we define our careers and our lives. A new type of worker has broken the mold developed by our parents, who labored all their lives for ever-shrinking pensions and that metaphorical gold watch. That new worker ventured out on their own and created their own destiny. They said “screw the forty-hour work week, I’d rather work SIXTY hours and be independent!” Or even, “screw that forty-hour work week crap, I’d rather work smarter, not harder and enjoy my life!”: embracing Timothy Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek like the entrepreneurial bible. That new worker is the entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurship is at a Record High
We small business owners are among a record-high 14% of Americans who are either starting or running a business (“The U.S. Now has 27 Million Entrepreneurs”, Inc.com) and while the laborers and employees of the past century built this country and made big business trillions of dollars, the new century is owned by entrepreneurs. According to the Small Business Administration, in 2014 there were 28.8 million small businesses (defined as a business with fewer than 500 employees), accounting for 99.7 of all U.S. business! 99.7% of all businesses. think about that a minute.
Small Businesses Employ 56.8 Million People
Small business owners, like you, employ a whopping 45% of all employees in the United States for a total of 56.8 million jobs. And get this: our small businesses produce 50% of all non-farm, private domestic product – or a GDP of about $6 TRILLION dollars! (Data from IDC which defines small business as those with fewer than 100 employees. Source: “Small Business at a Glance”, Entrepreneur.com).
If you’re reading this, most likely you own a small business or you work for one. This is a lot of positive data that every small business owner and the people who support them should be proud of.
As an entrepreneur myself, I know we work long hours, barely take time off (even on vacation we’re working, right?) and are constantly innovating, planning and worrying about those who rely on us. I hope that while you’re out enjoying your long weekend you can think back on this post and remember all that you do for your family, your employees, your community and your country and relax… Take the weekend off – the whole weekend – you’ve earned it!
Happy Labor Day.