American dream: 3 in 5 workers ‘will stop at nothing’ to become their own boss

NEW YORK — It’s safe to say that a lot of workers would rather be giving the orders than taking them. According to a recent survey of 2,500 working Americans (including 500 small business owners), many are turning their dreams of financial independence into a reality. Three in five respondents say they will stop at nothing to become their own boss.

The OnePoll survey finds 40 percent of Americans are already performing some freelance work on the side in addition to their main source of income. Another 30 percent run a side business during their free time.

When asked why they want to work for themselves so badly, nearly six in 10 said they want to follow their true passion. Others feel they would be a better resource for others as their own boss (53%) and just over half the poll want to set their own schedule.

Commissioned by Invoice2go, the survey also finds a connection between recent COVID-19 lockdowns and increased interest in entrepreneurship. Six in 10 respondents say all that time they spent in isolation helped them reevaluate their life and career goals.

From a hobby to a career?

Americans are also quite confident in their skills, according to the survey. For instance, 68 percent believe they already have a skill, passion, or hobby that they can use to make money. Examples include writing (42%), baking (34%), graphic design (32%), music (28%), and fitness (18%).

On the other end of the entrepreneurial spectrum, only one in 10 Americans have no desire to start their own business.

Regarding respondents who have already jumped into the world of small business, 49 percent say they’re doing something they enjoyed long before it became profitable for them. Another 48 percent say loved ones and friends inspired them to open a business, reassuring them that they are “good enough to go pro.”

Here’s a telling statistic: 63 percent of Americans are confident that if they quit their day job today they wouldn’t have a problem at all starting their own successful, profitable business or freelance career. Another 34 percent even said they are “very confident” about their entrepreneurial chances of success.

What skills pay the bills?

What traits or skills are most important for any small business owner? The top answer to that question was ambition (50%), followed by creativity (46%) and customer service skills (47%). As far as concrete resources, you guessed it, money (45%) is the top asset Americans want when starting a business, followed by a strong social media presence (43%) and a business plan (40%).

So, what’s holding Americans back from pursuing their dreams? Nearly four in 10 (39%) say they are concerned about all the extra work that comes along with being your own boss. Similarly, 42 percent of respondents who already own a small business or freelance say that the extra workload is their least favorite part of the job. Notably, 32 percent of current small business owners say their dream would never have come true if it wasn’t for the coronavirus pandemic.


  1. Toxic work environments (34%)
  2. Lack of growth opportunities (33%)
  3. Bad Bosses (31%)
  4. Layoffs or downsizing (28%)
  5. Bullying or harassment (26%)