In a new survey of 1,000 small business owners across the U.S., web hosting company GoDaddy examined the expectations and motivations of entrepreneurs when it comes to the American Dream.
For many years, the American Dream included owning a home, starting a family and having stable employment, whether as an employee or entrepreneur. Today, that perception is changing. Younger generations, potentially discouraged by inflation and the increasingly out-of-reach real estate market, were less likely to include owning a home as an indicator of achieving the American Dream. Instead, when considering responses across generations, from Gen Z to Baby Boomers, small business owners reported that “living a comfortable lifestyle” (56%) and “feeling happy with my life” (54%) were the key indicators of having achieved the American Dream.
Even as it becomes less of a priority, 45% of small business owners say home ownership is still a symbol of the American Dream. This is more important to men (49%) than women (43%), and holds more significance for Baby Boomers (50%) than Gen Z (40%).
There are substantial challenges for entrepreneurs, including inflation, which 80% of small business owners described as a barrier to their American Dream, the lack of access to free or affordable healthcare (32%) and discrimination (28%), including a lack of financial backing and support for women.
In spite of these challenges, American microentrepreneurs hold a strong belief that the American Dream is well within reach. Survey participants reported feeling very confident (62%) that they would achieve their American Dream, with men (71%) feeling more self-assured than women (55%), and Millennials (66%) feeling most confident of all generations.