More Than 80% of Entrepreneurs Rate Their Mental Health as ‘Good’ or ‘Very Good’, New Study From FreshBooks and Mind Share Partners Finds

Despite The Pandemic, 85% of Small Business Owners Believe Self-Employment is the Best Choice for Their Mental and Physical Well-Being

Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

Toronto, Canada, June 09, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today leading cloud accounting software FreshBooks launched its Self-Employed Mental Health Report in Partnership with Mind Share Partners. The report reveals that despite the pandemic and all the hardships that were created, 85% of entrepreneurs surveyed still feel that self-employment is the best choice for their mental and physical well-being. 


The first of its kind, this study was conducted jointly by FreshBooks and Mind Share Partners, a nonprofit based in the U.S. that is changing the culture of workplace mental health. It is based on survey data collected online from a representative sample of more than 2,000 freelancers, small business owners, and entrepreneurs across the United States in January 2020 and April 2021. The data set provides an insightful comparison between the self-reported mental health of entrepreneurs both before and during the pandemic, and remarkably the collective mental health of America's entrepreneurs has remained relatively stable. 


“For most Americans choosing self-employment over a traditional job, the benefits outweigh the risks and hard work. We ran this study to see whether this holds true for mental health and well-being specifically, given the particular stresses that often come with self-employment,” said Dave Cosgrave, Head of Research at FreshBooks, and the co-leader on the study.


“While it's safe to say that self-employment does have a net positive effect on mental health overall, millions of independent workers are experiencing mental health challenges, many of which have been amplified by the pandemic.”


Key findings from the report include:


  • Nearly three-quarters (72%) of self-employed Americans describe their emotional, psychological and social well-being as “good” or “very good.” This is unchanged from the data seen in January 2020.
  • The effects of the pandemic on the mental health of small business owners have not been uniform. Nearly as many say they are better off (26%) versus worse off (32%), while 41% feel no difference in mental health since the start of the pandemic.
  • More than 50% of survey respondents did experience symptoms of poor mental health for the first time. This includes: 
    • 25% experiencing depression for the first time as entrepreneurs.
    • 20% experiencing anxiety for the first time as entrepreneurs.
    • 18% experiencing chronic stress for the first time as entrepreneurs.


Despite self-reported improvements in and/or good mental health overall, many self-employed people in America experienced mental health symptoms that affected their day-to-day. In the past 12 months:


  • 49% say their condition made it difficult to concentrate on their business (compared to 42% seen in the previous report).
  • 36% say they put off challenging work. 
  • 30% say they became less responsive to emails and other communications.


Study participants cited the following as the most challenging aspects of self-employment when it comes to their mental health and well-being: 


  • Financial stress and fear about the future of their business (44%)
  • Working alone (29%)
  • Having too much work to do in too little time (28%)
  • Feeling they can never show vulnerability or weakness (27%)
  • Responsibility for livelihood of staff (17%, up significantly from the 2020 study)

“Mental health conditions like depression and anxiety are incredibly common over the course of a lifetime—people move back and forth across the mental wellness spectrum, and self-employed Americans are no different. As a social entrepreneur, I know this firsthand,” said Kelly Greenwood, Founder and CEO of Mind Share Partners. 


“One silver lining of the pandemic is that mental health at work is being talked about more than ever. Whether you’re in a traditional workplace or self-employed, making mental health a top priority matters. We hope this study helps to chip away at the stigma and lets self-employed professionals know that they aren't alone and should seek out the help they need”.


Since 2004, FreshBooks has helped more than 30 million people and established itself as one of the world’s most-popular accounting platforms for small businesses. To shed light on the experiences of people who work for themselves full-time, FreshBooks’ Communications and Research team produces a series of research reports, including FreshBooks’ Business Resiliency During COVID-19 Report, FreshBooks’ Self-Employment in America Report and FreshBooks’ Women in the Independent Workforce Report. 

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About FreshBooks


FreshBooks is changing the way business owners manage their books. Its owner-first accounting platform, loved by businesses in over 100 countries, takes an easy-to-use approach to managing finances, billing, payments, and client engagement. FreshBooks, known for its 10x Stevie award winning customer support, serves customers of all sizes from offices in Canada, Croatia, Mexico, Netherlands, and US.

About Mind Share Partners

Mind Share Partners is a nonprofit organization based in the U.S. that is changing the culture of workplace mental health so that both employees and organizations can thrive. It builds public awareness, hosts communities to support ERGs and professionals, and provides workplace training and strategic advising to leading companies. Mind Share Partners runs two columns on workplace mental health in Forbes and Thrive Global and has been featured in Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, TIME, Fast Company, The Wall Street Journal, and others. Learn more at


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