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Incfile is a small business community 1 million entrepreneurs strong.

At Incfile, we're all about the scrappy small business mindset. Our community of entrepreneurs hustles hard to make things happen. Our deep dive into the small business world includes non-business owners' input. 

We wanted to know, can anyone start a business? Our survey results below give a raw and honest look at what it truly takes to be an entrepreneur in the United States today.


The Entrepreneurial 

What makes a successful entrepreneur? Grit, determination, and resilience. Our report found that while many non-business owners dream of starting a biz, only a few have what it takes to make it a reality. The biggest hurdle? Lack of resources, knowledge, and community support — not a lack of bravery. We surveyed non-business owners and found that having the right tools and support is critical to turning a dream into a successful business.

Nearly 4 Out of 5 Americans Want to Be Their Own Boss

It's a common refrain — the desire to work for oneself and build a future on one's own terms is the dream for many, and Incfile's report confirmed it. But despite the widespread aspiration, most need to learn how to turn that dream into reality.

For example, 78% of non-business owners say they've entertained the idea of entrepreneurship but need help knowing where to start. A significantly small number (22%) say starting a business has never crossed their minds.


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Americans Say They Have the Grit to Be an Entrepreneur

Got what it takes to be a business owner? It's a question on the mind of many Americans, and a surprising majority of them say they're up for the challenge. With drive, ambition, and a little savvy, 65% believe they've got an entrepreneurial mindset and are ready to leap.

Conversely, 18% aren't sure they are cut out for the risk. Relatively few think they don't have the business savvy to succeed (10%) or the ambition and drive (7%).

The big takeaway? Americans are passionate, ambitious, and full of ideas. They need resources and support to turn those ideas into thriving businesses.


Nearly 7 Out of 10 Americans Have a Side Hustle

When the going gets tough, the tough get going in this economy — that's the spirit of the American people, and it's particularly true of those who have a side hustle. Despite not owning a business, many Americans are taking extra steps to increase income to make ends meet. While their hustles aren't legal business entities, our report shows that entrepreneurship is a part of the American fabric — especially for women ages 25-44, who are most likely to have a side hustle.

More than two-thirds of those polled, 68%, say they have one or more side hustles to bring in extra income. Perhaps with the proper support, many of these hustles could bloom into thriving small businesses.

Less than one-third of those polled (32%) do not supplement their income with a side hustle.


Most Americans Have Come Up With a Business Idea

Ideas for new businesses are constantly being born. Nearly half of those surveyed, 47%, have had multiple business ideas, while 27% have had just one. And for that 26% who never had an idea for a business, it may be a matter of time before inspiration strikes.


Non-Business Owners Yearn to Call the Shots

Entrepreneurs are typically fueled by passion, but for those who are not business owners, the desire to work for themselves may motivate them to become entrepreneurs. In fact, a whopping 90% of people prefer to be their own boss.

When we dug deeper and asked about income, 62% would prefer to be their own boss while maintaining their current salary. The remaining 38% would choose to keep their day job with double the salary. Women were more likely to prioritize the stability of their current job at double compensation.


Biggest Barrier to Starting a Business

Starting a business can come with many roadblocks, but it's no shocker that money is the biggest hurdle. Most aspiring entrepreneurs (50%) cite the lack of funding as a reason for not starting a business.

Other causes include not knowing where to begin (25%), feeling that owning a business involves too much risk (16%), and not having any support (9%).

Despite these challenges, many still believe anyone can be an entrepreneur with drive and passion — 72% say anyone with those qualities can start a business, and the minority (28%) say passion alone is not enough.


Lack of Career Satisfaction Leads to Entrepreneurship Dreams

Quiet quitting and general job unhappiness may be responsible for a surge in entrepreneurship and startups throughout 2023. With less than a quarter of respondents feeling very satisfied in their current career path, many will likely pursue the dream of being their own boss. The number of those moderately satisfied jumped to 47%, followed by moderately unsatisfied (19%) and very unsatisfied (12%).


Supporting Information

The Incfile survey on entrepreneurial mindset polled 2,000 members of the general population who are not business owners. Other demographic details include the following:

  • 51% identified as male and 49% identified as female.

  • 35% were aged 35-44, and 27% were aged 25-34.

  • 35% had completed a higher education degree.

  • Six races and cultural backgrounds were represented in the survey.

  • The majority of respondents are single.