Industries & Professions /
Entrepreneurship has long been considered risky, although that perception is slowly changing, thanks to the number of successful online businesses. Still, it takes considerable money, time, and effort to open a business and to keep it going long enough to start seeing profits. Success also depends on trends, customer demand, political climate, competition, the economy, and other unpredictable social factors. The longer a company remains in business, the more likely it is to succeed. However, companies can still go out of business up to 15 years after launching. According to Small Business Administration data reported in 2010, seven out of 10 new employer firms survived at least 2 years; 50 percent survived at least 5 years; a third of the companies survived at least 10 years; and 25 percent survived 15 years or more. According to a report by Career Builder and Economic Modeling Specialists, there were about 10 million self-employed people as of 2013. The report also indicated that more than a third of self-employed people were age 55 or older, and 62 percent were men. Overall, the number of self-employed workers in the U.S. has declined by nearly a million jobs since 2006. Yet in spite of the risks associated with starting a business, entrepreneurship continues to be strong. It is part of the American identity-the United States is viewed worldwide as a land of opportunity. People have increasingly turned to starting a small business as an alternative for employment while the job market remains highly challenging. There are no educational, racial, or gender barriers to starting a new business, so there are opportunities for people of all backgrounds. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, minority-owned businesses include 5.8 million firms that generated more than $120 billion in revenues as of 2007. About one in five of all minority-owned firms had paid employees. The trend in home-based businesses is growing rapidly. The trend was started initially by women who wanted to stay home to care for their children but either didn't want to give up their jobs or needed the income. Now more than half of the people working from home are men. Other factors that have contributed to the increase of at-home businesses include downsizing during hard economic times, the growth of the Internet and computer technology, and the growth of the service sector of the economy. Many college students are financing their educations through working at home as freelance workers or independent contractors. This sector of entrepreneurs is expected to continue to grow. According to a report published in 2012 by Intuit, the freelance population is expected to be 40 percent of all workers by 2020.