In 2014, I surveyed a collection of individuals, including business owners, slowpreneurs, and people who fell into neither of those categories. The survey was a simple word association survey on a few different phrases related to entrepreneurship and business.
My hypothesis was that people's perceptions of startups, work/life balance, etc would skew negative due to the demands of today's dominate entrepreneurial culture.
Beginning with the first image, the hypothesis seems to hold. Interestingly, people also responded with what they cared about most: family, life, and love.
The negative sentiments continued on the question of a work week. Not visible in this word cloud is the presence of the obvious answer: Monday to Friday. Once that was removed, respondents seem overwhelmed by their work weeks.
One of the most interesting surprises was what non-business owners thought about a startup. Imagine this, a startup entrepreneur is perceived as exciting, rich, and creative! Why not keep that positivity going forward in your work/life balance, instead of the rat race.
Finally, when asked about the word entrepreneur, the results were very different for business owners vs non-business owners.
While the hypothesis was partially on track, it seems that the perception of startups and entrepreneurs is not negative, but actually quite positive: wealthy and exciting. Starting a new business is of course exciting, but it doesn't have to be gruelling.
The bonus image below is the perception of a Slowpreneur. Clearly, there is some work to be done (lazy, confused, poor), but people's perceptions change, and Slowpreneurs combine the positive perceptions of entrepreneurs and startups with the goal to avoid the negative pitfalls during one's work week and work/life balance.
Best of both worlds? Maybe. Can you still be successful? Absolutely... it just make take longer, and that's okay.
You are free to use any of the images on this page as you see fit. In the case of the snail and the ying-yang shaped word clouds, please keep all attribution to tagxedo.com in place. All other word clouds were created without restriction using wordle.net.