DeKalb, IL – Entrepreneurial careers are often associated with innovation, creativity, and a sense of freedom that traditional careers don’t necessarily offer. However, it is less well known that research shows that entrepreneurship is associated with some unique health concerns and trade-offs.
Issues surrounding health and entrepreneurship affect more than 44 million self-employed adults in the United States alone. Research shows that while people who start their own businesses are physically healthier than those in traditional full-time jobs, self-employed people are more likely to experience mental health problems.
Tim Michaelis, an assistant professor in the NIU School of Business, is on the front lines of this issue. He coordinates the Chicago Health and Entrepreneurship Research Forum, which he established in 2022 to bring together thought leaders in entrepreneurial health research each fall.
The forum, held in October, brought together academics and practitioners from 35 universities in 10 countries at the headquarters of healthcare startup incubator MATTER in Chicago. Participants collaborated on fresh ideas and diverse perspectives on health and new venture creation, with the aim of accelerating research in this important area.
This conference is the first ongoing, research-focused forum on entrepreneurial health in the United States. There are many universities and researchers already investing in research to improve the health of entrepreneurs. NIU, along with co-hosts DePaul University and North Carolina State University, seeks to provide structure to this community in hopes of fostering rigorous research for years to come.
Michaelis is passionate about bringing together experts in this field. As an expert on entrepreneurial frugality, it's an area he cares about.
“Broadly speaking, there is already a lot of research that focuses on employee health, such as work stress and burnout, but very little research that focuses on self-employed people like entrepreneurs.” he said. “According to the U.S. Census, [Bureau]The self-employed represent approximately 16.5 million workers, employ half of the workforce and generate much of the economic value. It seems shocking to me that we are not doing more research on how to keep this large population healthy. This is the main motivation for our conference. ”
At large research conferences, it can be difficult to meet people and address specific topics. Michaelis wanted the forum to be smaller and more accessible to participants.
“We saw an opportunity to share the latest research on entrepreneurial health and establish a conference in a way that allows for close collaboration and engagement across multiple institutions around the world,” Michaelis said.
In his role at NIU, Michaelis recently co-authored a study on the impact of trade-offs between work and health resources among the self-employed, which was published in the Journal of Business Venturing Insights. His research showed that resourceful behavior is a factor that influences the health and well-being of entrepreneurs. In addition to this, self-employed adults in the United States engage in more health care-related resourceful behaviors than traditional wage earners, such as not taking medications to save money. Concerns about access to and affordability of health care serve as a precursor to resourceful health behaviors among all working adults, and young self-employed workers are more likely to be affected by health care affordability concerns than others. We are committed to resourceful action in healthcare. Self-employed older adults engage in health-conscious behaviors due to concerns about access to healthcare.
Although this unique research community is just beginning to take shape, data suggests that people should try to reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness by getting at least six to eight hours of sleep, taking breaks from work, and finding communities to join. What we know is simple, Michaelis points out. It has a positive effect on business and health. A recent MetaGallup survey found that nearly 25% of adults in 142 countries experience severe loneliness, and this may be even more pronounced for entrepreneurs starting a business.
“Apart from our research, we include a panel of entrepreneurs at our conference each year to share ideas on how researchers can address the health issues of the self-employed,” Michaelis said. . “They explain that improving your sleep and finding a community of peers are practical steps to improving your health.”
The community continues to grow, and in 2024 the third annual Health in Entrepreneurship conference will be hosted by France's Montpellier Business School.
“We are currently considering moving the conference to different universities around the world in the future. We aim to address the very real problem of improving the health of entrepreneurs. “We want to build a strong research community with a deep understanding of the future,'' Michaelis said.
Michaelis also credits the support of passionate and dedicated donors for making the conference possible. Mike and Christina McGrath made a generous gift to the School of Business Administration's Department of Management to advance research and education in entrepreneurship, which made the establishment of the first conference possible. The Kauffman Foundation and the University of Texas at North supported his 2023 conference.
“These donors and gifts that support high-quality research enable us to continue our large-scale efforts focused on changing the conversation around entrepreneurial health,” Michaelis said. . “We hope that our rigorous research on how to improve the lives of entrepreneurs will yield practical results.
We hope to provide evidence-based solutions to improve the health of entrepreneurs and, in turn, improve their businesses and the economy as a whole. ”
Northern Illinois University is a student-centered, nationally recognized public research university that benefits the region and serves the world in a wide range of fields, including the sciences, humanities, arts, business, engineering, education, health, and law. We have extensive expertise. NIU offers more than 100 courses of study and serves a diverse, international student body through its main campus in DeKalb, Illinois, and student and adult education centers in Chicago, Naperville, Oregon, and Rockford. We offer
Media Contact: Eva Richards