Does lack of sleep mean more stress? Not for Chicago small business owners, according to a new survey from Bank of America.

Although Chicago entrepreneurs are more likely to report lack of sleep, long hours and nightmares about their business, they’re the least likely in the U.S. to say that their jobs are stressful.

That’s according to the spring 2017 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report, a semi-annual survey of 1,000 small business owners across the country. Bank of America says 300 people were surveyed in Chicago. 

According to the survey, 66 percent of Chicago business owners say their work regularly interferes with their ability to get enough sleep, compared to a national average of 51 percent.

Sixty-six percent of Chicago entrepreneurs also report regularly working more than 40 hours a week, compared to 61 percent nationally. And 30 percent of Chicagoans say they’ve have had a nightmare about their business failing, compared to 26 percent nationally.

Despite these findings, only 23 percent of the surveyed Chicagoans called their job “stressful” — the lowest percentage among the 10 major cities surveyed.

Jim Holmes, Chicago small business banker manager at Bank of America, thinks the low stress levels come from a typical Midwestern outlook on life.

“I would expect that if you’re having nightmares about your job that it would be a little more stressful than the study shows, but I think the Chicago results show that we’re a part of the Midwest,” Holmes said. “In Chicago, we take things in stride. We don’t get as stressed out.”

Saya Hillman ⇒, a Chicagoan who started her events company Mac & Cheese Productions in 2004 after working a 9-to-5 job for four years, says she still has stress, but it’s easier to deal with.

“I feel like I’m better able to manage the stress I have as a business owner than I was able to at my 9-to-5 job,” she said. “It just ate away at me and didn’t do me any good.”

Hillman said the benefits of working for yourself outweigh the extra time put in.

“When I was in the 9-to-5 world, I knew exactly how much more time until 5 o’clock. Now I never know what time it is. So I do work a lot more than 40 hours sometimes, but they are pleasurable,” she said. “The fact that I can run errands or go to yoga at 10 a.m. on a Tuesday and not be in the middle of a traffic jam, or feeling like I have to rush, makes it worth it.”

agorden@tronc.com
Twitter @audreygorden

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