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Startup risks cause more worry; intellectual curiosity and energy drive learning, enjoyment

Entrepreneurs are more stressed, yet also more optimistic, than other workers, finds a new survey from Gallup.

In the survey, 45 per cent of entrepreneurs reported experiencing stress the day before versus 42 per cent of other workers, and 34 per cent said they'd experienced worry the day before, four percentage points more than other workers, found the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, based on about 273,175 interviews in the United States, among them 6,896 respondents who classified themselves as self-employed business owners.

Yet, at the same time, the entrepreneurs also found more positives in their day. For instance, 71 per cent of entrepreneurs said they'd learned or done something interesting the day before, versus 66 per cent of other workers. And 89 per cent said they had experienced enjoyment, versus 86 per cent of others.

They were also more optimistic about their futures. Asked to imagine a ladder with steps running from 0 at the bottom to 10 at the top, with the top rung representing the "best possible life" for them, 30 per cent of entrepreneurs put themselves on the highest rung, versus 25 per cent of other workers.

So what's behind these findings? The risks that go with launching a startup may cause more stress and worry, Gallup's release said.

Yet, "the same intellectual curiosity and energy needed to start and run a business may also drive entrepreneurs to seek out and take advantage of opportunities to learn or do something interesting or exciting on a regular basis," Gallup's reporting said, noting also that entrepreneurs have creative and strategic control of their businesses and schedules, possibly affording more flexibility to pursue those interesting and learning opportunities.

Microsoft acquires startup to boost Xbox

Microsoft Corp. appears to be making another move toward expanding its Xbox unit beyond gaming with the reported purchase of Silicon Valley-based home-entertainment technology startup R2 Studios Inc. for an undisclosed sum, according to this Wall Street Journal report.

Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft has been trying to expand Xbox beyond a video-game machine to a hub connecting traditional television and Web video, the Journal explains. R2 Studios, a startup created by  Sling Media founder Blake Krikorian in 2011, specializes in technology to distribute and display digital content on TVs, which the Journal report notes is a "big new battleground" for tech giants. Microsoft has signed deals with several content providers in the past year to offer on-demand TV programming through the Xbox.

The Journal says that R2 Studios had been in acquisition talks with other companies, including Google and Apple. It says Mr. Krikorian and a small team will join Microsoft at its home base; the deal also includes the transfer of some patents, the Journal reports. Further reading is also in this CNET report, and on Yahoo News and in this report.

More from Gallup: What really makes employees happy?

Sure, the number of working hours, holidays and flexibility count, but what really makes employees feel good is being engaged by their work, according to another study by Gallup.

The researchers of the study, involving 4,894 respondents, found that employee engagement was a much stronger predictor of overall wellbeing than these other factors. "Though workplace policies such as hours worked, vacation time, and flextime do relate to employee wellbeing, the quality of the workplace trumps policy in affecting overall wellbeing," the study release says.


Finding business funding

Want to boost your chances of finding funding for your business? Invest Ottawa will hold a seminar on Jan. 9 aimed at offering insights to help understand the key factors that lenders take into account and how best to make an approach. For more information, click here.

Franchise show: Montreal

The Franchise Show, a franchise-only exhibition, will be held in Montreal on Jan. 19 and Jan. 20. For more information, click here.


Four ways to build your community in 2013

As the new year ramps up, it's critical for businesses owners to think about whether they have successfully taken advantage of four trends, and how they can incorporate them this year, writes columnist Lisa Ostrikoff.


Risk assessment key to overseas expansion

Small businesses thinking about expanding overseas could be forgiven for getting cold feet after watching uprisings spready from Tunisia to Egypt to Libya and beyond, recounted this piece published in March, 2011. But is it really necessary to hunker down and keep your employees at home? Not if you're prepared. Read how.

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