ONE third of small business owners work more than 50 hours a week, the latest MYOB small business survey has found. The survey of 2,000 small business proprietors around Australia found a big difference in the working patterns of men and women. The breakdown of working hours by gender found that 62 per cent of males work between 41 and 70 hours a week while only 46 per cent of females work those hours. The survey found that 88 per cent of small business owners worked as a full-time employee before starting or buying their own business. Of this group, 43 per cent said the level of stress in their life had decreased while 37 per cent said there was more pressure and stress in their work as a small business owner. “This decrease in stress levels could relate to business owners being happier with the actual work they are doing,” MYOB Australia managing director Tim Reed said. Mr Reed said 48 per cent of business owners started their own business with the goal ‘To do what I like doing/work in the area I am passionate about’. A majority (70 per cent) of small business owners were happy with their overall lifestyle. In addition, around two-thirds (67 per cent) of small business owners believed that running their own business had affected their lifestyle positively.