America has always been a land of opportunity, where the motto of “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” is widely used and believed in. Starting your own business has always been an option, and has been encouraged throughout life. Lemonade stands are a childhood memory that many cherish, the kids in class who had their own business of selling candy at lunch were always admired, and now today, even in a time of recession and despair, people are tapping into American ideals and starting their own businesses in record numbers.

Entrepreneurship drives this country’s economic prosperity and fuels innovation. A small business is often the realization of a life-long goal or dream. The products sold represent the imagination, passion, and dedication of the small business owner. Because the American Dream is about independence and the audacity to prosper beyond our imaginations, roughly two-thirds (66%) of Americans dream of opening a small business, according to UPS Stores’ Inside Small Business Survey. Yet many will shy away from the challenge due to fear of failure, lack of confidence and financial constraints. Being a small business owner is definitely not for the faint of heart.

The latest Main Street Pulse Report surveyed 1000 people who traded the security of a corporate “9 to 5” job to build their own businesses, have more flexibility, and follow their true passion.

Here are some of the interesting findings:

• 85 percent of small business owners believe that being your own boss and

owning a business is achieving the American Dream.

• 84 percent said they hope their children will also one day become small business owners.

• Small business owners have a tireless work ethic: 90 percent work in some capacity

on weekends; and 80 percent work from home even after leaving the office

• Their #1 priority is growing their business: The number one thing business owners

want more of is money for their business.

• They are committed to helping build strong communities: 80 percent of small business owners find time to help their communities.

We all have dreams, and we all want them to be supported. Know that when you shop local, you are supporting the dreams of another human being. Small business owners are the dreamers and the doers and the backbone of America. They infuse their passion and personality into their business and offer their expertise to our community. They are the ones that sponsor your kid’s soccer team and pass on their entrepreneurial spirit to the next generation.

So find ways to show your support for these business owners who desire to make a better future for themselves and the community around them. Explore Amarillo to find local businesses you didn’t know about, choose local over chains, like and share them on social media and tell your friends about them!