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Report ranks Las Cruces high for entrepreneurs


Many Americans dream of quitting their job and becoming their own boss. It turns out Las Cruces is one of the best places in the country to do it.

According to a report issued this month by ZenBusiness, Las Cruces ranked fifth overall in the nation’s small-market categories, coming in behind Goldsboro, N.C., Odessa, Tx., Auburn/Opelika, Al. and Columbia, Mo.

The report notes that, while the potential upside of starting a successful business is appealing, it often takes years for a new firm to become profitable, and many entrepreneurs do not earn as much as they did in their previous jobs. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the median annual income for full-time entrepreneurs is $50,000, which is the same as the median income for all full-time workers. 

Jeff Pierce, owner of Bogart’s Service Center on North Valley Drive, said the ranking caught him by surprise.

“Las Cruces, in my opinion and experience, is very unfriendly towards small businesses,” Pierce said. “Coming in fifth in the nation just shows how tough us business owners are. For-profits and business owners are funding the government way too much. We are being taxed without representation. Non-profits are, generally speaking, tax-exempt, and many non-profits get government grants for research projects, still funded by the for-profit business owners. I find it remarkable that Las Cruces is the-fifth best city for entrepreneurs.”

The report noted that typical full-time entrepreneur makes less than both full-time employees of non-profit organizations and full-time government workers, with Census data showing that federal employees enjoy the highest median income at $65,000 per year, followed by non-profit employees at just under $53,000.

While nationally the median income for entrepreneurs is the same as the median income for all workers, there are big differences at the state and city levels, the report concludes.

Jodi Rae Moore, who owns an Allstate office in Las Cruces, said small-business owners open themselves up to risk and must constantly adapt to stay healthy once established.

“As far as the income part, numbers don’t really tell the whole story,” she said. “The hours/days/weeks/years of worry are very difficult to calculate. The early years, you put more in than you take out to make sure the business stays afloat. You work long hours because you have lost an employee or are training a new one, or just because something needs to get finished. Times when I have had to fire an employee or tell a customer something they didn’t want to hear, I’ve looked at myself in the mirror and wondered who’s idea this was.”

Moore added, however, that she can see why Las Cruces ranked relatively high.

“Las Cruces is special because there is a ‘home town’ feel here,” she said. “This lends itself to both good and bad things for an entrepreneur, but if you work hard and take care of your employees and clients, you build a good reputation.”

To determine the metropolitan areas with the most successful entrepreneurs, researchers at ZenBusiness analyzed data from the U.S Census Bureau. The researchers ranked metros according to the income premium for entrepreneurs, which is defined as the percentage difference between the median income for full-time entrepreneurs and the median income for all full-time workers.

To improve relevance, only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 people were included in the analysis.

Data on the income premium for entrepreneurs, median income for full-time entrepreneurs, median income for all full-time workers, and the percentage of workers that are entrepreneurs is from the 2018 American Community Survey Public Use Microdata Sample (ACS PUMS) dataset. The income premium for entrepreneurs was calculated as the percentage difference between the median income for full-time entrepreneurs and that of all full-time workers. 

Only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 people were included in the analysis.

To view the report in its entirety, visit zenbusiness.com.


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