By Emily Suess

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching and the busy holiday season just around the corner, now is a really good time to pause and create a list of the things you are thankful for as a small business owner. Here are a few items that might make the top of your list.

1. You get to be your own boss.

As a small business owner, the ability to call the shots might be what lured you into entrepreneurship to begin with. You decide what products or services to sell. You develop the business plan. You set the company’s mission. That’s empowering, and it’s not something the average employee can say about his or her job. That’s definitely something to be thankful for.

2. You get pick who you work with.

Personality clashes between employees can create a lot of tension in the workplace. But thankfully, you don’t have to sit around and wonder why management hired a slacker or refused to promote the most qualified candidate. You make the hiring decisions, and that gives you the opportunity to build a positive, productive company culture.

3. You get to set your own hours.

If you want to close on Thanksgiving, you can close on Thanksgiving and spend time with your family. You’re not at the mercy of corporate shareholders whose priorities focus solely on the bottom line. You get to make money AND stick to your principles.

4. You get to do what you love.

The entire mission of your business is to make a profit doing the things you enjoy. The things you don’t want to do? Well, you can delegate to another employee who enjoys those tasks or work with a contractor. Not everyone working a traditional 9-to-5 job gets to make those kind of choices about their daily responsibilities.

5. You get to make a difference in your community.

Small businesses don’t just put money back into the community, they improve the lives of the people living in that community by volunteering, by creating jobs, and by providing much-needed products and services. That’s something you can be proud of.

6. You have the support of a growing shop local movement.

People realize the value of shopping with small businesses and keeping the money they spend in their communities. This growing awareness gives you more than just a fighting chance when it comes to competing with mega-corporations and big-box stores.

7. You can work from just about anywhere.

Mobile technology gives you a great deal of flexibility. Need to work on next year’s budget while you hang out at the swim meet or send a few emails while you get your oil changed? You have the freedom to make the most of otherwise idle time 24/7. And that freedom means that when it’s time to sit down and have dinner with the family, you can give them your undivided attention.

So tell us, when it comes to being a small business owner, what are you most thankful for?