Starting a small business takes a lot more than a great idea.

It takes passion, commitment, and a willingness to take on any challenge in pursuit of your dream.

Here at Constant Contact, we believe that owning a small business is truly one of the hardest jobs in America.

And we have the data to prove it.

A new Constant Contact survey lays out just how hard it really is:

More than half of small business owners tell us they feel like they can never be away from their business and don’t have any time to focus on themselves.  And vacations?  Forget it. More than 40 percent say they don’t take vacations and have their money tied up in their business.  Even worse?  Forty percent say they don’t see their family and friends as much as they would like. The personal toll can be significant.

The job description is definitely complex.  Forty-three percent say that wearing so many different hats (sales, marketing, operations, customer service, payroll, accounts payable, HR, and so on) is the most difficult part of their job.  Factor in that almost a third worry about paying bills and a quarter worry about the economy, and the job of small business owner seems downright impossible.

All of this begs the question:  why do it?  Why give up family time, vacations, and personal time?

Three beautiful words:  passion, freedom, and flexibility.

When asked why they do it, 62 percent say the opportunity to pursue their passion, closely followed by the freedom to control their professional life (59 percent) and flexibility (50 percent). Small business owners tell us they like the freedom of trying new things, making their own mistakes, and controlling their destiny.

It’s not surprising to see that your main driver is passion.  It’s that passion that underscores the best of what small businesses represent:  quality, commitment, and real customer relationships.  We see it in the craftsmanship of handmade furniture, in the delicacy of a handmade puff pastry, in the personal attention of our local accountant.

Despite the countless sacrifices and challenges, small business owners still choose small.  An overwhelming 84 percent tell us that if they could do it all over again, they would.  And for that, we are grateful.

You are the people who work to create special memories for our family, keep our business humming with your expertise, remember how we like our coffee in the morning, and sponsor our children’s sports teams.  You account for almost half of all U.S. jobs, more than half of all U.S. sales, and donate 250 percent more than larger businesses to nonprofits and community causes.

As the backbone of our economy and the fabric of our communities, small businesses carry quite a load and we know it.  We want to thank you for all that you do, and for how incredibly well you do it.

In honor of Small Business Week 2015, we’ve curated some of the best business advice we could find from small businesses, influencers, and more. We hope it inspires you to keep doing what you’re doing. Check out the advice and make sure to share the best business advice you’ve received in the comments below or on social media with the hashtag #CTCTSBW.