There’s something about saying that you’re going to start your own business that just feels good. It feels empowering, freeing, and exciting, in a way that saying “I’m going to start applying for a job,” or “I’m about to switch careers” really doesn’t.
But why is that? What is it about entrepreneurship that is so attractive to us? After all, starting your own business isn’t for everyone – but small businesses are considered the backbone of the economy, and successful entrepreneurs from Elon Musk to Bill Gates are held up as celebrities in society. What draws people into entrepreneurship?
Greater opportunities and rewards
A few generations ago, white collar workers worked a single job for most of their lives, and when they retired, they were given a pension that sustained them throughout their twilight years. That system entirely broke down at the end of the 20th century, however, and modern workers are expected to save for themselves with 401ks and IRAs, while working far more hours than our grandparents did. Is it really any surprise that more and more workers are looking to set their own rules?
Starting your own business comes with more risks than taking a job at an area company, but the potential for rewards are so much greater that many people feel it’s worth the risk. Add in the fact that many businesses now require nothing more than some spare time and a computer, and many entrepreneurs are getting their start long before they leave school or quit their day job.
Greater flexibility and time commitments
While some industries have made great strides in allowing for flex time and telecommuting that allows employees to get their work done wherever they are, many more businesses have been unable or willing to make these changes for their employees. This has created a set of people who are willing and able to work, but may have issues with irregular hours of availability, or needing to start and stop work at several points throughout the day.
Many small business owners are freelancers in fields like writing and graphic design who are also parents. With the ability to bring their laptop to the pickup line at school or into the bedroom to help soothe a cranky child back to sleep, they are able to both work and contribute to family income while they also fulfill their role as parent.
But many entrepreneurs also prefer running their own business when they have a chronic disability that would make regularly dressing for the workplace, leaving home, and using public transport or a personal vehicle, complex. They can work from home in many fulfilling and satisfying careers, increasing their satisfaction and personal happiness, as well as their material wealth.
Greater control over business and life
As employees, we know we’re just a cog in the machine, a part of a greater purpose, and we don’t tend to have a lot of direction over a company’s direction, unless we’re the proud owner of a C-suite, and sometimes, even then.
As an entrepreneur, we are in the enviable and sometimes terrifying position of steering an entire company in the direction we think best. This allows companies to evolve to the right size for them, serve a niche market, and work directly with customers to create the best possible products for those customers.
And while many business owners describe themselves as workaholics, many also feel that running their own business gives them the time they need to take a vacation, enjoy time with their families, and see their kids or grand kids enjoy the world around them.
Greater satisfaction in retirement
While many entrepreneurs are Millennials, dissatisfied with the opportunities they found when they left college and ready to try a different way of succeeding, there are also many entrepreneurs who retired from high powered positions and then found that retirement was a little too slow paced for them. They might start freelancing or consulting businesses where they can work at their own pace and when they choose to do the work, or they might look at running a smaller retail or service based business that they feel serves the community and gives back to those who helped them to succeed.
Whatever your reasons for loving entrepreneurship, there’s no questions that small businesses are the cornerstone of the American economy – so much so that many other countries are striving to increase entrepreneurship inside their own borders.
What do you find most attractive about entrepreneurship?