Reading: Why People Choose to Become Entrepreneurs

Photo of woman sitting on a boat working on her laptop.

What leads a person to strike out on her own and start a business? Perhaps a person has been laid off once or more. Sometimes a person is frustrated with his or her current job and doesn’t see any better career prospects on the horizon. Sometimes a person realizes that his or her job is in jeopardy. A firm may be contemplating cutbacks that could end a job or limit career or salary prospects. Perhaps a person already has been passed over for promotion. Perhaps a person sees no opportunities in existing businesses for someone with his or her interests and skills.

Some people are actually repulsed by the idea of working for someone else. They object to a system where reward is often based on seniority rather than accomplishment or where they have to conform to a corporate culture.

Other people decide to become entrepreneurs because they are disillusioned by the bureaucracy or politics involved in getting ahead in an established business or profession. Some are tired of trying to promote a product, service, or way of doing business that is outside the mainstream operations of a large company.

Some people evaluate the possibilities for jobs and careers where they live and make a conscious decision to pursue entrepreneurship.

Then there are those who never consider working for someone else—they are born entrepreneurs. The following is an excerpt from an interview with a small business owner, who talks about her lifelong desire to own her own business:

I don’t think I ever considered not owning my own business. My father was an entrepreneur and built his business from a hole in the wall to a very successful multi-location business just a block from the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC. The whole family was involved in the business in some way. My mother did all the bookkeeping, my father ran the business, and when I was old enough to get a job, I went to work for him. It wasn’t always easy for the family. We didn’t take vacations like everybody else, sometimes we didn’t have as much money as everybody else, and some of my friends didn’t understand why my father didn’t have a “real job.” But, I believe that entrepreneurship can be an inherited trait. My great-grandfather was a clockmaker in Germany, my grandfather owned a jewelry store in Richmond, Virginia, my father had his business, my sister owned her own business, and now here I am running my own business. For me and my family, entrepreneurship is like breathing.   —Julia Scheer, owner of Puzzles, Pranks & Games (Kitty Hawk, NC)

No one reason is more valid than another; none guarantees success. However, a strong desire to start a business, combined with a good idea, careful planning, and hard work, can lead to a very engaging and profitable endeavor.

The following short video is an example of the entrepreneurial spirit in action!