Why Become an Entrepreneur?

The three primary reasons that people become entrepreneurs and start their own firms are to be their own boss, pursue their own ideas, and realize financial rewards.

• Be Their Own Boss: The first of these reasons—being one’s own boss—is given most commonly. This doesn’t mean, however, that entrepreneurs are difficult to work with or that they have trouble accepting authority. Instead, many entrepreneurs want to be their own boss because either they have had a longtime ambition to own their own firm or because they have become frustrated working in traditional jobs.

• Pursue Their Own Ideas: The second reason people start their own
firms is to pursue their own ideas. Some people are naturally alert, and
when they recognize ideas for new products or services, they have the desire to see those ideas realized. Corporate entrepreneurs who innovate within the context of an existing firm typically have a mechanism for their ideas to become known. Established firms, however, often resist innovation. When this happens, employees are left with good ideas that go unfulfilled. Because of their passion and commitment, some employees choose to leave the firm employing them in order to start their own business as the means to develop their own ideas.

• Pursue Financial Rewards: Finally, people start their own firms to pursue financial rewards. This motivation, however, is typically secondary to the
first two and often fails to live up to its hype. The average entrepreneur does not make more money than someone with a similar amount of responsibility in a traditional job. The financial lure of entrepreneurship is its upside potential. People such as Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, and Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google made hundreds of millions of dollars building their firms. Money is also a unifier. Making a profit and increasing the value of a company is a solidifying goal that people can rally around. But money is rarely the primary motivation behind the launch of an entrepreneurial firm. Some entrepreneurs even report that the financial rewards associated with entrepreneurship can be bittersweet if they are accompanied by losing control of their firm. For example, Sir Richard Branson, after selling Virgin Records, wrote, “I remember walking down the street [after the sale was completed]. I was crying. Tears . . . [were] streaming down my face. And there I was holding a check for a billion dollars. . . . If you’d have seen me, you would have thought I was loony. A billion dollars.” For Branson, it wasn’t just the
money—it was the thrill of building the business and of seeing the success of his initial idea.  

© Entrepreneurship, Successfully Launching New Ventures