Thinking of starting your own business? Congratulations. The entrepreneurial itch is just beginning.
You might have a reason for wanting to start your own business, like capitalizing on an opportunity or fulfilling a need in your community. Or you might have no idea why this sensation is pulling you. That’s OK.
There’s no right or wrong motivation for wanting to start your own business. Whether you’re trying to escape the 9-to-5 or just want to make more money, every reason is valid.
At foundr, we’re passionate about inspiring entrepreneurs and giving you the tools and know-how you need to succeed. Below, we’ve compiled 19 reasons for you to start your own business. Consider this your justification (or community-backed excuse) for making your business-owning dream a reality.
Table of Contents
Why Start Your Own Business?
Next time your in-laws and co-workers ask what the heck you’re doing, just send them a link to this page.
1. Control Your Schedule
Tired of being told what to do and when to do it? When you start your own business, you get to be as flexible as you want. Sleep in, stay up late, work half days, or take off every Friday—it’s up to you.
The early days of your business will be busy, but you’ll eventually gain more spare time as you scale and learn to delegate.
Need to make an important family event but swamped with work? Take off a weekday and replace it with a weekend. Feeling burnt out and needing some extra sleep? Work 12 to 8 instead of 9 to 5.
Eventually, you might feel comfortable with your income and scale back your time working. You may live comfortably off 20 hours of work and take the rest off.
The inverse is true, too. You might want to deep dive into your work and pour your heart and soul into it—you can do that, as well. You get to control your schedule.
More importantly, the flexibility of starting your own business means you’ll get out what you put in. If you want to build the next tech giant or simply create an agency so you can spend more time with your family, you’re in control. Every hour you spend on your business is valuable.
2. Create Your Ideal Workspace
Don’t be constrained by the fluctuating rules (and trends) of workspace policies. Small businesses and corporations alike often require you to work in determined locations. Even “remote” policies often have red tape that demand you live in specific geographic areas.
When you’re the business owner, you can work from your home, a co-working space, an office, or even the local coffee shop. You can take your work with you on the go, whether that’s the stereotypical beachside resort (please don’t get sand in your laptop) or the back of an RV on a nationwide road trip.
What’s your dream workspace? Is it a loft space with a ping-pong table? What about a giant corner office? Or maybe, it’s working at a collaborative coworking space or incubator?
You get to decide.
3. Make More Money
Unless you’re on commission, there’s likely a cap to your full-time income. You’re given a salary (regardless of your input or performance), and the only way to get beyond that is maybe with an end-of-year bonus. Plus, the time it takes to get to mid-level management, even in the most progressive of organizations, can take years of loyalty and corporate-culture assimilation.
When you start your own business, you get to decide how much money you make. Need more cash? Work longer hours or charge higher prices. Want more free time? Scale back your work and make less income.
It’s all up to you. Here are examples of how you can increase your earning potential as a business owner versus a traditional job:
- Start an agency and set your own hourly rates > Asking your manager for an annual salary bump
- Sell your solution and get credit > Solving a problem for someone else’s business
- Become an expert in an industry under your brand > Move up the corporate ladder under one organization
There’s no cap on your salary as a business owner. You can always make more money and scale your business.
4. Pursue a Passion
Do what you really want to do. Pursue something that makes you happy or something you care about. There’s no wrong passion.
Want to fulfill your dream of being an artist? It’s a long road ahead of you, but it’s your dream to chase. Want to become a ski mountaineering guide? Take the risk and go for it.
Starting your own business lets you create fulfillment rather than find it.
More than 60% of Americans work in jobs they dislike. You can avoid this fate by doing something you genuinely care about. And once you get to that place, is it really “work” anymore?
Use the Ikigai method to turn your passion into profit:
- What are you good at?
- What do you love?
- What does the market need?
- How do you extract that value?
5. Feel Alive
When you’re the boss, you get to decide when to take risks and when to lay back. You’re going to have “high highs” and “low lows,” but you ultimately get to decide whether it’s going to be a dull day. Instead of punching in and punching out, you’re truly living each day to the fullest.
Starting a business is exciting and nerve-wracking. You’re going to lose sleep at times, and other nights you’ll sleep soundly after an adrenaline-packed day.
For better or worse, there’s a bit more on the line every day when you’re fully responsible for your income. Mediocre performance isn’t good enough anymore, and there’s something downright rewarding about that.
So, how do you know if you’re feeling alive in your current career? Here are a few indicators we’ve learned about what it means to feel alive as a business owner:
- On Friday evening, you look forward to going to work on Monday morning.
- Your skills are being used to the best of your abilities.
- You’re excited when someone asks, “what do you do?”
- Every day you learn something new.
- You’re the best version of yourself.
If this doesn’t sound like your career right now, then it might be time to take the first step toward feeling alive.
6. Escape the Corporate Rat Race
Ditch the corporate bureaucracy and get out of the game. No more cheesing up to bosses while you gain tenure, and no more following a career path that’s leading you nowhere. For many, starting their own business is a means to escape the rat race. In this case, you’re starting a business not to get something (money, passion, freedom) but to get away from something (the rat race).
True security doesn’t exist when you’re beholden to a corporation whose priority is keeping shareholders happy. As a business owner, you always get to show that you’re in control of your life and career—not the economy, a pandemic, or the unemployment rate. Losing your job can be catastrophic, so it’s no wonder that millions upon millions are now turning to side-hustles and startups to keep their finances afloat during uncertain times.
Read this article to learn how Hala Taha left her corporate career to build a media empire.
7. Discover Your Purpose
Ever feel like you have no purpose at work? Are you grinding day in and day out for a paycheck? Starting a business can bring fantastic meaning and purpose to your life—and that’s different than becoming a workaholic.
When you discover your purpose and build a business around it, you’re not working anymore—instead, you’re fulfilling a dream.
Freedom, pride, excitement, and commitment collide to make meaning—that sense of purpose, of drive, of overwhelming worth. We can all agree that a life full of meaning is a desirable outcome (and it doesn’t have to live as a daydream).
8. Be Your Own Boss
You call your own shots. You get to set the rules. You get to choose everything:
- Who do you work with
- Prices you charge
- Marketing strategies
- Who you hire
- Who you fire
- Where you operate
- When you operate
- How you operate
You never have to worry about someone making poor or insensitive decisions that hurt you. However, you’re now in the position where all the responsibility sits on your shoulders. When you are your own boss, it can be a heavy load to bear, but it’s one worth bearing.
9. Build Your Own Career
Set your own career trajectory instead of letting your manager or human resources team tell you where you’re headed. Sure, you’ll start at the top of the chain (hello, CEO), but you can shift your direction as time goes on.
For example, you may decide to hand over the day-to-day operations to a manager or you might hire a CEO to run your business while you fill a role you’re more passionate about.
It’s not uncommon for founders to give up the mantle of CEO to another individual so they can pursue another passion. The best part about starting your own business is that you get to decide if you even want to consider that option. Here are some ways a business owner can grow their career:
- Be a lifelong founder and CEO with complete control
- Handoff day-to-day responsibilities to a CEO but still make major decisions
- Build your business so you can exit for a major payday
- Sell your business and start a new business
There are no limits on your career as a business owner. Read how Marc Lore navigated his career as a serial business owner and why he plans to never stop.
10. Learn New Skills
Your original corporate job likely wanted you to do one thing exceptionally well—whether that’s headhunting, email marketing, sales, or product road mapping. When you start a business, you get to do it all.
Over time, you’ll begin to delegate these responsibilities. However, on day one, you’ll likely wear all the business hats—and there’s a lot you’re going to learn.
It’ll feel a bit overwhelming at times, but you’re going to learn and grow quickly. You’ll acquire new skills and discover innate talents, and you’ll learn what you never want to do again.
In this position, you’ll get to rapidly explore career opportunities and dive into foreign subjects. You may discover that Search Engine Optimization is your new passion, and you might find sales is your worst nightmare. You’ll get a taste of all of it, and then you’ll get to decide which responsibilities you keep and delegate.
11. Start From Scratch
There’s something rewarding about building a business from the ground up. Sure, it’d be nice if you could start with a profitable business that’s raking in 6-figure revenue numbers, but where’s the challenge and fulfillment in that? Here are the benefits of starting a business from scratch:
- Create a unique brand identity
- Become a disruptor in a market
- Create a business that aligns with your values
- Reach a new audience
When you start your own business, you start with a blank canvas. You get to decide everything from the business name to the brand voice to the core product. It’s a rollercoaster of a ride, but you’re the one in the driver’s seat.
12. Tax Incentives
Taxes likely won’t be a reason to start a business, but it’s definitely a notable perk. As a small business owner, you may be able to get tax benefits that help your business–and even tax breaks that ultimately help you as an individual.
You’ll have the opportunity to deduct things like magazine subscriptions, phone services, travel mileage, membership in professional organizations, and even part of your rent. And if you need anything to run your business, there’s a good chance it qualifies as a deduction.
The IRS also helps mitigate risk for American entrepreneurs. For example, you can write off any losses from your business, which means that a side business could help your tax return.
Tax laws vary between countries and states, so do your research and talk to a professional accountant.
13. Be Creative
There’s no single right way to run a business. Yes, there are proven techniques and strategies, but that’s not to say they’re the only way to be successful.
Be creative. Explore new ideas. Do something that no one has ever done before.
Creativity could be in the products and services you deliver or in the company culture you build. It could be in your work policies, or it could be in how you give back to the community.
Don’t take yourself too seriously—have some fun here and there.
14. Solve a Need
Many entrepreneurs begin their journey so that they can solve a need they recognize. For example, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia founded Airbnb because they struggled to afford rent in New York City and decided to rent out their floorspace to conference attendees.
What needs do you want to solve? They could be as big as climate change or as tiny as a lack of chicken wing options in your town—each is an opportunity to build a business. Here’s a list of needs and problems you can solve through a business:
- Improve a system in workflow management or manufacturing.
- Create a product that hacks everyday problems.
- Create a product that is specialized for a niche audience.
- Start an agency that helps other businesses in marketing, advertising, or design.
- Build a brand that offers unique content experiences.
- Start the first coffee shop in your small town.
Most importantly, find a problem that you’re passionate about solving. Check out this story about how Samantha Brett created an SPF skincare solution that could be sprayed over makeup without getting sticky or runny.
15. Build a Team
Have you ever asked, “how did that person get hired?” Say goodbye to those questions.
When you work for someone, you don’t have control over who your co-workers are. As a business owner, you can build a team that you want to work with.
Put your “Moneyball” hat on and start building the ultimate startup team. You’ll get to decide who you work with every day, and you’ll also have the privilege (and responsibility) of providing for these individuals’ livelihood.
There’s no right or wrong way to go about building your team. You might start with your little sister and cousin, or you might jump straight to hiring a web developer you’re never met.
Add teammates to the team when it makes sense, and cut those who are hurting the business. As the CEO and coach, you get to decide who joins the team.
16. Build a Brand
When you work at an agency or large corporation, you often become another cog in the machine. Your name is detached from your work, and your personal brand plateaus while you contribute to building another person’s dream.
Starting your own business puts your name back on the map. As your business grows, so will your personal brand—and vice versa. Getting recognized might not be the reason you start a business, but it sure beats getting a meaningless certificate for another quarter of balanced budgets.
Take Elon Musk. His personal brand transcends Tesla or SpaceX. If those businesses went under tomorrow, he could start a brand-new successful business with his name alone. That’s the power of personal branding.
17. Have a Career Backup Plan
Right now, the economy is shaky at best. Due to no fault of your own, you could lose your job tomorrow due to downsizing, a reorg, or a macroeconomic shift.
Developing a side hustle business means you don’t need to rely on economic climates or a boardroom of executives to determine your career.
When you start your own business, you’re in charge of these life-altering decisions. Yes, your business still has a chance to tank, but you’re not a helpless bystander—you’re the one investing in its future. Your destiny is in your own hands.
Plus, once you’ve built a business, you’ll have acquired a whole new suite of valuable skills. You’ll be in an even better position to start another successful business. And if worst comes to worst, you’ll have new talents that’ll make you a more marketable employee for any company.
18. Give Back to the Community
We live in a world rife with problems, and often a lack of funding causes those problems. A successful business would put you in a place to do something about the issues you see and care about.
You could even embrace social entrepreneurship and focus your efforts away from market value and toward social value.
Start a business to help young people through challenging times or launch a startup to assist single parents. When you focus on doing good instead of making money, everyone usually wins.
Your business doesn’t have to be built around doing good, though—that can just be a byproduct. For example, one could argue that Facebook doesn’t do a whole lot of good. However, the business donates millions of dollars to charities worldwide, and that’s definitely doing some good.
19. Because You Want To
And that’s a good enough reason. You could write a book about all the reasons you should start a business, and someone else could probably write another one with all the reasons you shouldn’t.
That’s just the way life goes.
In the end, if you feel the pull to head out on your own and start a business, it’s never a bad idea to accept the call. You can always start a side hustle without quitting your 9-to-5 and build out the concept with little-to-no risk.
Just wanting to start your own business is reason enough—never discount that.
Keep Learning: How Much Does It Really Cost to Start a Business?
Starting a Business FAQs
We get a lot of questions about starting a business. Here are some of the most common ones we hear from our foundr family.
Will I make money if I start my own business?
It depends on the type of business you start. For example, if you build a patented device for electric vehicles, your business will take lots of time and money to launch. In contrast, if you work at a company as a digital marketing specialist and want to start an agency, it will only cost a new website on Squarespace. Part of the risk of starting your own business is that it will have a high potential to win and fail. Ask yourself if the risk of not trying is greater than failing.
Should I start a business by myself or with a cofounder?
Do you want to start a business for complete autonomy? Are you sick of answering to a manager or team member? If yes, then working with a cofounder might not be the best idea. Cofounders usually find each other organically, but if you're seriously worried about going it alone, make sure you find a cofounder who compliments your strengths.
Is it better to start a business as a side hustle?
To answer this question, you'll have to include your situation. Critically you need to understand 2 factors in deciding whether to rip off the Band-Aid and go all-in on your business. One, is how much time do I have? Two, how much financial flexibility do I have? If your evenings are typically free, there's plenty of time to work on your business outside your 9-to-5. Or, if you've been saving for 2 years to start your business, put in your 2 weeks notice and get started. Most of us have limitations on time or finances. It's up to you to figure out what levers you need to pull to get your business going. The best time to start your business with yesterday. Don't get stuck on the first step. Take it.
How can my business be successful?
Only YOU can answer this. Define success for your business and decide what you are willing to do to reach it.
Starting Your Own Business? Here’s What You Need
Excited about starting your own business? You’re in the right place. We have all the resources you need to get started, and they’re all in one place.
Check out our catalog of free masterclasses. You can learn everything from launching a successful side hustle to growing a massive Instagram following. These courses are taught by professionals who’ve been there, done that. They’re not gurus teaching elusive secrets of the trade—they’re doers sharing real-life advice from lessons learned along their own journeys.
Peek at what’s available, and take the first steps to start your own business. Your future self will thank you later.