Starting a business can be a life-changing endeavor. You can become your own boss and give yourself the freedom and flexibility you've always dreamed of. But those are just some of the many reasons to start a business.
While there's never a bad time to hang your own shingle, the upheaval spurred by the coronavirus pandemic presents unique opportunities for new entrepreneurs.
If you've questioned whether you're ready to open up shop, here are 10 reasons to get you inspired to start a business now.
1. Have more control over your destiny
When you take the reins of your own work life, you end up with more say over what direction you take and where you will eventually end up.
"It's harder, it's more work, but it's under your control," says Andrea Ames, CEO of Idyll Point Group and a SCORE mentor. "That applies at any time, but it's more interesting right when there are so many people unemployed or under threat of being unemployed," she adds.
If you're in need of something new career-wise, why not start a business now to wrest back some control over your life?
2. Work where, when, and how you want
Part of having more control is being in charge of how you do the work that produces your income.
"Starting my own business has allowed me to work how, when, and where I want," says James Watson, owner of Omaha Homes For Cash. "Having the freedom to work on your time is incredibly liberating and something that most people don't get the satisfaction of feeling."
Not only do entrepreneurs have the logistical benefit of controlling their time and space, but they also get the psychological benefit of having daily autonomy in their work lives.
3. Gain flexibility
Needing greater flexibility is a big reason why many people decide to start a business. Maybe you need more flexibility to care for family members or to pursue other needs or passions.
Working for employers who grant you jobs that come with specific restrictions on your time and space doesn't offer the flexibility to do these things. By starting a business, you can do it all.
4. Make good money
Some businesses flounder and others soar, so there's no guarantee that starting your own business will bring you a healthy income. However, there's the potential to make far more than you ever dreamed of as an employee, and that possibility is enough to motivate many would-be entrepreneurs.
"I'm not talking about get-rich-quick. But if you approach it in the right way, there's the potential to make a lot of money," says Ames. "When you own the business, you have a lot of control over that money, how you use it, and how you invest it."
5. Grab opportunities
A fair number of people start a business because they see an opportunity and decide to grab it. Such an opportunity could be a gap in a market that you can fill, a chance to use a windfall to do something new, or a change in the economy that facilitates entrepreneurship.
Ames argues that we're currently experiencing the latter, "It's a great time to start a business right now because when big businesses are downsizing, small businesses are better able to hire people. Small businesses, especially in the U.S., are the lifeblood of the economy right now."
As the U.S. economy continues to shift on account of the pandemic, new opportunities will emerge. Those who are poised to take advantage of them will be able to succeed in starting a business in the next few years.
6. Take advantage of low barriers to entry
The internet has opened the door wide to a huge variety of online business models, such as e-commerce outlets, online service-based businesses, and digital product purveyors. Many of these options can be started with a surprisingly small amount of cash.
Worldwide online connectivity also provides the opportunity to easily recruit talented people from anywhere in the world to help you start or run your business. With many people looking for new avenues for work during the pandemic, the talent pool is only growing deeper.
"I decided to start a menswear blog because the barrier to entry was so small: it only took a couple hundred dollars to register a domain, pay for hosting, buy a WordPress theme, and get a logo designed," says Dave Bowden, founder of the men's lifestyle website Irreverent Gent. "After that, my ongoing costs were minimal, and my business could grow in direct proportion to the amount of work I was willing to put into writing and promoting each new blog post."
7. Find personal fulfillment
When you design your own business you get to do it exactly how you want. You develop your own vision and figure out the best ways of enacting that vision. As an employee of a corporation, on the other hand, you're enacting somebody else's vision in the way they dictate.
That's why "having your own business gives you the opportunity to really feel passionately connected to what you're doing," says Ames. "When you start your own business, you get to decide: Will I have a social impact? Will I have an environmental impact? Will my employees love coming to work every day?"
8. Make an impact
Your reasons may be far more socially-minded than making a lot of money. And if you're the head of your enterprise, that's your prerogative. You can, as they say, do good while doing well.
Stu McLaren, for example, cofounder of WishList Member and TRIBE Experience, uses a portion of the profit from his companies to build schools in Kenya. Stu likes to say that "the more money we make, the more impact we can have."
9. Create your own environment
What do you prefer your work environment to be like? If you work for someone else, no one's likely to ask you that question. You'll just have to put up with whatever milieu you find yourself in.
But if you work for yourself, says Eliza Nimmich, cofounder and COO of Tutor The People, "you can set the formality and culture of your organization."
If you prefer a casual workplace, you can make it so. If you want formality, you've got it. If you prefer no workplace at all, you can work as a solo entrepreneur from cafes and libraries. You're in the driver's seat as a business owner.
10. Address a problem
As the founder of a business, you may have the opportunity to help people solve problems in their lives. You can create a business specifically aimed at fixing an issue that exists in the marketplace, which will not only increase your chances of success but give you the warm feeling that comes from helping people.
You get bonus points if the company you start also solves a problem that you've been experiencing yourself. You can solve two problems at once in that case, since creating your own business may just solve another of your problems: finding a satisfying and lucrative career.