Top reasons people start their own business

Entrepreneurs cite many reasons for wanting to go into business on their own. But in one way or another, they are all dissatisfied with business as usual.

by Sandra Beckwith
updated January 06, 2023 ·  3min read

There are many reasons people start their own business. Some of these may be personal, but entrepreneurs seem to have a few ideas and characteristics in common.

Now more than ever people are turning to entrepreneurship. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the number of business applications in 2020 has increased significantly over 2019 due to a variety of factors.

Here are five common reasons people start their own business.


1. To do it better

After years of disappointment with the way his digital marketing agency employers treated clients, Joe Karasin started a business so he could do it his way.

"I'm listening to concerns, working to correct them, and delivering results instead of promises," he says about his approach to his pay-per-click advertising service, Karasin PPC.

Similarly, Jonathan Mandell founded Teepee, a vendor cyber risk management service firm, because he felt the industry was using an outdated approach. "This model was causing the process to be extremely challenging, while at the same time, not very effective," he says.

2. To fill an unmet need

Tanya Zhang co-founded Nimble Made, a men's slim dress shirt brand said she opened for business after seeing a void in the marketplace "after seeing my dad struggle with finding a good slim-fitting dress shirt."

Similarly, when Margo Fery couldn't find durable, but affordable, clear plastic handbags to use for sporting events, she searched for a way to provide them.

"I found the happy medium of durable PVC that is the same quality as those priced at $200, but at an affordable price and that wouldn't break easily," she says of the stylish bags she now offers at Margo Paige.

3. They need a job

For some, the motivation is as simple as needing to earn a living.

Annie Pace Scranton started freelancing as a publicist for a friend 10 years ago while she looked for another full-time job—she had been laid off when the TV show she produced was canceled.

"It turned out that I was very good at getting his clients booked on TV for interviews since I had so many contacts in the industry," she says. Today, Pace Public Relations employs 12 people.

In a similar vein, Connor Griffiths started Lifty Life Vacation Rental Management after being laid off at another vacation rental company. "Starting Lifty Life has been one of the amazing silver linings of COVID," he says.

4. Because of personal circumstances

Some business owners start their company because a personal situation makes it difficult for them to work for anyone else.

Anji Martin's husband was a foreign service officer with the U.S. State Department when they got married, so she knew he would get reassigned to a different country every two or three years.

While many spouses worked at the embassy or consulate, those opportunities were closed to her because she wasn't an American citizen. She needed a portable profession.

"I have been passionate about photography since I was a kid, and I realized that that was something I could do professionally just about anywhere," she explains about the company she started, Potok's World Photography.

5. To seize an opportunity

Anders Helgeson's new work-from-home situation on account of COVID-19 gave him more free time, so when his friend's residential painting business slowed down, the two started flipping couches.

In a few short months, they earned nearly $16,000 picking up free sofas advertised on Craigslist, cleaning them up, and selling them. They used their earnings to start Time Now Hauling & Junk Removal to transport junk, deliver furniture, pick up donated items, and provide manual labor.

"Our reason for starting our business really boils down to being driven to take the risk, given the situation that COVID afforded us," says Helgeson.

Regardless of your motivation, if you're ready to start something new, research how to get started and which business structure makes the most sense, then choose a business name and write your business plan. Entrepreneurship is hard work, but as many have learned, it can also be personally and professionally rewarding.

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Sandra Beckwith

About the Author

Sandra Beckwith

Sandra Beckwith has been writing for traditional and online publications since she sold her first magazine article while… Read more

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