The road to entrepreneurship is often a treacherous one filled with unexpected detours, roadblocks and dead ends. There are lots of sleepless nights, plans that don’t work out, funding that doesn’t come through and customers that never materialize. It can be so challenging to launch a business that it may make you wonder why anyone willingly sets out on such a path.
Yet despite all these hardships, every year, thousands of entrepreneurs embark on this journey determined to bring their vision to fruition and fill a need they see in society. They open brick-and-mortar businesses, launch tech startups, or bring a new product or service into the marketplace.
So what motivates entrepreneurs to venture forth when so many others would run in the other direction? Though each person’s motivation is nuanced and unique, most entrepreneurs are spurred on by one or more of the following motivators:
Autonomy – Entrepreneurs want to be their own bosses, set their own goals, control their own progress and run their businesses how they see fit. They recognize that their business’s success or failure rests with them, yet they don’t view this responsibility as a burden but, instead, as a marker of their freedom.
Flexibility – Many entrepreneurs have a clear vision of what they want to accomplish and feel compelled to work tirelessly to make that happen. They genuinely believe they have a product or service that fills a void and are compelled by a single-minded commitment to that goal to keep pushing ahead. They abhor stagnation and would rather fail while moving forward than languish in inactivity.
Flexibility – Not everyone fits into the rigidity of traditional corporate culture. Entrepreneurs are often looking to free themselves from these constraints, find a better work-life balance, or work at times and in ways that may be unconventional. This doesn’t mean they are working fewer hours – oftentimes, especially in the early stages of growing a business, they are working longer and harder – but, rather, that they’re working in a way that is natural and instinctual to them.
Financial success – Most entrepreneurs realize they aren’t going to be overnight billionaires, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t at least a little bit seduced by the potential of making a ton of money. Some may want to establish a financial safety net for themselves and their families, while others are looking to make a huge profit by creating the next big thing.
Legacy – Entrepreneurs are often guided by a desire to create something that outlasts them. A segment of this group is led by ego and a craving for notoriety. Others want to create a brand that has longevity and becomes an institution. Another group wants to pass on a source of income and security to their heirs. There are also those entrepreneurs who hope to make a lasting impression on the world and leave behind an innovation that improves people’s lives in some tangible way.
If you’re contemplating an entrepreneurial venture, you should first identify which of the above motivators serve as your guiding force. Then consider if you have the specific character traits and attributes that will enable you to thrive as an entrepreneur.