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Why do people go into business?

Hope and despair

As this is my first blog I thought I would start at the beginning and consider the question: Why do people go into business? Why, when so many small businesses start with hope and end in despair?

Why do people go into business?

The usual reasons given for going into business are:

  • “I want to be my own boss.”
  • “I wish to build something myself.”
  • “I desire more money than I can earn being employed.”
  • “I think I can run the business better than the boss can.”

Others say they are pursuing a passion. Or wish to have a better lifestyle (and avoid the 9 to 5 grind) Others wish to express themselves more fully. Some do it because they have lost their jobs and need to earn a living. Finally, there those who have what they think is a world beating idea that will make them a fortune.

Why I went into business

It’s true to say that everyone has their own reasons, some good some bad. Sadly, many startups don’t succeed, despite the reasons. But, rather than consider other people’s reasons, I thought I would reflect on why I decided to go into business and how it has worked out for me.

I stated my working life as a conventionally-employed person in a well-known publishing firm. I had no burning desire to be my own boss, nor did I have any world beating entrepreneurial ideas. My work was enjoyable. Obviously, the fact that I was working with interesting, well-educated and experienced people who were teaching me about work and life was a positive.


I have, however, always been keen on change. Be this location, or countries, or work. So, I decided after a few years of publishing that I would study law and accounting and ended up working in corporate advice and reconstruction. This was a change from publishing! In this period I also moved from Zimbabwe to England and then to Australia.

It was while in Australia, nearly 40 years ago, that I decided to start my first business. This was, in truth merely an extension of what I was doing while employed. In essence, I decide to set up on my own doing the same thing. Perhaps, I thought I could do better than the boss! In reality, of course, I couldn’t, but I made a living.

Reflecting now on my personal reasons for wanting to go into business on my own, I believe the strongest motivation was a desire to achieve something through my own efforts. A desire to say what I have I have built up by myself. I am standing on my own two feet, win or lose.

The right decision?

So why did I go into business and did I make the right decision?

Would I have been better off staying in publishing and climbing the corporate ladder? Did I squander an opportunity when working with Sydney’s top insolvency and reconstruction firm?

Was it the right path to take? Who knows? I don’t!

The same choice

But I do know that having the same choices again I wouldn’t change what I did. Because it suited me; because I like not having a boss. I like starting and building things and I like being on my own boss and determining my own destiny.

I’m glad I took the path perhaps less travelled.

See also FAQs 3.37 & 3.29