There's another extremely good reason to start one's own company. It's what might be called the entrepreneurial "drive." An entrepreneur is the business world's version of an artist. The true entrepreneur is a creative person who desperately needs an outlet to implement his or her ideas.

Being an entrepreneur differs from simply wanting to be one's own boss. Many people want to be their own boss for negative reasons - because they don't like the folks they work for and think they could do a better job.

With entrepreneurs, the desire to break away is present even if they like their job and the people they work for. It's like artists craving paint and a canvas, or musicians who would hock just about all of their other possessions for an instrument. The entrepreneur has a creative vision about how to run a business, and that's what drives this person. If they fit the entrepreneurial mold, then the decision to start their own business is already made. Nothing can stop them.

Being an entrepreneur doesn't mean they'll automatically succeed, however. Many fail in their business ventures, often repeatedly. In fact, some aspects of an entrepreneurial personality go against the grain of what it takes to succeed in business. Too often, the entrepreneur is a control freak who doesn't know how to delegate. They may be headstrong, with a "my way or the highway" attitude.

These are not good qualities for running a successful business. Work triumphs usually require people skills, negotiating skills and compromise. It's common for an entrepreneur to start out strong because of the brilliance of his or her business ideas, but then fizzle out because of an inability to work with others.


But even when they fail, true entrepreneurs will continue to find a way to open up a new business again, sometimes in an entirely different field. If you are an entrepreneur, deep down, you probably know it. And you probably have intended to open your own shop from the minute you went to work for someone else.

Another positive about running your own business is the opportunity to do it right - or at least what you perceive to be the right way. Some people disagree with the business practices of their employers. It can get frustrating seeing people above you make mistakes, especially when they won't listen to you because, after all, they're in charge. In some companies, opening your mouth will only get you in trouble. Owning your own business gives you a chance to do things the way you think they should be done.

Job security is another reason why some people go into business for themselves. Trade workers in particular get tired of being laid off or not knowing how many hours they'll get from week to week. They think the only way they can ensure employment is to be the one generating the work. Money often is secondary to such people. I've known contractors who earn less money than their employees, but they're happy just knowing that nobody can fire them.

In fact, a lot of construction contractors went into business for themselves after being laid off or fired. These people didn't necessarily want to go into business for themselves. It was forced on them. Usually, they're not very successful.

There's also a lot of prestige and ego gratification when you own your own company. You can name the company after yourself and put your name on trucks and advertisements that get seen all over town. Most people would deny this as a motive, but deep inside I think most business owners get a kick out of being a big shot.

Next month we'll look at some of the biggest reasons to think twice about going into business for yourself.