What Motivates People To Start Their Own Businesses?

While it can be a rewarding experience, striking out on your own to start a business can be tough and daunting as it comes with a lot of uncertainty. The potential instability of not having a steady stream of income is what usually scares people away and yet there are many driven individuals determined to be their own boss. So what makes people want to do it? Here's what we know.

Small business owner image from Shutterstock

MYOB surveyed over 1000 SMB owners to find out what inspired them to get into business. The top reason cited was that they wanted to control their own destiny followed by the desire for flexibility.

Here are the full findings:

  1. I went into business to control my own destiny (39 per cent)
  2. I needed flexibility in a role to do what I want, when I want (32 per cent)
  3. I started my own business because I am passionate about what I do (29 per cent)
  4. I wanted a total lifestyle change from what I was doing (27 per cent)
  5. I went into business so I can spend more time with my family (13 per cent)

It would seem most SMB owners are happy with their decision. Two-thirds (65 per cent) of respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with their work-life balance, which is a 14 per cent increase from last year's results. Interestingly, only 19 per cent of business owners surveyed prioritised growth as a long term goal.

"As small businesses are also employers, there’s a clear message here. To retain key staff, giving people some flexibility and autonomy is going to be really important." MYOB CEO Tim Reed said in a statement. "It seems small business is really delivering on this point, with more than two thirds (68 per cent) utilising teleworking in their businesses.

"Teleworking was more likely to be used by franchisors, construction and trades and business, professional services and property businesses."

Do you own your own business? What made you do it in the first place and what keeps you going? Let us know in the comments.


    I started my own consulting business last year after a period of unemployment followed by freelancing. I realised I can earn much more per hour this way. I work much less than in my former job (average around 15 hours a week) yet have so far earned an income in line with my former full time salary. I work from home (no commute) and I can choose when to work. What's not to like? Well finding clients and selling is a bigger part of my work now. Uncertainty about income means you need to keep money aside for quieter work periods. And you need to have low debt so you can afford to cut back - I could never have done this if I'd had a big mortgage.

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