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16 Entrepreneurs Explain How They Got Into Entrepreneurship

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Being an entrepreneur is the road rarely traveled. It’s certainly not an easy road. There are twists and turns and ups and downs. Everyone who decides to start a business or an entrepreneurial venture does it for their own specific reason. We asked entrepreneurs and business owners how they got into entrepreneurship.

#1 – Freedom

Image Credit: Jessica Freeman

I got into entrepreneurship because as a graphic and web designer, I wanted to have more control over the projects I worked on, and the people I worked with. There can be a lot of restrictions and guidelines when you’re working in a corporate setting, which can make it difficult to really feel creative. Even though, as designers, we usually have design parameters from our client’s and their brand guide, we can control who we target, and who we work with. Ultimately, the leap to entrepreneurship was about freedom – in my schedule, in my life, and in my work.

Thanks to Jessica Freeman, Jess Creatives!

#2 – A Few Reasons

Image Credit: Melissa Eboli

I have a few reasons as to why I took the leap of being a 9-7’er into owning my own business. I left a 15 year long career in sales, which was a very numbers driven environment to fulfill the need and burning desire to have a job that allows me to be creative and utilize my un-used talents. I have been cooking and creating healthy recipes for over 15 years. Anytime I made a dish for someone they would say wow, you need to open a restaurant or share your food somehow. Time and time again, i would get the same requests, or I was told i should write a book. It took me a while to build up the confidence and get my aha moment of bridging the gap of doing what I love and still making money without the overhead investment of a restaurant (just yet). This is where www.ViaMelissa.com/Events was born! I create and host culinary nutrition workshops that allow me to educate clients on the nutritional benefits of the healthy food I am making, while they get to watch me during a live cooking demo and then eat (and drink) the foods that’s being prepared before them. I can confidently say I love what I do, and am so glad I made this drastic change in my career!

Thanks to Melissa Eboli, ViaMelissa, LLC!

#3 – Wasn’t Fulfilled

Image Credit: Samantha Salmon

I am a health coach that specializes in helping women lose weight and release stress and anxiety for total optimal health. I am the founder of RawFoodMealPlanner.com, a free high-raw, plant-based meal planning service. I also owned a juice bar (Earth’s Healing Cafe) for 6 years in Chicago. We recently closed it a couple months ago. I decided to become an entrepreneur because I was not fulfilled working for others. I felt that I gave so much of myself for very little reward. I believed in my own abilities for greatness and financial abundance but I did not trust to leave my advancement to the hands of managers and bosses. So I found fulfillment and my purpose in life with my business, where I call the shots and I only answer to me. My income and impact are a direct result of my efforts and my work. It’s empowering and fun.

Thanks to Samantha Salmon, Raw Food Meal Planner!

#4 – The Thrill of the Game

Having launched and exited three companies, along with a string of early entrepreneurial endeavors, is it better to look at ourselves now or when this bug likely bit us all – very earlier on. One of the first endeavors, I can remember was a plot to buy up all the paper routes I could in the neighborhood. Something unheard of at the time. I would pay a delivery boy 3x their monthly income in cash no work required. Great for him (cue immediate gratification), and better for me. After gathering up seven routes in our area I had a bit of monopoly and found younger kids who at a fraction of dollars would deliver said papers. This continued until the local papers figured out what was going on. Not that it was against the rules – no one had rules for such shenanigans. They would eventually take all the routes away telling me that doing this was “UnAmerican”. Even as a 11 year old I could see just the opposite was true – that is exactly what makes America great. The thrill of formulating an idea for a business, planning the details, jumping into action, and then seeing it take hold – maybe a success, maybe end in losing paper routes – but it was the drug I would never clear from my system. The number one reason would always be the thrill of the game.

Thanks to Scott Schlichter, GTChannel!

#5 – No Regrets

Image Credit: Kari Graham

I had a solution to a problem that affects most of the civilized world and didn’t want to regret not making the solution into a reality. Time is an important commodity, and to have to waste time going from website to website searching for my fun and entertainment choices was an on-going frustration. Whether I was planning weekend activities, or things to do with the kids – or my options of what to while away on a business trip, there wasn’t a single site that offered me a view of activities, events and venues. Regret is not something I like, and I knew I would not be happy when the aforementioned occasions would arise again. With the help of generous investors, and a team of multi-talented individuals, FunLists.com became a solution. FunLists.com saves time and helps to make the world smile more often, one of those smiles is mine.

Thanks to Kari Graham, FunLists Inc.!

#6 – Bolster Confidence

Image Credit: Robin Smith

My desire to bolster confidence in purchasing decisions by online consumers led me to entrepreneurship and founding WeGoLook. As CEO, seeing the idea that I felt so strongly about evolve and grow into a successful mobile technology company has been humbling. WeGoLook began as an on-demand crowdsourcing platform (think ‘Uber of Inspections’) while creating a valuable service that is available to customers around the entire world.  We’v grown into providing career paths to over 110 employees plus creating opportunities to earn supplemental income for over 30,000 nationwide agents (Lookers). Saving individuals thousands of dollars from scammers who misrepresent online items while also bringing true dynamic and on-demand field service solutions to our B2B clients within insurance, financial services and automotive verticals is extremely rewarding!

Thanks to Robin Smith, WeGoLook!

#7 – Help Improve Health

Image Credit: Seattle Sutton

As a nurse, I wanted to help people improve their health! I knew that there was not a healthful freshly prepared calorie controlled meal service available anywhere—I realized the need! I think I may have actually inherited my interest in being a business owner. My dad had only 2 years of high school, yet started a farm implement business, a car sales business and gas station in a small town in North Dakota. My mom had only 8 grades of education in a small farm school in the prairie of North Dakota and was his secretary. I started Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating over 30 years ago and I am still involved with the family business financial bookkeeping at age 85 because I like to know where I stand financially at all times. I started with $1,000 and grew my company into a multi-million dollar business without any loans, investments or grants.

Thanks to Seattle Sutton!

#8 – Solve a Problem No One Has Solved

Image Credit: Karthik Sridhar

The best time to becoming an entrepreneur is when no one else wants to solve a problem that you clearly see. Back in 2006 I spent nearly 8 months with 100 analysts to figure out why HP was seeing so many products being returned. 10 years later we found that technology had made it possible to solve it in a matter of seconds. We started SupplyAI because supply chain can be exponentially efficient if software did all the math by itself. Entrepreneurship is like a fire in the belly and an overpowering desire to solve a problem never before solved. The sense of freedom and creativity; the ability to test my own personal tenacity to see an idea being brought to the market is what got me into it.

Thanks to Karthik Sridhar, SupplyAI!

#9 – For the Hustle

Image Credit: Matt Ham

There’s a lot of common answers to this question, but I got into entrepreneurship for the hustle. As an entrepreneur, you need to make things happen and you’re judged on results. There’s never one way to get things done, and running your own business is a bit like chaos. Especially in the startup stage, you never have enough resources and you’re always hustling to make a buck and make things happen. I enjoy that rush and the thrill of success when you finally get paid. Your job/company is what you make of it.

Thanks to Matt Ham, Computer Repair Doctor!

#10 – Solve a Problem I’m Passionate About

Image Credit: Ashley Jacobs

The main reason I got into business was to do my part to help solve a problem that I’m very passionate about. Each year, close to 3 million animals in shelters across the United States are euthanized, so my business is my way of helping to reduce that number. Sitting for a Cause is about pet sitting that gives back and we use part of the funds we earn taking care of animals who have homes to help animals who need homes. We donate 50% of the site profits we earn from our service fees to animal rescues and shelters, helping them obtain the resources needed to care for, transfer, and place their adoptable pets in loving homes.

Thanks to Ashley Jacobs, Sitting for a Cause!

#11 – Didn’t Want a Real Job

Image Credit: Tyler Benedict

I became an entrepreneur because I didn’t want to get a real job. I’d had them, including working for my dad with potential for taking over the family business, but it just wasn’t for me. I made a terrible employee, and I wanted control of my time. My freedom is the most important reason why I work for myself. I’d rather be poor and free than trade my time for money. Fortunately, I’ve found my niche that’s afforded plenty of travel and great times while also paying the bills and letting me hire several full time people.

Thanks to Tyler Benedict, BikeRumor.com!

#12 – Learned How to Create Value That I was Rewarded for

Image Credit: Matthew Walrath

The number one reason I got into entrepreneurship is because I learned how to create value early in life, and was rewarded for it. It was a cycle of reinforcement- from getting paid to do yard work for my parents and neighbors, to the personal training business I started in college, and now with my nutrition coaching company, Beyond Macros, I have leveraged my time to provide value to other people and make money in the process. It was a no brainer for me to stay on the entrepreneurial path vs. being an employee!

Thanks to Matthew Walrath, Beyond Macros!

#13 – Never Intended It

Image Credit: Monica Ortiz

I never intended to start the business I’m in now. But from as early as my 20’s, I was always being approached for advice. Coworkers, friends, friends of friends, friends of coworkers, etc. would come to me and ask me for advice on situations going on in their romantic relationships, family relationships, careers, friendships, and so on. Always wanting to see others happy and being compassionate to their problems, I would always sit down, really think about their issue, and give the best advice I could. I did this while I was a financial analyst, and later on after I switched careers and became an award-winning Hollywood Producer. As I continued helping, I realized that there were many patterns and common pitfalls that people faced in their lives, no matter how much they made, what job they had, or what background they came from. It was always very rewarding to watch the people who I had helped change their lives for the better. And finally in 2013, at the urging of many of my clients, I published my first book to try and reach more people to do it on a bigger scale. This led to lectures at places around the country including Stanford University, and then in 2016 I founded my school – Exceptional Life Institute – to continue to teach the tools that have helped so many people improve their relationships, achieve their career goals, and create a more successful and happy lifestyle.

Thanks to Monica Ortiz, Exceptional Life Institute!

#14 – Transform the Health of Women

Image Credit: Dr. Jamie Hardy

The #1 reason I got into entrepreneurship is so that I can help to transform the health of women all around the globe. As a board certified pharmacist I am a healer and have traditionally served patients and their families within the walls of the hospital. Over my 13 year career as a clinical pharmacist, I have cared for thousands of patients. My goal however is to personally impact the lives of 1 million women and help them to design the life of great health they have been dreaming of. Entrepreneurship is allowing me to be of service to women as they make over their lifestyle to be fit, fabulous, and fulfilled without prescribed pills. Because of my business endeavors I am blessed to be living my purpose. Through entrepreneurship I am breaking geographical barriers and providing life changing content to women in places near and far through books, videos, and online events.

Thanks to Dr. Jamie Hardy, The Lifestyle Pharmacist!

#15 – More Time with My Daughter

Image Credit: Melisa Alaba

I know many people go into business because they want to make more money or bring a new solution to the market. But when I embarked into entrepreneurship in 1996 it was because I wanted more time with my daughter. She was two years old and she adored her babysitter. It broke my heart when I picked her up each day. She did not want to leave her home. I realized then how important quality time was and that I needed to figure out a way to have more of it. So I quickly sat down and figured out the skills I had and how I could turn it into a home based business. My first business was a home daycare. Over the years I have owned and operated; an online gift shop, rental properties, holistic therapy practice and now a women’s networking organization( Eliza Mary Global Network). My oldest daughter is now 21 years old and she will tell you that mom has always been present while supporting her growth and development. Yes, developing a business is a lot of work upfront but once you master systems and processes you definitely have more control of your time. Having my own business has given me the freedom to be an engaging mom and pursue interests that I enjoy.

Thanks to Melisa Alaba, Eliza Mary Global Network!

#16 – Enjoy Challenges

Image Credit: Bob Ellis

I got into entrepreneurship because I enjoy challenges. I have found the most rewarding experiences in my life have been ones in which I had to overcome a significant hurdle. Success tastes much sweeter after you have struggled and had to work past obstacles in order to achieve your goals. While every job has its challenges, it goes to another level when you are an entrepreneur. You have so many responsibilities you have to balance including payroll, marketing, sales, customer service, and human resources. You have to assemble a team that can execute your vision. Being an entrepreneur can be a whirlwind of emotions. It can be exciting, nerve wrecking, and intimidating all in the same moment. You often go through periods of self-doubt, not sure if what you are doing is right. However, this what makes the journey so much fun. Every day you are faced with obstacles and it’s your job to find a solution. Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty…I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.” I couldn’t agree more. This is the reason why I decided to become an entrepreneur.

Thanks to Bob Ellis, Massage Tables Now!

Why did you get into entrepreneurship? Let us know in the comments below!

About Gresham Harkless Jr.

Profile photo of Gresham Harkless Jr.
Gresham Harkless is a Media Consultant for Blue 16 Media and the Blogger-in-Chief for CEO Blog Nation. CEO Blog Nation is a community of blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners. Started in much the same way as most small businesses, CEO Blog Nation captures the essence of entrepreneurship by allowing entrepreneurs and business owners to have a voice. CEO Blog Nation provides news, information, events and even startup business tips for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners to succeed.
  • Quite frankly, I started my own business for the freedom and because I wanted to call my own shots in regards to when, who, where and how I ran my business. I simply wanted to answer to no one other than myself for the good and the bad. Best decision I ever made.

    • ceoblognation

      Great decision!

  • Ronan Leonard

    I’m still not 100% sure of the difference between an Entrepreneur and a business owner to be honest. I worked for big companies (2nd largest cruise line in the world) and got disenchanted with how little they cared for their staff. I’ve run businesses for 13 years (business owner) but recently set up a mastermind portal to help other entrepreneurs get support and advice. I wanted to find and search for MM groups but there was no 1 place for this. It was something that I could not find anywhere else so I built http://www.eccountability.io to solve my own frustration. Which I think now makes me an entrepreneur 🙂

    • ceoblognation

      Entrepreneurs seem to want to scale on a bigger level in my opinion. I also feel like their ideas are more unique than a business owner.

      • Ronan Leonard

        Thanks that makes sense. In the 5 hour work week Tim Ferris gives the technical answer to Entrepreneur but I think the definition has now changed over the past decade certainly.

        • ceoblognation

          Interesting. I read the book but can’t remember what he said as the definition. I definitely think it has evolved especially because being an “entrepreneur” is a sought after skill even for people that work for companies.

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