Each business has a story. No matter if the business is a Goliath like Wal-Mart, or a local business owned by a couple or family, the business has roots in an idea. For each business owner, the story of their journey can range from monetary needs or the passion for a unique project. Each story is different though the reasons may be the same. No matter the tale, the background behind each and every business is what fuels each and brand.
We asked some entrepreneurs and business owners, why they started their businesses:
#1- I had to
I think I had to. Whether on an awkward first date, or meeting a stranger on a train, I’ve always been pulled to helping other people create the life they want. I’ve always had a desire to free people from a bad job or relationship, to help them be happier. So I suppose it was only a matter of time before I turned this desire to help, my passion, into something professional.
Thanks to Dan Johnston,Dreams Around The World!
#2- Provide solution to a problem
My business partner – Anton and I started Fantastic Services as a solution to a problem. At the time when we met, at a party, I needed a professional to remove a red wine stain from my cream carpet and Anton was running a cleaning company. We started talking and quickly realised that the UK was lacking high quality and professional domestic services. We knew right away that we were the people who could deliver. We saw an opportunity and set up our business a few days later with just a laptop and 2 mobile phones. Anton already had experience in the cleaning business, so that’s where our journey began. Over the years, we discovered that UK homeowners and tenants needed more domestic services which we added to our portfolio as and when there was a demand. And now, 8 years later, Fantastic Services has become a multi-national, multi-operational company working in the UK, Australia, and the US. We are the one-stop-shop for every home’s needs.
Thanks to Rune Sovndahl, Fantastic Services!
#3- Switch from Desperate Housewife to Mom Entrepreneur
I wanted to switch from Desperate Housewife to MomEntrepreneur I started my own business in April 2015 when my children were 9 months and 2.5 yo. The first reason was to have more money in order to pay for my oldest’s school. However, the more I got into the entrepreneur journey, the more I realized that my deepest Why was to get the a free mind from my husband and from the job hunt. Now, I wake every morning being so grateful that I only rely on me for my financial freedom and my social recognition.
Thanks to Karen Mauriat, Creativ’ Craft!
#4- Help people in their time of need
We started our online lending platform because we wanted to really help people in their time of need. It can be difficult being approved for a loan, especially if you have bad credit. Situations like auto repairs and emergency pet needs can be extremely stressful, and this stress can mount when someone doesn’t have the funds to cover it. We created a lending platform that especially helps those with bad credit, allowing them to quickly be approved for loans during their time of need.
Thanks to Matt Collins, Loans Now!
#5- Break the 9 to 5 Cycle
There are many reasons I started my business but one of the main reason is I wanted to break the 9 to 5 cycle. I wanted to work on my own terms and not on the terms of an employer. I realize working 9 to 5 everyday I became very complacent and the work became very monotonous. As a business owner, I am able to try new things, new technology, take risks and work with different industries. I make all decisions on the projects I take on and create my own schedule every day. Do not get me wrong, being a business owner has its ups and downs but I am grateful for the freedom.
Thanks to Cerila Gailliard, Orchestrating Your Success!
#6- It was my dream
Starting my own business was something I always dreamed of doing and would’ve regretted not giving myself that opportunity. I grew up in a, “take no chances,” lower middle-class world, in which you were praised for “starting in the mail room,” and “working your way up.” I found both concepts admirable and strove to do the same. However, along the way, I realized that those who continued at this incremental growth/linear growth rate will work until they’re 80. I’ve watched my own, hardworking parents, suffer this plight – as did their parents before them. So, I bucked my upbringing and thumbed my nose at then-conventional wisdom. I knew that the plunge would be one that I could only take once and regardless of win, lose, fail, succeed, prosper or falter, I would never regret trying.
Thanks to Marilyn Weinstein, Vivo!
#7- Offer to quit my then job
Why I started my business:It all started when I got offered $1M at a lunch to quit my job at Facebook and pursue this idea. I had been talking about what is now Reelgood for years, and my mentor finally told me, you need to stop talking and actually do something about this. I committed to building a prototype before Christmas. That same mentor introduced me to our very first investor, and when I met him for lunch and showed him the prototype, he offered $1M in investment. I decided to make the leap, because it was a problem I couldn’t stop thinking about fixing. What I tell other aspiring entrepreneurs is to put your idea through the shower test—if you think about how to fix it, even in the shower, then it’s something you’re going to stay committed to throughout the tough timesof starting a business.
Thanks to David Sanderson, Reelgood!
#8- From my father
It didn’t start from the passion of wanting to create my own business. It all started from my father. I was going to law school during the time of his cancer diagnosis and when he passed away. Before the end of law school, it woke me up and all of the innate desires about inventing came rushing back, I went back into engineering in Boston for biotech companies and then jump started the passion into my own venture for finding cures for rare cancers and diseases.
Thanks to Reginald Swift, Rubix LS!
#9- People, Planet, and Profit
Conceived in my Princeton dorm room, TerraCycle’s original business model of worm poop fertilizer was like a lightbulb going on in my head: we could take the school’s food waste, feed it to worms, get beautiful worm poop, and sell it. And instead of buying the bottles we needed (with the no money we had), we’d reuse used plastic soda bottles to serve as the product’s packaging: a profitable product made entirely out of garbage. But then, I found myself wondering: What if we tried to eliminate the idea of waste? **TerraCycle’s current “sponsored waste” business model allows us to circumvent the economic limitations of municipal recycling and create new infrastructures for regenerative waste solutions. Working with companies paying to solve for their difficult-to-recycle product and packaging waste lets us make the previously unrecyclable nationally recyclable and break ground in new categories along the way, all the while working for people, planet and profit.
Thanks to Tom Szaky, TerraCycle!
#10- Live and die by my own decisions
I was working for an industrial supply company in the early 2000s and I had just turned 30. I thought to myself: ‘My time will run out soon’. My wife thought I was having a mid-life crisis. I really wanted to live and die by my own decisions, not the say-so of a corporate giant. Then, I read the former English rugby union coach Clive Woodward’s autobiography ‘Winning’ which is full of stories about managing people, teams and performance. It really inspired me – I wanted to run my own company. There were 12 months of planning. It began with visiting the big four banks, to be told by three of them that the business wasn’t viable. When one finally said yes and I had some funding, I took the leap of faith.
Thanks to Alex Ingham, MI Supplies!
#11- Flexibility to work from anywhere and remove the cap on our potential income
My partner and I originally started a business for all the classic “selfish” reasons – we wanted to follow our own path, we wanted the flexibility to work from anywhere, we wanted to remove the cap on our potential income. I live in Abu Dhabi with my wife, and we wanted the freedom to travel frequently. My partner Denise lives outside of Philadelphia, and wanted more flexibility to be there for her children and grandchildren. We put together a solid business plan, worked through our competitive advantages, hired the vendors we needed. But as the months dragged by and we ran into obstacle after obstacle (as happens in entrepreneurship), our initial enthusiasm and energy started flagging. We began to realize that our goals had to be about more than just lifestyle design. We started to re-orient how we framed the business, even in our own minds: it had to be about helping other people. Our focus shifted to how we can help others create passive income from rental properties, the way we had. We would still provide all the support products and services, but to us it became about making sure our subscribers and clients saw success with their rental properties, even if they had no experience. To make that happen, we started offering a free mini-course on passive income from rentals, and started instituting one-on-one phone calls to follow up with every single customer. It’s made a huge difference; we still have frustrating days of course, but having a motivation outside of yourself helps get you through the days when you think “It would be much easier to just clock into a job than do this!”
Thanks to G. Brian Davis, SparkRental!
#12- Create something special
I started my business in 2010 while Maui was still in the throes of the Great Recession. Out of sheer necessity, I was thrust into the world of vacation rental management. I had just taken ownership of a new condo that I had purchased pre-construction during the boom years and I needed to do whatever I could to maximize its ROI. As I started managing my own property and learned more about the industry I could see that the local luxury vacation rental market was being grossly underserved. I knew that I could create something special if I could figure out a way to bring premium hotel service and consistency to the disjointed and inconsistent world of vacation rentals. After 7 years, we now have over 50 properties under management and we were recently recognized by the Pacific Business News as the 10th fastest growing company in Hawaii. It has taken an extraordinary amount of effort and I have had to hire a lot of great people along the way, but it feels good to know that we have created something that we can say is the best in its class.
Thanks to Chris Geng, Maui Resort Rentals!
#13- Out of discouragement
For 15 years, I volunteered to run the 3000-kid/6-sport MountainTop youth league in NJ. What I saw discouraged me. I saw old operating and fundraising habits that hurt leagues and cut kids off from access to sports. So I convinced my husband, serial entrepreneur Jay Whitehead, to join me and several high-profile VC, sports and tech investors to back me. With that, I created LeagueNetwork.com media. Today, this platform is the easiest, fastest, and highest-yielding crowdfunding platform for team sports out there. It has opened the door to youth sports for kids in my community as well as eliminate the theft that occurs in youth sports that aren’t being monitored.
Thanks to Anne-Sophie, League Network!
#14- Flexibility and freedom to truly help people
I started my Career/Life Coaching business to allow me the flexibility and freedom to truly help people focus on their goals so they can propel to their next level of success while activating their true potential. While working as the head of HR for multiple organizations, I gained insight to what companies and hiring managers really want and need to see from potential candidates or those seeking promotions. I also realized that as employees, we are not empowered to be completely open, candid and honest with candidates for fear of being sued for saying the wrong thing. By starting my own coaching/consulting company, I am now able to hold up the mirror for my clients and help them really see their blind spots. We then partner to improve those areas to help set them up for success. I’m proud to say I have a great track record over the past couple of years since leaving my corporate job and starting my own business. The flexibility and freedom to work when I want and for whom I want can’t be beat!
Thanks to Tana M. Session
#15- Help people in Africa get access to clean water
7 years ago, all that I could think about was getting a six-pack. I was on a strict exercise routine, eating super clean, and trying to drink over a gallon of water per day. As a busy Ph.D. student, I was rarely home and struggled to meet my water intake goal. I had to buy water constantly, which was not the best thing on my student budget. And every time I asked for tap water at restaurants and cafes, people said a flat out No!. So, I started thinking: How is it possible that England has great tap water but I always have to buy water? Boom! The idea was born. I launched GiveMeTap so that people could stay hydrated on-the-go without spending a lot of money. People would buy GiveMeTap reusable bottles and be able to refill them at partner restaurants/cafes without ever being rejected. Since I’m of Ghanaian descent and grew up hearing stories of how my family didn’t have access to water, I decided that GiveMeTap would help people in Africa get access to clean water. For every bottle sold, we give 5 years of clean water to a person in Ghana (we’ve helped people in Namibia and Malawi in the past too!). So far, over 16,000 have got access to clean water through us. So, that’s it! Who would imagine that a mission for great abs would turn into a mission to change lives? By the way, I got it. The six-pack, I mean.
Thanks to Edwin Broni-Mensah, GiveMeTap!
#16- Make changes
Having lost both my parents at a fairly young age, I got an up-close look at the funeral industry. Since then, I’ve been trying to make changes that I feel would benefit not only the environment but the consumer. While working for the past few years to promote the green burial idea and trying to get land set aside in my hometown for a park/green cemetery , I decided to put my money where my mouth was. I worked with the local Small Business Development Center to put a business plan together but then sat on it for a while. I decided to do it one day when I happened to find a beautiful location. I met with the realtor, fell in love with the space and decided to do it!
Thanks to Kerry Potter, Dying to Bloom!
#17- Generate income when times are tough and take time off to focus on our families
As soon as my business partner and I started having kids and growing our families, we realized our cushy jobs were actually incredibly risky. Owning your own business can be highly unpredictable, and we never know when or if we’ll have work coming in, but at least we have a fighting chance to generate income when times are tough, or when we need to take time off to focus on our families for a bit. Essentially we’re setup to create work for ourselves, no matter how big or small the job, based on the needs at hand. When you work for someone else, you’re either working full steam ahead or you’re not working at all, both of which are decided by someone else. That’s a huge risk that keeps income generation ultimately out of your control.
Thanks to Slavik Boyechko, Gear Dads!
#18- Walk away from stress
I’d been working as the Director of Computer Operations for Trader Joe’s for 20 years, and before that the VP of two companies. At Trader Joe’s, I was the point man, meaning I got the calls at midnight, 2am all days of the week when something went wrong. I was the person who stayed up all night to get the team together to get the problems fixed. In 2013, I took a good look at my health and well-being and decided the stress was going to kill me before long. I had plenty of money in retirement to take a chance and pursue my own business goal – to become a professional writer and author. i left, moved t Florida, and never looked back. There’s still stress, but it’s a different kind of stress and much easier to handle.
Thanks to Richard Lowe, The Writing King!