There's something amazing about solving a problem, creating value for people and sharing your work with the world. The thrill I get from the first paying customer is like the thrill I imagine others get from big-game hunting or hitting the roulette wheel.
Startups are hard. From identifying a problem to solving it to scaling it. But it's worth it.
The economy is changing. Jobs are not as secure as they once were. Software and globalization has made it significantly easier and cheaper to start a business. Here are the biggest reasons why 2015 can be the year you take the leap.
1. Independence and flexible work schedule
As an entrepreneur, you don't have a boss telling you when, where, or how to work, or what to work on.
If independence is what you desire, you might start an online or lifestyle business or a consultancy. A venture-backed startup with bold ambitions won't provide you with much independence because you'll be working so much and because you'll have accountability with co-founders and investors. Lifestyle businesses or consultancies probably won't grow to be huge, but they often don't have to require much time commitment, and can provide great flexibility and cash flow.
2. Help people and society
Some people have goals of solving an important problem, such as educating people, providing people with clean drinking water, or providing more sustainable energy sources. Businesses can provide huge advances to society and the products and services they provide can help people tremendously. By law, a business cannot force it's customers to buy it's product(s) or service(s). People buy things that are of value to them. The only organization that is legally permitted to force people to give them money is the government. As a business, you will have customers only if you provide value.
Some entrepreneurs may be motivated to help people by creating jobs. According to Business Insider, Walmart employs about two million people. The wages Walmart employees earn can be used to raise their kids, or buy things that make them happy such as food, a home, or a ticket to the movies.
Other entrepreneurs may be motivated to simply help a given customer segment. Sticking with the Walmart example - the company provides goods to its customers that they have demand for. Customers buy the goods because they have value for them.
Furthermore, Walmart is able to supply many of these goods at lower prices than other places people would be forced to buy these goods from if Walmart did not exist. So not only is Walmart providing people with goods that they want; they are also able to save them money. The money people save can be used to buy other goods and services that will make them happier and/or help them make more money.
3. Make money
Some people start companies because they want to make a ton of money. Starting a business can certainly be a great opportunity to make money. Your business can help you make money by providing you with cash flow through profits and/or a lump sum if you sell the equity you have in the business. While it may be somewhat taboo to admit that you desire lots of money, money is required to live a healthy and happy lifestyle and a business provides you with the opportunity to make a lot of it.
4. Enjoy your work
Some people want to work on tasks and projects they enjoy. The same way an employee would choose a profession that they enjoy doing, an entrepreneur could start a business that will entail work that they enjoy doing. For example, if an employee enjoys teaching he could get a job at a school. Or that same person could become self-employed by teaching online or starting an independent in-person tutoring business.
5. You could lose your job
Jobs may not be as safe as you think. A few of the bad things about jobs are (as provided by best selling author and entrepreneur James Altucher):
"Your income has been going down versus inflation; The trend is that you are about to get fired and you are in denial about that; You can't build wealth at the job (expenses, taxes, exploitation, etc.); You're trapped all day long with these people (your forced "friends") who are backstabbing you; You have to kiss ass to your boss; You aren't allowed to build other income streams in most cases; And many more."
Because of the risk of losing your job, you may want to start a business on the side so that you are prepared if it happens, or so that you can quit your job and escape the risk of losing your job.
6. Learn new skills
As an entrepreneur you have to wear many different hats - design, sales, recruiting, accounting, copywriting, etc. Inevitably you will end up learning more new skills such as SEO or furnishing an office than you would at a regular job. Not only is learning is fun and good for your brain, but it can help you make more money and accomplish other goals.
7. Gain new life experiences
As an entrepreneur, you can experience new things such as being a leader, getting rejected, working your ass off, success, uncertainty, risk, and more. New experiences are fun and they help you develop as a person.
8. Getting rejected is good for you
Getting rejected sucks. But it makes you stronger and less afraid of it happening again. As a result, you can push yourself and accomplish more in business and in any aspect of life than you could have before. You can be better equipped to handle any adversities that may come your way in the future. You can't get anywhere without trying.
9. Change the world
Solving a big problem and/or serving a large population can have a big impact on the world. For example, Elon Musk's company, Hyperloop, aims to change transportation. Airbnb is changing real estate and hospitality.
10. Build something you want to use
As an entrepreneur you can solve a problem you have, or supply something you have demand for. You may have experienced a problem you want solved so badly that you take action to solve it, like waiting in line at the DMV. You might want a particular product so badly that you decide to start a company so that you can supply it.
11. Be leader
Leadership is a great skill to develop for both personal and professional reasons. Some people find it fun to lead. In starting a business, you will have to display some leadership, especially if you will be managing a team or working with partners.
12. Be creative
Starting and growing a company requires a lot of creative thought. Some people enjoy being creative and may use their business as a creative outlet. Entrepreneurship requires creative skills like copywriting, design, marketing, strategy, design, product management, and user experience. Compared to jamming on spreadsheets in a cubicle all day, being creative and be quite liberating.
13. Think strategically
Running a business requires a lot of strategic thought. It's almost like playing a game of chess. Except more risky. So maybe more like poker. Some people like that sort of thing. I do.
14. Earn passive income
Businesses come in many different shapes and sizes. Making even $500 per month is great if it doesn't cost a lot of time or money. You could still have time to work a full-time job. It's easier then you think to monetize assets and make money online. If you build up enough automated income you could get paid to travel.
15. You can't get a job
This may not be the best reason to start a company, but still, it's a reason. The reality is, jobs aren't as easy to come by as they once were. Now, competition for jobs is more fierce than ever, as a significantly higher percentage of the population has a college degree, the economy's not in the best shape it's ever been in, and jobs are being automated by software and robots or outsourced to different countries.
16. Get stronger
The hard work, stress, and risk tolerance that entrepreneurship requires makes you stronger. Succeeding makes you stronger, too. It gives you confidence and, of course, money, which can be used to make yourself even stronger and more happy.
17. Take control of your time
As an entrepreneur, you have some control over how you spend your time. To be successful you will probably have to do some things you don't want to, or do things on a certain schedule. But at least you have some choice. Want to go in late on Monday? Want to work from your beach house? Those are possibilities.
18. Take control of your thoughts
As an entrepreneur, you have some control over what you work on. What you work on, of course, affects what you think about.
19. Take control of your future
At a job, you're dependent on the company's health, your boss, maybe even financial market conditions, and many more factors outside of your control. As an entrepreneur, you're still dependent on outside factors, but in many respects you have more control.
20. Be your own boss
You're not being told what to do, except maybe by your customers or investors, but not always. And it's your choice to listen. As an employee, you don't have complete control over who your boss it. As an entrepreneur, you do have control over who your boss is. In fact, you can be your own boss.
21. Create for yourself instead of someone else
Selling your own products or services instead of someone else's could potentially be more rewarding monetarily. A company hires an employee because they believe it will be profitable to do so. It will be profitable to do so if the employee helps the company earn more money than the company pays the employee.
22. It's fun
Marketing, strategy, sales, building products, figuring out how to solve problems - many people find these activities enjoyable and fun.
23. Build something
Instead of following a process or being a cog in a wheel, you're creating something and writing the process. Working at a big company often means completing tasks that are given to you by your employer. As an entrepreneur, you need to figure out what work needs to get done, and play a large part in making it happen.
24. Meet awesome people
As an entrepreneur, you will probably interact with customers, investors, other entrepreneurs, employees, partners, etc. Perhaps these people could become friends, future spouses, or just be fun to talk with.
25. Retire early
If you make a lot of money early you may be able to retire early. Hard to do, but still. Most jobs are more stable but have less upside.
26. It's hard
Being challenged is a good thing. The challenge can make you stronger for other aspects of life. The feeling of pushing through and accomplishing something that you weren't sure you could is motivating
27. Be diversified
If you have multiple products or businesses, you're less dependent on any one customer, industry, job, boss, income source, etc. You could have a full-time job and start a small business on the side. That's a little diversification. Diversification is a classic investment strategy designed to mitigate risk and increase the chances of finding a winner.
People decide to start companies for many different reasons. There are many different benefits of being an entrepreneur. Different types of business have different benefits.
Above are my favorite reasons to start a business in 2015. There are probably many more. Not all of these benefits apply to every business. Some benefits apply to some types of businesses and not others. You should consider what benefits are most important to you when deciding what kind of business idea to pursue.
To learn more about starting a business, check out Where Startup Ideas Come from on Amazon.