“As an entrepreneur, you have to be OK with failure. If you’re not failing, you’re likely not pushing yourself hard enough.” –Alexa von Tobel

Being The Boss Is Definitely Not A Good Reason To Start A Business

Abhishek Shah
5 min readFeb 4, 2020

People are motivated by various reasons to start their own businesses, such as getting rich, escaping the corporate rat-race, being their own bosses, working shorter hours, or controlling their own destinies. However, these motivations are based on gross misunderstandings of what is needed to start and run a business.

An important part of a successful business is that it should not be dependent upon any one person or a small subset of employees. Many entities exist that are called businesses where this is not the case, and the business is more like a job for the entrepreneur.

Other jobs are low risk, but these job-businesses require the owners to spend their own money, time, and effort to create a job for themselves. If the owner does not want to do the job anymore, the company has absolutely no value; it ceases to exist. In a true business, the owner builds equity value; the entity has the value that is separate from the owner. Eventually, the owner can leave the business or sell it and get value for it.

Many people who start businesses do not understand the basic difference between a job and a business until it is too late. Besides their technical skills, entrepreneurs have to know how to market to attract customers, manage employees, oversee payroll, deal with vendors and suppliers, and organize tax payments. The reality is that, when entrepreneurs open businesses, their job is to run the business, usually working more hours and making less money than when they were employed elsewhere.

Some employees in companies might be dissatisfied with the competence of their superiors and dream of owning their own businesses in which they can be better at “being the boss.” What they fail to recognize is that a new company is only successful if it attends to the needs of its customers, its employees, its capital partners, and in some cases its franchisor. In essence, these are the entrepreneurs’ new bosses. There are more people still to answer, including landlords, vendors, regulatory organizations, and taxing bodies. Those who want to become entrepreneurs must realize that they will not have much freedom to be their own bosses. “Being the boss” is probably not a good reason to want to start a business.

[Also Read: Answering Why: Unleashing Passion, Purpose, and Performance in Younger Generations]

Some would-be entrepreneurs are motivated by ego. They want to control their own destinies in an effort to protect their egos from on-the-job rejections. However, whatever rejections they are trying to avoid are usually exacerbated when running their own businesses with their own money on the line. Others are guided by ego because they want to impress other people. They anticipate that starting a new business will spark an exciting new life.

Additionally, there are those who are inspired by revenge to be entrepreneurs in order to prove someone else is wrong and that they are better than others may have thought. An additional group of people who are motivated by ego are those who are always told by others that they are “so smart” or they have a “great business idea.” There is nothing wrong with having people encourage entrepreneurs, but entrepreneurs must separate their egos from the decision process, and determine if the advice being offered comes from people who know what they are talking about. Prospective entrepreneurs must remember that business and ego do not mix.

Another misconception about business is that the business idea itself is valuable. Unfortunately, the business ideas behind businesses are not worth anything. Extracting value does not come from developing an idea for a business, but from turning the idea into a real business through hard work. Also, get-rich-quick schemes rarely are successful, because, in business, real work is required to realize real riches. Business ideas only become successful businesses if they meet actual customer needs in a way that can make money.

[Also Read: Ideas, Influence, and Income: Write a Book, Build Your Brand, and Lead Your Industry]

Some people try to make a bit of extra money with a jobbie, which is a hobby disguised as a business. Rarely does a jobbie earn enough to support the entrepreneur, although it can be a good alternative for some entrepreneurs who want to satisfy personal wants without taking on a lot of risks or who want to evaluate a business area before making a large commitment?

Many entrepreneurs want to start a business so they can pursue their hobbies full-time. People like their hobbies specifically because they are not working, and they can be done during leisure time with no worry about producing an income from them. Hobbyists are often naïve about the reality of running a business focused on the hobby and dealing with problems, such as paying salaries, covering costs, dealing with logistics and delays, and other business-related issues. Sometimes the hobby’s niche is just too small to support a business.

[Also Read: Learning to Lead: The Journey to Leading Yourself, Leading Others, and Leading an Organization]

Some people want to start their own business because they are loners and do not like working with other people. However, businesses do not work with only one person. Entrepreneurs must interact with customers, investors, advisors, professional service providers, and others.

Whatever the motivation for starting a business, the business will only be successful if it is driven by a market need rather than a void in the business owner’s life.

Also Read:

  1. 5 Dirty Little Secrets of Entrepreneurship: The things they don’t tell you about what happens after you quit your 9 to 5.
  2. 25 Hours a Day: Going One More to Get What You Want
  3. Entrepreneurship: Personal Qualities That Can Lead You To Entrepreneurial Success
  4. The A-Game Marketing And Sales Manual: Practical Strategies To Improve Marketing And Sales
  5. Never Startup Alone: Internalize the concepts. Execute with confidence.


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Abhishek Shah

Nomad | Early Stage Investor | Wannabe Anthropologist | Technology Evangelist | Curious, Inquisitive & Experimental Entrepreneur