Going into business for yourself is an experience unlike anything you’ve likely encountered working a 9-5 office job. You take the leap into entrepreneurship and find yourself on a roller coaster of highs and lows — so why do people do it?

We wanted to find out what being an entrepreneur really means to the people who are doing it. What drives small business owners to strike out on their own and what keeps them going through the tough times?

That’s why we asked nine experienced small biz owners what entrepreneurship means to them — here’s what they had to say.


One of the more common themes we found in the responses was that people love all the flexibility that comes with owning your own business. Maryam Henein of HoneyColony noted that she enjoys her freedom to be a wanderer:

Entrepreneurship means freedom. I’m a digital nomad and owning a startup allows me to embrace my inner gypsy. I can work from anywhere as long as I have a Wi-Fi connection.

Casey Meraz, founder of Juris Digital, echoed her sentiment:

"An added benefit to being in a digital business is the freedom to work from anywhere. Whether it's a beach, a different country, or just at home with my family, being an entrepreneur gives me the flexibility I desire to be happy."

Whether it’s schedule flexibility or the ability to work from anywhere in the world, it’s definitely a huge perk to being your own boss.

Freedom to Pursue Your Vision

An overwhelming majority of small business owners cited the freedom to pursue their own vision and create something truly great as a big driving factor. When asked What does entrepreneurship mean to you? Lauryn Williams of Worth Winning said,

"It means passionately pursuing a project that you feel the world could benefit from. When you are selling something sometimes people think only about the money but truly believing you have something that fits a need is the spirit of entrepreneurship."

Elizabeth Venafro, Cofounder & Managing Partner of True Exec, added:

Entrepreneurship represents the opportunity to make something from nothing. There are no rules and no limitations. You set your own boundaries.

Serial entrepreneur Ross Simmonds of Crate talked about the alluring effect of being able to literally make your own dreams come true.

"Entrepreneurship is the ability to turn dreams into realities. Regardless of how small your business may be or how massive it grows to become — entrepreneurship offers you the ability to create something that impacts lives and to me, that's powerful."

Being the Decision Maker

According to a Cox Business survey, over 50% of small business owners go into business to be their own boss. This trend was definitely reflected in what we heard from entrepreneurs.

Just listen to Travis Bennett, Managing Director of Studio Digita:

"To me, entrepreneurship is all about taking control of your own destiny. You get to spend every day working in a business you love, and enjoy every minute of it. My favorite part is having the freedom to pick and choose the projects our agency takes on, which was also a big factor behind starting my own business."

When it comes to decision-making in the corporate world, there can be barriers that hinder innovation and creative problem-solving. Alex Reichmann of iTestCash loves being able to call the shots:

One of my favorite aspects of owning a business is having creative control over how I run it. As a business owner, if there is ever an opportunity to grow or improve my business, it can be done without needing anyone's approval.

Seeing Hard Work Reflected in Income

There are some jobs where your income is more closely tied to performance than others, but for the most part, corporate life can make it hard to really see the fruits of your labor reflected in your salary.

Carrie Simpson, founder of Managed Sales Pros, loves that her take-home pay is directly aligned with her effort and hard work:

Every day is different, every day is exciting, every day brings a new problem to solve and of course, my income is reflected in the success of the business — the harder I work, the smarter I work, the more rewarding entrepreneurship becomes.

There’s nothing like a little extra change in your pocket to keep you motivated and passionate about work.

Being an Inspiration

We also heard a few responses that we didn’t expect. There are so many benefits to entrepreneurship that we never even think about — that’s why I love talking with small business owners.

Shefit founder Sara Marie Moylan loves the way running her own business affects her daughters and their aspirations:

"My daughters keep me going, seeing the passion in which they embrace the entrepreneurial lifestyle. Last year, my 12-year old started a business, and she made over $1,200! Our eight-year old just asked for a logo for her plant-watering business. I think it is so important for my girls to see me doing this."

It looks like the benefits of entrepreneurship aren’t just felt by small business owners themselves — they could be changing the way the next generation thinks about work and careers.

What does entrepreneurship mean to you?

From being your own boss to inspiring your kids, there are plenty of reasons why being an entrepreneur is a crazy, amazing ride. If you’re thinking about starting your own business, you now have plenty of good reasons, so go ahead and make the jump.

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Entrepreneurs: What does owning your own business mean to you? Tell us in the comments below or on Twitter @Grasshopper.