Every entrepreneur has a different story when it comes to what made him or her finally take the leap into launching that first business.

For some, it’s a choice made in hopes of finding more freedom and flexibility. For others, it’s an opportunity to grow and challenge themselves beyond what they can do in a normal job.

We wanted to hear some real stories from different entrepreneurs to see what it was that made them finally take the leap at start their own business journeys.

Let’s see what they had to say.

A Natural Transition

Jacob McMillen entered the workforce between the Enron/Worldcom era during economic downturn, and had zero faith in the corporate career track. So, his goal was to learn a skill that would let him dictate his own fate. Internet marketing seemed viable, so he got hired by an SEO agency, and within two years, narrowed his niche down to copywriting.

“A few months later, I dove into full-time freelancing and have never looked back. Running my own solo business provides me with the variety of activities I need to stay engaged, allows me to dictate my own income, and provides me with a completely flexible schedule. At some point, I might look at productizing, scaling, and pursuing obscene amounts of money, but for now, I'm happy making middle-manager level income working part time hours,” he said.

Changing Life Stages

When Courtney Westlake had her first child, she put her toes in the water with freelancing. She had been doing it on the side in conjunction with her full-time job, but wasn’t sure she was ready to make the leap. “On paper, it looked scary,” she said. “The numbers just didn't add up to complete our budgetary needs.” But once she quit her full-time job in 2009, she was amazed at how the opportunities kept coming.

“My situation has fluctuated wildly over the years with the birth of our daughter with special needs, but last year, working an average of 15 hours a week while being the primary caretaker of my kids nearly made up for the 40-hour-a-week salary I walked away from. This year was a growth year for me, but I anticipate greatly increasing that income in 2017,” she said.

Feeling Things Out

Videographer Josh Hester of The Storyteller Studios transitioned into entrepreneurship slowly and carefully. He met with a few freelance clients and other entrepreneurs to talk candidly about what he was considering—and he asked for their advice.

“Everyone was enthusiastic and supportive. I had a few ‘pledges of support,’ you could say, and it made the leap a little less scary. Of course, the first few months were still completely weird, but also thrilling. We're happy our market has found value in the work over time. There are many long days and short nights, but I find it more rewarding than anything else I've done in my career. We continue to learn as we go, but there's no doubt in my mind that making the leap to owning my own business was the right decision,” he said.

Tired of Doing the Legwork For Someone Else

Ben Jensen worked for three companies before starting his own business. At each company, he would perform well, quickly work his way up into management, and then find himself underwhelmed by the compensation. With the amount of money he was bringing in for these companies, the compensation just didn't make sense.

And even though he was earning handsome commissions, at the end of the day, the people who launched the companies he was working for were the ones making the big money.

So, he eventually decided it wasn't worth it to work 40 hours a week just to make someone else rich. “My boss could have cut my commission at any point and there would have been nothing I could do about it,” he said. “So I decided to control my own future and take a risk.”

The Leap Happens for Many Reasons, But Can Be a Smart Decision

For these business owners, taking the leap and starting a business turned out to be a smart choice. Is this always the case? No. Sometimes, businesses fail, and people regret their decision to leave their stable jobs.

However, these risk-takers found that taking this leap came with a major reward. They’re enjoying their freedom, earnings, and ability to challenge themselves more every day.

What made you finally take the leap? We’d love to hear your story.