Recently, I had a conversation with a prospective client that made it clear why so many employees are leaving their corporate jobs to start a business. After working for the same company for ten years, her position was eliminated at the start of COVID. Subsequently, she was re-hired into a lower-level role that she describes as, well, less than challenging. Not only is the company culture toxic, but her boss expects her to work 60 hours a week consistently. As the primary breadwinner in the household with a toddler at home, her mental and physical health is starting to suffer. So, the question is, how do companies expect to retain employees like this?
It’s no wonder that a recent survey conducted by Digital.com revealed that 32% of Americans are quitting their jobs to start a business. Earlier this year, Associate Professor Anthony Klotz of Texas A&M University predicted a “Great Resignation” would be the next challenge for American companies. And Meyer Feldberg, Associate Professor of Business at Columbia Business School, recently said, “We have reached a pivotal moment for employers to stick with the status quo and risk losing 30% of their workers or to reinvent how they do work.”
Here are five compelling reasons why employees are deciding to quit to start a business:
Reason #1: “I want to be my own boss”
If you’re already working 60 hours a week doing a job you hate, why not start a business and use that time to build your own dream? That’s what many workers are asking themselves. Being your own boss isn’t easy, but it does give you more control over your career. Once you are free of the nine to five grind, the world becomes a lot less tedious, and you get to call the shots. It’s also a great way to step outside your comfort zone and realize your self-worth.
Reason #2: “I want to do something I’m passionate about”
Let’s face it—it can be challenging to get truly excited about selling computer processors or being an accounting clerk. What gets people motivated about going to work every day is doing something they are passionate about. If you decide to start a business solely to make money, you’ll be less likely to stick with it when times get tough. And the good news is that no matter what your passion is, you can find a way to apply those skills and ideas to a business idea. As the saying goes, follow your dreams, or you’ll end up working for someone who did.
Reason #3: “I want more flexibility”
The desire for flexibility is another reason people are quitting to start a business. While being your own boss doesn’t necessarily translate to working fewer hours, you will be able to control when and where you work. You can create a schedule that works for you, which can be especially important if you have children. True flexibility also means being able to make ongoing adjustments as your business evolves and your priorities shift.
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Reason #4: “I want to build real wealth”
While you want the bedrock of your business to be a real passion for what you do, many people start a business dreaming of financial comfort. Getting a new company off the ground is challenging, but if you stick with it, financial independence can become a reality. Unlike working for someone else, there’s no limit to how lucrative your venture can be. Starting your own business also has several financial benefits over working for someone else. For one thing, you’re building an enterprise that has growth potential, and your business is a valuable asset. As your business grows, it increases in value. Then at some point, you can either decide to hand it down to to family members or sell it for a profit. If you aspire to build wealth, there’s no reason why you can’t achieve that goal.
Reason #5: “I want to fill a need in my community”
According to the Digital.com survey, 52% of respondents stated that they wanted to quit to start a business so they could fill a need in their community. One of the most fulfilling parts of becoming an entrepreneur is creating a company for social gain. You can support non-profit organizations or charities with your profits. One example is the handbag company State Bags. Their giving initiatives include donating fully packed backpacks to schoolchildren at their signature bag drop rallies and special projects with partner charities and schools. Then there’s sock company, Bombas. For every pair of socks purchased, the company donates a specially designed pair to a homeless shelter. To date, Bombas has donated more than 50 million pairs to more than 3,500 giving partners in the US.
If you are thinking about being your own boss, there is no time like the present. So, seize the opportunity by starting small but dreaming big!