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Why are you doing this?

Being an entrepreneur can be tough. What motivates you? What gets you up in the morning? Why are you doing this?

15 Replies

Jimmy Jacobson
2
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Jimmy Jacobson Entrepreneur
Full Stack Developer and Cofounder at Wedgies.com
I would love to hear what everyone thinks about this.

I've worked at some great companies as an employee. Like Overstock.com and Zappos. 354 days of the year I was happy, challenged and worked with other great people pushing new ideas and products forward. But there was always one day that I dreaded. The annual review. This was the day when my managers would compare me to a checklist that was usually decided upon by the HR department of what made a good software developer. It always seemed to ignore the parts of the projects I was the most proud of.

Hackathons and Startup Weekends were my gateway into Entrepreneurship. I discovered that the things I loved to do had a name and a job description. I do this because my career path isn't to be an engineering manager at a large software organization. Being an entrepreneur gives me the opportunity to develop and use the skills that make me happy. Even when it's really hard.
Brandon White
2
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Brandon White Advisor
CEO of Zeuss, Inc.
It's simple, I can not imagine doing anything else. I love to build things that solve problems and I'll be dead someday and may not get the chance to do it so I take advantage of every waking minute.

The tough part of being an entrepreneur is the fun of it for me. Every day you wake up with an adventure ahead of you, you get a chance to put your head on the pillow at night having possibly made or created something you had no idea about when you woke up. I go to sleep looking forward to waking up.

Once you have been an entrepreneur a while you realize that even the toughest times will pass into good times, the impossible becomes possible because you imagine it. Getting through the tough times is simply about having "courage" and "persistence". Courage is not about not being scared, it's about being scared but doing it anyway. Persistence is about keeping going even when you think you can't. The satisfaction of getting through things far outweighs any of the negatives, at least for me.

Bon Franklin
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Bon Franklin Entrepreneur
Co-Founder of Morphid
Because being busy all the time means I don't have to cope with social awkwardness!

Kind of joking, but workaholism should be kept in check I now recognize.

Real answer, you must be the change you want to see in the world.
Sean McBeth
0
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Sean McBeth Entrepreneur
Chief Technology Officer at Highland Fundraising Solutions, LLC
I tend to rail against the machine when I'm put into a standard corporate environment. I guess I just don't like being told what to do. I'm very skilled at a lot of things that aren't called "showing up on time" or "not being argumentative". So, it's either this, or the soup line.
Ben West
0
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Ben West Entrepreneur
CTO at Health eFilings
Ethics:http://80000hours.org/blog/12-salary-or-startup-how-do-gooders-can-gain-more-from-risky-careers
Eric Sullivan
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Eric Sullivan Entrepreneur
CEO at FoundationLab
Jimmy, my company was built to help entrepreneurs validate and bring products to market by acting not just as dev's and designers but as strategic partners. Which is extremely gratifying. You have someone who is extremely passionate about an idea but lacks a lot of the experience they need which going through the process can take making a lot of mistakes which in turn burns cash. Helping them to alleviate these mistakes and do things right the first time it's a lot of education for them on the fly but is very rewarding throughout the whole process.
Nick Mancusi
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Nick Mancusi Entrepreneur
Designer | Entrepreneur
I can't imagine doing what I do any other way and being happy.

I am a designer - a creative in the truest sense of the word - to me design is the ingredient that makes or breaks products and builds or crumbles societies. To do what I love I need space to think, I need to go around in circles, I need to be able to cut out things that don't work, and introduce items that where never on the table without permission, without hesitation - something that is rarely possible in the confines of most corporate settings. That freedom to do the most with the limited time I have - I love it.

To boot, I'm a horrible employee. I don't play well with typical tasks, I'm still mystified by a photocopier, I have learning disabilities like the rest of us - working for someone is more impossible to me than coming up with an idea for tomorrow that could change the way we live forever. That is just how I see the world. I've only had a few "real" jobs working for someone - other than that I've always either lead or worked with individuals - I prefer it. I like to be in the center of it all.

The ability to have control of what I do, the ability to push my team to give more to society, the opportunity to make sure that everything I do is the best idea, the best design that can be delivered without the fetters of someone else's rules is what gets me going everyday. I wake up with a new idea and I have the power to turn that idea into a reality, to change the way people live, to go out on a limb and take big risks and there is nothing holding me back, but me.
Dimitry Rotstein
1
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Dimitry Rotstein Entrepreneur
Head of R&D at SafeZone
1. Because I tried working at a big company, having an inferior superior, working when THEY want me to, not when I want to, with 14 vacation days a year pending permission... it's just not for me. I was miserable and level-7 depressed all the time. Entrepreneurship is an emotional roller-coaster, they rightfully say, but even at the lowest points I'm no worse than at that big company, except that over there that low was a flat line, rather than a point.

2. Because I hate my neighbors with their barking dogs, booming music, night parties, and petty jerkness (if there isn't such a word there should be). My only hope is a house with no neighbors around, but I can't afford anything like that on a programmer's salary, at least not without seriously lowering my standards of living. I'm not desperate enough to become a monk or go living in the woods like Tarzan, so my hope is to become sufficiently rich to escape.

3. Oh yes, and world piece :-)
Gaurav Chawla
0
0
Gaurav Chawla Entrepreneur • Advisor
Founder
The only way to guarantee a great future if to invent it. My view is, own a problem, and do the best possible to solve it the way you would want it solved. And not wait for someone else to solve it. Great leaders create great companies where motivated employees work with a sense of purpose. I was always inspired by how great leaders rally amazing people to work with them not for them. Its not about management and employee, us vs. them. In modern corporations, power is not in the hierarchy. Just giving money and title to employees doesn't guarantee you that great people will be motivated enough to do their best work. After money is taken off the table, the drive comes from purpose. It is responsibility of a good true leader to find that purpose and create a team of people who are behind that purpose, not the possibility of earning a lot of money at some point. For me its this purpose that gives me the drive. Its the possibility of impact that my work can have on the people and world around me. If I can leave the world a little better than I found, I would die very happy.
Steve Douty
2
0
Steve Douty Entrepreneur • Advisor
CEO of Nexo, Inc.
Way back when I was interviewing for jobs out of college, I remember answer a question like "What motivates you in life?" with "I want to make a difference." It sounded smart, important and I truly did want to become a CEO one day - but I didn't really understand what it meant.


Now on my sixth startup, I do understand much more about what I was trying to say. (I did chuckle at Dimitry's comment about world peace.) It doesn't have to be on a grand scale - but if you start a company, you can actually choose how you want to make that difference. You can pay attention to how companies and people are struggling and find solutions that make things better for them. And, if you've found the right problem, hired the right team and directed the right work - you get rewarded.


The potential financial rewards are obviously great. There is also the feeling that your company was able to have a positive influence people's work and/or personal lives. Back in the 90s, BSG helped pave the way for client/server computing and Hotmail made email simple. In the 2000s, Moxie Software helped the employees of large companies collaborate in a different way and now with Smaarts we're changing the nature of enterprise security.


Not everything you touch will be successful - VCs have a track record of one home run out of 20 companies, and maybe a few singles. But I've learned more from failure than from success. So if you have an appetite for learning, starting a company is one of the fastest paths to sating it. And if you keep trying, your hard work combined with a measure of good luck will pay off.


Plus, you actually do have some control over the culture of the company - because you will hire people you love to work with, and they will do the same, and so on. When you're dumped into the middle of a huge organization, that ship has sailed and half of your job is understanding it, playing the game and avoiding getting trampled by it. Regardless of the pablum on their web sites, 99% of large companies are not entrepreneurial. (For fun, take a look at employee reviews on Glassdoor.)


The happiest people I know have more than just money in their pocket - they feel like they've made some sort of positive change or contribution, no matter how large or small.
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