Chart showing reasons entrepreneurs gave for starting their own businesses.
Beginning in 1991 a trio of academics -- from the University of Houston, the College of William and Mary, and the University of Southern California -- decided to measure the influence of demographic, psychological, and behavioral factors on getting into business. The data below, taken from the ongoing study of 138 preventure clients of the University of Houston's small-business-development center, show that those motivated by the desire for autonomy are disproportionately likely to achieve success, defined as sales in this study.
Biggest reason for starting a business
Among those who were successful, i.e., generated sales
I had identified a market opportunity.
I wanted the autonomy and independence.
I wanted to make more money.
I wanted to use my knowledge and experience.
I wanted to show I could do it.
Other (e.g., to learn, needed job, to be creative, to provide jobs, to avoid taxes, God's will)