51% of Inc. 500 CEOs said they chose entrepreneurship because it suits their skills and abilities.

Recent research by Gallup and Inc. shows that those traits include a much higher than average level of determination, work ethic, and willingness to take on new challenges.

57% of Inc. 500 CEOs told us they are company founders, while 36% said they are part of a co-founding team. An additional 7% came into their company as an investor or senior executive after it was started.

43% of Inc. 500 co-founders started their company with a close friend. Only 14% of co-founders said they started their company with a family member.

68% of Inc. 500 founders said their entire founding team is intact. Only 13% said they have half or less of that team still in place.

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If you turned down venture capital, why?

No. 468: "Often, [VCs] have no idea what really drives your customers and your business, but they think they do or want you to think they do. So they flex their muscles, exert pressure or push for short-term profits, and [make] bad business decisions." --Daniel Siegel, Safe Passage, Neuromonitoring

No. 291: "Appeagle is 100% self-funded. It’s something we are extremely proud of, but more important, it’s given us the freedom to shape the company the way we’ve always imagined." --Koby Kasnett, Appeagle

No. 423: "I enjoy the flexibility to be creative and influence the culture of our business ... which may not be shared by a VC fund whose primary purpose is financial ROI." --Lee Carroll, Blue Companies

No. 31: "I have had no need for it. I believe in staying debt-free as long as it is possible." --Chris Jones, Plant Therapy

No. 263: "Oftentimes, you lose the freedom that you became an entrepreneur for in the first place." --Danny DeMichele, Elevated.com

No. 61: "Didn’t believe the partner was the right fit for us. We were looking for someone who really understood our space and would provide strategic advice, not simply capital." --Jesse Pujji, Ampush

44% of Inc. 500 CEOs said local ties, such as college and family, were the biggest factor in deciding where to locate the business.

30% of Inc. 500 CEOs said a pre-existing customer base was the biggest reason they located their company where they did.

19% of Inc. 500 founders credited a strong startup community, or a density of similar businesses, for their location choice.

24% of Inc. 500 CEOs waited three years or more to take a paycheck from their new company.

"Successful people find a way to get comfortable and thrive in the midst of uncertainty," said Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan, CEO of Drawbridge.