The primary purpose for starting a business is usually financial. Many people who are dissatisfied when working for someone else, or who have been involuntarily laid off, start their own businesses to support themselves. A business can also be a way to become more involved in something you are passionate about, whether it is woodworking or outdoor adventure.
Successful businesspeople have the opportunity to earn far more money than they would if they were working for someone else. Ambitious individuals often become frustrated with the limitations that are imposed on them within the confines of someone else's business. Starting your own business means that your income is dependent, not on what someone else is willing to pay you, but on your own ability to succeed and excel in the marketplace. Once your business has broken through to the big time, your income is limited only by market conditions and your own management.
While it is certainly risky to start your own business, it also allows you to be more personally in control of your financial future. When working for someone else, you may be subject to a layoff through no fault of your own. Particularly in a slow economy, starting your own business can increase your chances of success, even though starting a business in a slow economy has its own inherent risks. People who are confident in their ability to handle their own affairs are often happier when running their own business, even with the increased risks, responsibilities and stresses.
Many jobs, even well-paid ones, are quite boring for a person who enjoys adventure. What feels like security to one employee may feel like imprisonment to another. The excitement of the marketplace is irresistible to a certain type of entrepreneur, and these people will pursue their own businesses simply for the adventure, regardless of how much profit might be likely. Whether the venture involves international import-export, adventure rafting or independent accounting that manages other people's fortunes, the fact that you are in charge of your success or failure when you are running things can be very exhilarating to a person who values innovation over security.
Some businesses are founded primarily for the purpose of serving the local community or the world at large. Nonprofit businesses are dedicated to working with the poor, the disadvantaged and those stricken by disaster, but many for-profit businesses also provide useful and essential services to the public. A local grocery store can provide a decent living for its owner, while also making good food locally available to surrounding residents. This is an example of a healthy interaction between self-interest and community service.