Why Entrepreneurship as a Career Path

Apr 30, 2024

One of my favorite quotes attributed to Confucius is “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” I have had the honor of serving as a professional advisor to the entrepreneurial community since 1994 as a member of the IBA business sale intermediary team. Throughout that thirty-year period, I have offered my clients a superior work ethic, venue for open & honest communication, empathetic ear, integrity, knowledge, experience, problem-solving ability, business acumen, and perspective on what was possible given the situation while employing best practices. As I enter my 4th decade as a M&A intermediary, I can honestly say I still bounce out of bed in the morning excited to do what I do and rarely hesitate to work a 12-hour day or 60-hour week, when it is necessary. I definitely selected the right career path for me. I have done this year in and year out with no promise of compensation only faith in my ability, as IBA’s business model is performance based and has always only sought compensation upon successful completion of a project.

My own story of finding happiness and fulfillment in my career choice is frequently mirrored by IBA’s clients, individuals from every possible demographic group who selected entrepreneur as their job description. Engagement by myself, and the dozens of colleagues I have had at IBA over the years, with these business owners has allowed for the identifications of five common reasons entrepreneurs are frequently more satisfied personally and healthier than people who pursue different career paths (https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernhardschroeder/2022/04/01/entrepreneurs-are-happier-and-healthier-than-employees-according-to-university-research-studies/?sh=506a16193ee6).

1. The first benefit of entrepreneurship is that you get to do what you enjoy, find challenging, or rewarding. No other career path lets you select 100% the industry you work in and how you fill your days.

2. The second benefit of entrepreneurship is that you get to execute on your vision. If you are a bakery that makes apple pies, you get to select the apples, flour, and recipe used. If you are building a team, you get to choose the metrics used in its member selection. As the owner of IBA, I try to fulfill Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision for his children, “”I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character”, when I invite people to be part of the organization. If you are selecting equipment or a location, you get to decide which item or place is picked.

3. The third benefit of entrepreneurship is that you have the potential for limitless financial prosperity. The only limiting factors on business growth and profitability for entrepreneurs are the map for navigation of the business model they chart and their ability to traverse the path into the future. Studies have shown that over time entrepreneurs earn more than the employed (https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/entrepreneurs-make-more-over-a-lifetime-study-says.html). The reality of working for someone else is that to be employed, the employer needs to benefit financially or in terms of productivity from your hiring or you will not have a job. Entrepreneurs have maximum job security, as the last person laid off is always the business owner.

4. The fourth benefit of entrepreneurship is that you have an opportunity to make a tangible difference in your community. The contributions can range from creating jobs to generating tax revenue to support social services to providing valued products & services. Childhood memories often burn bright throughout our lives. I suspect that if you think back to your youth, some of your best memories took place at locally owned, family businesses. This time of year, my memories often drift to post game burgers and ice cream with my teammates after baseball games at a Humdinger in Beaverton, Oregon. I would not trade those memories for a pot of gold. I suspect you have similar ones that make you smile.

5. The final benefit of entrepreneurship is legacy. Business ownership impacts the lives of multiple groups of people (Employees, Customers, and Suppliers to name a few). It has been said that at the end of the day, all a person has is their memories and reputation. It is not uncommon for entrepreneurs to be remembered long after they are gone. If you would like to hear some wonderful stories about entrepreneurs, I recommend the Founders Podcast where David Senra reads biographies of entrepreneurs and shares a synopsis of their story ( https://www.founderspodcast.com/).

To be or not be an entrepreneur is a question you will need to answer for yourself. If you elected to be an entrepreneur and are now ready to sell your company in the Pacific Northwest, IBA would welcome the opportunity to meet with you, learn your exit objectives, and provide an overview of our services. All conversations with IBA are held in strict confidence.

If you want to become an entrepreneur, it is often prudent to buy an existing business rather than start in a green field. It is much easier to take a company doing $3 million in revenue to $5 million than take a business model from vision to that level of sales. IBA is unique in the business brokerage world in that we offer business buyers the opportunity to purchase both established, profitable companies and vetted franchised business opportunities in one place. IBA has transitioned more businesses to new ownership than any other firm in Washington & Oregon. We welcome the opportunity to answer questions about that process.

“The law of work seems unfair, but nothing can change it; the more enjoyment you get out of your work, the more money you will make.” – Mark Twain

IBA, the Pacific Northwest’s premier business brokerage firm since 1975, is available as an information resource to the media, business brokerage, mergers & acquisitions, real estate, legal, and accounting communities on subjects relevant to the purchase & sale of privately held companies and family-owned businesses. IBA is recognized as one of the best business brokerage firms in the nation based on its long track record of successfully negotiating “win-win” business sale transactions in environments of full disclosure employing “best practices”.