Aspiring, Existing Entrepreneur Priorities Differ

January 8, 2003 ( - While the prospect of financial success is a key motivator among aspiring entrepreneurs, it plays second fiddle to setting one's own hours and being one's own boss among those who actually own a small business, according to a recent survey by The Hartford Financial Services Group.

Nearly three-quarters of employed Americans are either interested in owning, currently own or have owned their own business, according to the survey of employed adults.  Sixty percent of business owner hopefuls cite financial success as a primary incentive, but that number drops to 39% among current business owners, where 62% report setting their own hours and 53% responded to being their own boss as primary reasons for striking out on their own.

Family Matters

Among those who currently own a business, women are much more likely than men to cite spending time with family as a primary motivator (52% of women compared to 29% of men), whereas men are more than twice as likely as women to cite gaining independence as important (51% of men versus 18% of women).

While the prospect of financial success may be what appeals most to prospective entrepreneurs, insufficient financial resources is keeping them from pursuing this option. Seventy-seven percent of business owner hopefuls say insufficient financial resources deters them from starting their own business. This is followed by:

  • 62% – the need for a regular paycheck
  • 54% – fear of failure
  • 54% – uncertainty about how to get started
  • 47% – loss of health and disability benefits