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Why do small businesses start?

I spent last night talking with my daughter about her subject choices for school. It’s not an easy decision and there are more interesting subjects than there are spots in her timetable so each subject has to be considered for its merits.

One subject we discussed was Small Business Management (note the capitals as a subject name). The course description included ‘find out why small businesses start, what sort of businesses there are and small business marketing’.

I thought that to be an interesting choice of topics – there are so many reasons people start small businesses! Do they study a regimented ideal or will they really look at the breadth of small business types, structures and reasons for existence?

My daughter was really pleased I offered to talk to that class if the teachers wanted me to, which was nice but slightly off my topic 🙂

Why did I start my small business?

About Tash Hughes, Communications ProfessionalI can’t answer a simple question of why small businesses start – I think there are too many reasons to cover simply. But I can tell my story.

I have always been able to write (ok, since I passed Prep anyway!) but it took some time for me to realise that I do it well compared to many people and with relative ease. My love of reading and writing has certainly been a big part of my life – English was always a favourite school subject.

The idea of working for myself appealed, but I didn’t think I had anything worth selling nor the capital to start a business. So I had a variety of jobs until I was home with young children.

Thinking about what I wanted to do, work wise, so I could build skills in between parenting tasks, I liked the idea of being flexible so I was available for my children and just reporting to myself.

A friend asked for some help with her resume and covering letter – and was enthusiastic about the results and commented on how good I was at writing and seeing to the point of what needed to be written.

I helped edit the cookbook our kinder created as a fundraising project.

Then the penny dropped and I fully realised that good writing is a valued commodity that I can provide, and that running my own writing business would offer me flexibility and control.

It was also a business I could start with little  financial outlay so I dabbled, got some initial clients and then set up business properly.

Are starting reasons the ongoing reasons?

I find it intriguing whether or not the reasons someone starts a business are the same reasons that keep them going a year or five years later.

Word Constructions was started so I could be at home, working around my children, using my skills and being my own boss.

Now, nine and a half years later, it still gives me flexibility for my children, utilises my (more refined) skills and lets me be my boss (although clients have a certain amount of control, too, really!). I find that it also has developed a passion for clear communications – a passion to see more clear communications and to help other businesses communicate more effectively.

How about you – are your motivations the same as when you started a business? If not, how have they changed?


My passion to help others communicate  clearly fuels this blog, my Twitter objectives and my monthly newsletter.

4 Responses to Why do small businesses start?

  • KennyK says:

    When I was 15-16 years old, I decided I wanted to learn more about website and graphic design, after one of my school friends told me he made websites in his free time, earning a few hundred Euro per project.
    My initial motivation was getting an income in my free time, after school.
    A long learning process started and later I started working for website design companies or look for offers and opportunities online. I got more experienced and then started a small website design company online, with a friend. Then later I decided to start a new one, on my own, so that I could work on it at my own pace, whenever I have time. It was not a full-time job, but more a side project, something that I could do when I have time. Basically I specialized in created designs in Photoshop and converting them to (x)html websites / templates, that I sold on some online market places. I also advertised my services and got some custom design jobs for companies in the web hosting industry.

    My reason to go on with it for years (despite getting other interests and responsibilities), is my passion for design & the internet. I like to create nice websites. Not just to sell, but to help others succeed online. Nowadays my small online company is pretty much low profile, but I can boost it any time I want, when I get new inspiration, time and goals.

    I’m now doing other activities online, both out of interest and with the goal to make a living online, as something on top of my regular job.

    So my motivations changed slightly over time.

    • tashword says:

      Thanks for sharing that, Kenny.

      You started young, gained experience and continued for passion – that automically builds your credibility and trustwothiness in my mind. I love working with other businesses and helping them suceed, too, and it’s nice to meet someone with that same drive.

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