BYOB (Be Your Own Boss) revealed as top motivation for starting a microbusiness, says Venture Forward Research

3 min read
Venture Forward

According to microbusiness owners, most start their venture to become their own boss and pursue success on their own terms. Many also want to keep their enterprises small. Venture Forward, a GoDaddy research initiative established in 2018 to study the impact of online microbusinesses on their local economies, defines microbusinesses as businesses with fewer than ten employees, a unique domain, and an active website. 

chart featuring Why did you start your business? 43% to be my own boss; 32% support cause or hobby; 29% flexibility with time; 27% I can have more success on my own; 26% make extra money; 23% Dreamt of starting a business; 19% idea for a new product or service; 18% to contribute to my community; 15% to have fun; 13% Wanted a career change.

The Big Fact 

43% of microbusiness owners listed ‘be their own boss’ as one of their top three reasons to begin, according to GoDaddy’s most recent Venture Forward national survey of online microbusiness owners. This represents a 5% increase over the previous year. 

Other popular reasons to start a business include supporting a cause or hobby (32%) and wanting or needing flexibility that a typical job doesn’t allow (29%). Only 22% of microbusiness owners said flexibility was a top reason for them to start a business the year before.  

The Research 

GoDaddy's Venture Forward one-of-a-kind research initiative provides a unique view into the attitudes, demographics, and needs of these entrepreneurs. The U.S. national survey started in 2019 and occurs twice a year, typically capturing responses from over 3,500 entrepreneurs per instance to identify and explore trends, as well as deliver insights to advocates of microbusiness entrepreneurs.   

GoDaddy analyzes more than 20 million online microbusinesses in the U.S. who have a unique domain and active website. While these microbusinesses may be small, their impact on the U.S. economy is outsized even though they are often too informal or too new to show up in government statistics.  

Who Stands Out 

While the desire to be their own boss is a commonality among most microbusiness owners, there are some notable outliers: 

  • 31% of Gen Z & Millennials and 32% of Black microbusiness owners are more likely to start a business because they always dreamed of doing so. 23% of all microbusiness owners share that motivator, up 9% since the pandemic.  
  • 42% of Asian microbusiness owners are more likely to start a business to have success on their own. 
  • 45% of those who operate a ‘side hustle’ business are trying to make extra money. 

Long-Term Ambitions 

Nearly three-quarters of microbusiness owners (68%) want to keep their business small with either no employees or only some employees. Most entrepreneurs who want to keep their businesses small are retired. Only 7% of microbusiness owners want to grow their business to a large size with a billion-dollar valuation. Most entrepreneurs who want to grow their business to a large size are resource-constrained.