I saw a similar question but posed in a different way with few responses. So thought I'd ask specifically why you are doing a startup?
I had drinks with some friends last weekend and one guy I don't really know started drilling me. He was arrogant, bragging about his job at a big Japanese company, his big salary and bonuses (he's in sales) and basically couldn't understand why I'd make less money, especially working in marketing, to be at a startup.
Personally I love being able to make a difference, being part of a small team and making significant decisions that can help the company succeed or battle against failure.
I love working with a passionate team, busting butts to try and succeed.
I love the lack of politics (or at least a lot less of it).
I love the building and creating. Building a team of people, of outside partners and resources, getting customers for the first time. Love getting people excited about what we do.
I love the ability to play many different roles.
I love looking forward to getting to the office each day, working with the team of people, doing my job best I can, seeing successes, battling failures. Enjoying my job is more important than anything.
There are lots of not so good things and maybe of those points above could be accomplished in a big company. So this is really important for me as I take a step back and question myself.
Why are YOU doing a startup?
When I read your question I though "I could have written this!"
I've been working in my current company almost 7 years ago.
I joined when the company was really a startup.
We had 3 customers, some VC money and a bunch of passionate people.
I skipped the basement phase (3 guys stuck in a basement building a product), but I am employee number 17!
I feel that in these 7 years I've grown as a professional more than I could have grown somewhere else. All the daily challenges, trying to do grand things with little budget, coming up with new ideas that CAN be implemented.
I worked for a large multinational for 5 years, so I know the inner workings. I wouldn't go back to those days. It was good, fun, a learning experience... but the "machine" was already there and there was little room for invention (or innovation). In those companies it's hard not to become a heartless robot...
That guy you mentioned doesn't have the most important ingredient that makes a great professional and person: PASSION.
He's just in for the money (the good old fortune and fame). He doesn't give a damn about building a great new product that will shape people's lives, or redefine how companies operate.
Why are You doing a startup?
To solve THAT problem that no one has figured out yet, and deliver THAT product that will shape the future, and to have a hell of a great time doing it. With passion!
20 years of implementing someone else's vision and taking marching orders from OTHERS for THEIR profit and glory - many of my ideas during that time were stowed away. some died. some stayed with me. NONE was implemented. EVER. I NEVER TRIED.
It's MY time now. I will implement MY vision for MY profit and MY glory... understandably, I might fail, but to me, getting to a point where I FAIL is still a victory. It's a victory because it means I actually TRIED and this so much better than never daring to leave the ranks of those DO AS THEY'RE TOLD, working to make OTHERS successful.
That's my reason for starting a start-up.....
I'm doing it for the challenge and the potential financial reward. I love challenges and hate monotony ;)
Since when I was attending university, I wanted to found a software startup. Two months ago I did.
The reasons are not many: being able to decide for myself, doing what I really care about, and the need to prove to myself (and others) that I can do it. So far, I've enjoyed every minute of this journey. As you said, I even look forward to go to the office (it never happened before).
I wanna prove to the world that I can pull it off too.
Because my mind has found a problem and won't let me quit until I turn it into a business!