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Starting a Company

Twenty years ago, kids wanted to be astronauts when they grew up. Today, they want to be entrepreneurs.

And good news: there has never been a better or easier time to start a business. Thanks to services like Etsy and eBay—along with fulfillment services who'll do everything for you—you don't even need to do most of the groundwork for launching your own business.

"I started a company." - Mark Zuckerberg, when asked to provide the understatement of the century.

Business owners who start their own businesses (a.k.a. entrepreneurs) aren't working for The Man—they're working for themselves. And that has some pretty big advantages. Have a brilliant idea that could take the company to a whole new level? If you're working at the mall, good luck trying to get someone to listen. If you work for yourself, you're the boss; you get to try all your brilliant—and not-so-brilliant—ideas. You can build the company exactly as you want and give yourself a nice fat paycheck once your company takes off. Plus, you set your hours, decide what your company will stand for, and decide what your business will do.

Don't get too excited, though. For every successful business, there are about a zillion unsuccessful ones. Remember Shmacebook? Yeah, neither do we. That's because it failed.

Regardless, business owners make up a huge chunk of the U.S. economy and create jobs for everyone. The company you work for? It got started because of an entrepreneur, most likely. The economy relies heavily on new businesses starting up and growing, which is one reason why Uncle Sam gives business owners some tax breaks.

In the past, wealth was created by the guys who built the railways and the oil tycoons. Today, entrepreneurs are all around you. The woman making money from her mommy blog? Entrepreneur. The guy creating what he hopes will be the next eBay? Entrepreneur. Your little brother selling pine cones on the corner? You betcha—entrepreneur in the making.

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