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20 Entrepreneurs Explain What Entrepreneurship Means to Them

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Being an entrepreneur is a source of pride. It also evidences an individual with a huge amount of discipline and focus to be able to build a business a lot of times from just an idea. It is the ambition of an entrepreneur that built the most profitable and successful companies. The only issue is that the word entrepreneurship can often vary from person to person.

1) Entrepreneurship = Responsibility to Succeed

Some people just want to be their own boss. Although being my own boss is nice, I started on the path of Entrepreneurship because I wanted to use my ability to create value for myself and others without requiring permission from anyone else. As a result, becoming an Entrepreneur meant empowering myself with the responsibility to succeed. I also see entrepreneurship as a process of creating financial and personal freedom through the creation and growth of a business. Don’t become an entrepreneur if you want less responsibility.

Thanks to Alexander Gross, Co-Founder of Chamber DS!

2) Overcoming Adversity

Don’t underestimate the challenge of solving a difficult problem. When I started Brewla Bars with my sister we knew that consumers were looking for healthier and natural alternatives to the products they already purchase. What we had yet to understand were all the barriers that would challenge us to bring our product to market. We worked with advisors to teach us and prepare us, but nobody can forsee everything. More than anything our unrelenting persistence and passion for our products has kept us going. As an entrepreneur facing adversity is unavoidable, you must always believe in yourself and your product to overcome the biggest hurdles.

Thanks to Daniel Dengrove, Brewla!

3) 2 Things

Entrepreneurship means two things to me. The first, is being in full control of the money I make. I’m the one determining my worth and value. It all comes down to me, based on the amount I want to work, in order to drive the money coming in. The second thing is that it’s about owning my own schedule. I determine where I go, and when I actually go, and how long I want to be from my kids, etc. I’m not on anyone else’s clock but my own.

Thanks to Erin Smith, The Starters Club!

4) Risk Takers

If you are a true entrepreneur, there is probably no separation between your work life and personal life. I don’t believe that entrepreneurship is a choice, you either are, or you’re not, and there’s always that one defining moment that forces you to to say ‘take the plunge.’ True entrepreneurs are risk takers, and they’re not afraid to fail, and actually find great value in failure. Entrepreneurs feel caged in a traditional corporate setting, hate living by someone else’s rules and standards and walk a path that’s all their own. Entrepreneurs are innovators, job creators and truly the backbone of every major economy. I’m fascinated by entrepreneurs, and feel that we all have a great deal learn from each and every one of them. Their stories never get old, or redundant and with each new entrepreneur I meet, it inspires me to want to do more, and be better.

Thanks to Gary Bredow, ‘START UP’!

5) Intellectual Passions & Market Needs

For me, entrepreneurship is about finding the perfect intersection between one’s intellectual passions and market needs. I love words. I love thinking about communication. Language skills have value in the workplace, and I and my similarly language-loving business partner — who also happens to be my husband — have for 15 years now enjoyed pursuing that intersection through our communication skills training firm.

Thanks to Ellen Jovin, Syntaxis, Inc.!

6) Empowerment

Entrepreneurship is the ultimate act of self-empowerment! I enjoy the opportunity to be 100% accountable for my own actions, where I have nothing but myself to stand in my way. The realization of self-empowerment is an amazing place to be, and flows through all aspects of my life – as a mother, a wife, a business owner, an employer – I can be there for the things that matter most in my life, but to do so I have to employ solid self-discipline, systems and delegation skills. I have the opportunity to build relationships with some of the most amazing clients on this planet, network and help other amazing business owners, all while continuing to learn and grow myself.

Thanks to Jodie Marzett, The Marzett Group!

7) Flexibility

When I started, entrepreneurship meant certain ideals for me like being the master of my own destiny and being a firm creating hand in bringing something of value and enjoyment to the world. In my case with my product ­invoking a dance-inspired sense of beauty and accomplishment and improving upon fit and design issues I experienced with other activewear. As a woman, entrepreneurship also meant the potential flexibility to dictate my own schedule should I choose to have children. At the time, I was seeing my business school peers being asked to jump on planes every week well into their pregnancies. I decided that was not for me. Now that I am running the business, the meaning of entrepreneurship has expanded from an ideal to a tutelage. I’ve learned that entrepreneurship is the ultimate life and business coach. It¹s a tough love kind of a coach but a very good and fair one if you’re willing to stick it out. Entrepreneurship very quickly lays bare any kind of character or business weaknesses the entrepreneur might have, especially if you’re a solopreneur. Shy about selling? Work on it or you won¹t have a business. Miserably down about yourself because sales are not what you hoped this period? Well, maybe there’s deeper issue of self-worth and attachment you need to examine before you can more forward. Lacking in humility during manufacturing screw-ups? Well, in the day you spent dealing with your anger and frustration, even if you are in the right, that¹s energy better spent fixing the problem and addressing customers. There have been so many business and character lessons I’ve learned from the hand-to-hand combat world of bootstrap entrepreneurship. On the bad days, it presents a kick in the head and a test of my determination. If I make it through, it reinforces my conviction and character. On the good days, I learn more about discipline and focus and our customers and what makes them happy.

Thanks to Michele Cheowtirakul Braxton, gwenyth!

8) Do Whatever is Best

I love being an entrepreneur because it’s insanely freeing – I am my own boss, so I don’t need to worry about creating an Excel that makes my boss happy or meeting an arbitrary deadline – I just do whatever is best to advance my company. Knowing that the success of my business is tied to the decision that my co-founders and I make is extraordinarily motivating and freeing.

Thanks to Rob Biederman, HourlyNerd!

9) Think Differently & Constantly Working

I have started many businesses in the last 28 years, some failed and some became highly successful. Entrepreneurs think differently than non-entrepreneurs. You are working and thinking about business all the time.There is no distinction between business and personal – this is all part of one, your business. There is no such idea of working eight hours a day or forty hours a week. Hours of work are not in your thoughts. You work until you are completely exhausted or your eyes are blurry from being on the computer too long, each day. You don’t work for the weekends, the weekends work for you and are a time to really get something done without distractions. Being an entrepreneur means you eat, sleep, walk, talk and everything else for your business. Your business is your baby and you need to nurture it in the early days, through the teenage years and adulthood. It will keep you up until 3:00 o’clock in the morning and force you awake at 4:00 o’clock in the morning. Your passion for your business will sometimes get others to question your sanity. For you the business is ubiquitous and perpetual. Saturdays and Sundays are just another extension of work days. As an entrepreneur you will do almost anything for business success. With my current company, a two year old start-up, CashBackCat.com I have worked three days without sleep, minimal food and three pots of coffee. As an entrepreneur you do whatever it takes to get the job done.

Thanks to John Freeland, CashBackCat.com!

10) Relentless Pursuit

Entrepreneurship is the relentless pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled. To me anyone can be an entrepreneur, all it takes is courage, hard work and persistence. You don’t have to have a million dollars in revenue or have a million users on you app to be an entrepreneur. What you really need is a burning desire to succeed and a relentless drive to stop at nothing.

Thanks to Derek Coleman, Styleuno.com!

11) Action, Not Reaction

Entrepreneurship to me, means knowing how to act, not react. So many people fall into the rut of reacting immediately to a situation, instead of taking a step back, assessing why an event occurred, and then taking action. To be an entrepreneur, you must have clear vision – understand what it is you want to do, and then do it! There are obstacles everyday hindering your ability to succeed, but with the right mindset and attitude and a deep breath, no problem is too large.

Thanks to Hanson Grant, Think Board!

12) Risk

Entrepreneurship is about risk. There is this chasm between a “wantrepreneur” and a “entrepreneur.” There are a lot of people who want to be an entrepreneur because they look at an entrepreneur and think, “Oh their life is so great! They have their own great business,” and I think that is not a realistic perspective. What makes an entrepreneur stand out from a wantrepreneur is that willingness to jump even when there are still risks, challenges, and unknowns to face. I don’t think I fully appreciated the risks and choices I was making when I made them…entrepreneurs are often highly irrational people. I say this because a logical person would not have made the choices I made as an entrepreneur knowing what I know now. It’s completely irrational because the risk profile is so great, not just any person would jump into entrepreneurship. But those risks, and those risk takers, are what makes entrepreneurship so rewarding when the business thrives and grows.

Thanks to Zac Carman, ConsumerAffairs.com!

13) Responsibility

Entrepreneurship boils down to full responsibility. The risk of starting anew and alone and living afraid is on me. Save a few external variables like the dollar rate, natural disasters (earthquakes are common in Chile), the failures and success I find along the way is in great part up to me. Over the last 18 months, our company grew from 25 to 45 employees and my favorite part of entrepreneurship is striving toward successful communication and clear lines of responsibility from top down, but at the end of the day, year or entrepreneurial roller coaster, the buck stops at me. It is easier when I hold myself responsible for the good and bad times because I am the only person I can truly change, whether it be my attitude, know how, hiring or form of communication with my team.

Thanks to Peter Murphy Lewis, La Bicicleta Verde!

14) The People

Entrepreneurship is about people. It’s about you, and what you can accomplish as a person. It’s about camaraderie and teamwork among multiple individuals. It’s about arguments with your business partners, for the greater good of your company and livelihoods. It’s about leveraging people you currently know to meet more people that can rally behind you and help you and your team. It’s about giving a first-time pitch to hundreds of onlookers, and seeing 5-10 of your good friends smiling wide in the sea of people that you didn’t expect to come. Entrepreneurship is about all of the hard work, cash crunches, and rejections being all the more worth it in the end!

Thanks to Sam Nebel, Goodwipes!

15) Worthwhile Journey

Entrepreneurship means a journey worth traveling, stepping out on a limb and just taking a leap of faith, just having the courage in yourself and determination to succeed. Embracing every sale and review as a step forward in a right direction. I followed my dreams that I had since the age of 12, that my fashions will be on the red carpet. In November 2013, my dreams came into fruition when Cyrene Tankard, the youngest of Tankard Family on Bravo TV’s Thicker than Water wore my dresses to all of her red carpet events. That experience led to her wearing my apparels every Sunday currently on Thicker than Water’s Season 2. Entrepreneurship means surreal to the infinite power imaginable just amazing.

Thanks to Yassin Hall, Journey Untold!

16) What Would Make This Better?

I always tell my kids that entrepreneurship is simply a desire and a willingness to answer the question: “What would make this BETTER?” Every person on earth plays a central role in the history of the world, and so we all have an opportunity not only to make life better but to make our mark personally, as well. Entrepreneurs understand that principle and despite fear, suffering, setbacks, and failures, keep moving forward. The gift of fear is faith and wisdom. A true entrepreneur can never stop being an entrepreneur. They will use that faith and wisdom either to propel their idea forward or to pivot in a different direction altogether. Committed to making the world BETTER, we cast vision for what’s possible.

Thanks to Chantel Adams, Forever We, Inc.!

17) Intention & Impact

Intention and Impact. It means the world to be able to provide a leadership role , with core values and Intention while Impacting other lives in a positive manner. The Entrepreneurial “drive” creates such focus on those 2 actions, only good comes of it. Our local impact supporting out global initiatives is changing the world one day at a time and I wouldn’t have it any other way…

Thanks to Justin Brooks, SPAGnVOLA!

18) Breaking Rules & Taking Risks

Entrepreneurship means breaking rules and taking risks. Entrepreneurs face challenges every day as they follow their dreams, and have to adjust and adapt to whatever is thrown at them. They enjoy successes, weather storms, and make sacrifices. And, they’re resilient, so few challenges keep them down.

Thanks to Gabie Boko, Sage North America!

19) Flexibility

Being an entrepreneur allows me to be the kind of mom that I want to be. As a single mom and entrepreneur, my life is 24/7. I work from the minute I wake up until the minute I go to sleep, but I also have great flexibility with my schedule. I am able to attend sporting events, class parties, and spend quality time with my son. I have changed my entrepreneurial path as my son grows to ensure that I can spend the most time that I can with him. When my son was young, I owned an indoor playground, so I could take him to work with me. Once he entered elementary school, I decided to sell the indoor playground and am now creating a mobile app for moms. Making this change allows me to be home more and I am also able to follow my passion of helping other moms.

Thanks to Jillian Darlington, MomCo App!

20) Thinking & Your Thoughts

Being an entrepreneur means accumulating wealth through the materialization of your thoughts. To be able to think something in your mind, work towards it, see it manifest and then greatly benefit from it financially is one of the most fulfilling processes in the world. Being an entrepreneur means removing limits and having the freedom to build, create and to be authentic. Being an entrepreneur can offer more personal security, more employment opportunities and maintain the energy flow of money both in the economy and in individual pockets. The process of becoming an entrepreneur and even a wealthy entrepreneur is a process that everyone should experience. The process helps to create standards and codes of conduct in a community.

Thanks to Wendy Muhammad!

About Gresham Harkless Jr.

Gresham Harkless is a Media Consultant for Blue 16 Media and the Blogger-in-Chief for CEO Blog Nation. CEO Blog Nation is a community of blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners. Started in much the same way as most small businesses, CEO Blog Nation captures the essence of entrepreneurship by allowing entrepreneurs and business owners to have a voice. CEO Blog Nation provides news, information, events and even startup business tips for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners to succeed.
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