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28 Entrepreneurs Reveal 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 – A Few Things

Image Credit: Damon Nailer

Entrepreneurship is the process of planning, taking the risk to implement, and possessing the managerial skills to maintain a business that offers a product/service. Here are the core components of what being an entrepreneur means to me. 1. Control/Autonomy-I have total control over my business and the ability to make whatever choices I desire without the approval or dissent of a boss. 2. Flexibility- I have a flexible work schedule and not the rigid 9-5. I clock in and out when I desire. 3. Unlimited Earning Potential- As an entrepreneur I don’t have to wait on a yearly company raise but at any moment of any day I can receive contracts, sales, and/or clients which will ultimately boost my earnings.

Thanks to Damon Nailer, Kitril!

#2 – Doing the Work You Want to Do

Image Credit: Jyssica Schwartz

For me, entrepreneurship means that you are doing the work you want to do. Technically, I have bosses in that I have clients who have expectations and needs and deadlines. I have general work hours and routines. But I work from home and I do the kind of work I love: writing, editing, and some sales consulting. I started really thinking of myself as an entrepreneur when I turned down work I didn’t want to do for the first time!

Thanks to Jyssica Schwartz!

#3 – Taking Control of Your Life

For me entrepreneurship means taking control of your life. Making the decision to play offense instead of playing defense. And there’s different reasons for doing this. Maybe you just want to control your work/life balance. Maybe you want to be a person who has found a new and better way of doing something. Maybe you want to be a person that has a big impact on the world. Or maybe you just want to be a person that does what you want to do and only what you want to do. I’d fall into that category. And, of course, the risks are huge. The odds are against you succeeding. But entrepreneurs are people that decided if they strike out it’s going to be swinging.

Thanks to Michael Mason, Perfect Chaos Films!

#4 – Freedom

Image Credit: Jolie Dawn

I only worked briefly in a 9 to 5 office job before realizing it wasn’t for me. Entrepreneurship is freedom to me. I can work where I want, doing the work I want to do, with people I love. It is total freedom from boring office life, from the societal expectations of young women in the US, and I am able to just be exactly who I want to be. I set my own salary and I love what I do!

Thanks to Jolie Dawn, Prosperity Possy!

#5 – Freedom to Do Whatever…

Image Credit: Ron Stefanski

I would define entrepreneurship as having the freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you’d like, in your professional life. For me, the hardest thing was always having to listen to other people tell me what projects I should work on or what the highest priority was at my job that I wasn’t all that enthusiastic about. Now that I’m an entrepreneur, I can work on any project I’d like at any time and the only person governing my decision is myself (and my wife, of course). The ability to work on my most passionate project at any time while still making a living is easily the most gratifying job I could ever ask for and has allowed me to try many things that I’ve always wanted to. Some have been failures, but the successes are even sweeter because I know that I am the one who did all of the work to get there.

Thanks to Ron Stefanski, Good News Gum!

#6 – Does Something Unique & Different

Image Credit: Dr. Gayle Carson

To me, being an entrepreneur means having an entity that provides a product or service, generates enough income for you and a staff (which now can all be virtual), continues to grow and develop and does something unique and different. Entrepreneurs are notorious for developing something and growing it until it becomes unmanageable for them. They then hire a CEO and go on to other things–usually another product or business.

Thank you to Dr. Gayle Carson, Spunky Old Broad!

#7 – Master of Your Own Destiny

Image Credit: Deborah Sweeney

To me, entrepreneurship means being the master of your own destiny. As your own boss, you can achieve so much if you work hard, maintain a positive attitude, and focus on what provides ROI to your business. You will learn more about yourself as an entrepreneur than you would otherwise, so be prepared to embrace challenges, become a problem solver, and stick to your guns instead of giving up when the going gets rough.

Thanks to Deborah Sweeney, My Corporation!

#8 – Impact & Freedom

Image Credit: Taran Ghatrora

Before I became an entrepreneur, I studied to be a lawyer. I realized all of the things I wanted out a career – the ability to make a difference, impact the world positively, have a voice for myself and others – were amplified through creating and building my own business. For me personally, entrepreneurship is the greatest way for me to make an impact. Entrepreneurship is hard work, grit and tenacity but it is also freedom. You have to embrace obstacles and challenges and not be deterred by obstacles. It’s all about making something from nothing – turning your vision into a reality, despite the odds!

Thanks to Taran Ghatrora, Ellebox!

#9 – From the Inside/Out

Image Credit: Jennifer Lee Magas

I believe successful entrepreneurship comes from the inside out. It comes from accepting not everyone has your best interests at heart,taking those punches head on, and getting back up time and again to pursue your passion. Like the mythical phoenix that rises from the ashes, entrepreneurship is tenacity in the face of adversity. Here are 5 characteristics I think you need to be a successful entrepreneur: (1) Tenacity-you are going to deal with failure…a lot. It is important to overcome these obstacles, stay resilient through struggles, and continue to improve and do your best. (2) Passion-it is impossible to successfully sell a product or service if you are not passionate about it. The more you love what you do, the more successful you will be. (3) Accepting of risk-taking- you need to take chances to stand out from other competitors.You need to take initiative, be innovative, and never be afraid to try something new. (4) Self-belief- if you believe it, you will get others to believe it. Speaking and communicating with confidence is crucial to selling a product or service. (5) Flexibility- understand that business is a changing field. One day can be completely different than the next. Be on call, willing to change, and ready to take on the next challenge.

Thanks to Jennifer Lee Magas, Magas Media Consultants, LLC!

#10 – Serve & Bless Others

Image Credit: Evan C. Stewart

To me, entrepreneurship means so much more than just income potential. It’s an opportunity to serve and bless others every day, doing something that you’re excited and passionate about. It’s the ability to see the direct relationship between your blood, sweat and tears, and the profound impact your vision has on the individual lives around you. Entrepreneurship has this unique way of stripping down every aspect of your life, so you’re forced to appreciate the magnitude and amount of work, that goes into each dollar you earn.

Thanks to Evan C. Stewart, RUECKERT + STEWART™!

#11 – Heart in the Right Place

Image Credit:  Rhonda Rees

To be a successful entrepreneur, I find that it’s very important to have your heart in the right place. It’s not enough to want to make money and acquire the various perks that come along with it, but instead to be in the position to give something back to the community, and to our society as well. Donating your time by providing your services Pro Bono to worthwhile causes, organizations and projects is a step in the right direction. Your knowledge, experience, and know-how can certainly be a benefit to businesses and non-profits out there that would greatly benefit from your unique guidance and expertise. You can dedicate your time, or give a portion of the proceeds from the sales of your product to a favorite charity as an example.

Thanks to Rhonda Rees, Rhonda Rees Public Relations Company!

#12 – Can Be Lonely

Image Credit: Terry Kennedy

The number one lesson I learned in business is that being an entrepreneur can be lonely. It takes bravery to face the social and relationship challenges that comes along with it.They do not teach this in textbooks. I’m not even sure if it is possible to create a curriculum that can prepare people for true entrepreneurship. The key is finding mentors and reading the memoirs of highly successful people. That’s where the real-life side of entrepreneurship is taught.You truly know you are an entrepreneur when your friends and family tell you to get a job, mock your vision, then come to you to borrow money later when your vision comes to life and your income is growing at a faster pace than all of theirs combined. You know you are an entrepreneur when you decide that the only dream you are devoting your life to is your own. When you run into challenges and everyone else walks away, but you stay and find solutions. When your success makes everyone around you uncomfortable, so you replace them with people who think as big as you.

Thanks to Terry Kennedy, Appreciation Financial!

#13 – Run Your Business with Your Own Morals & Values

Image Credit: Stephanie McDonald

Entrepreneurship – the ability to run your business with your own morals and values. As a Talent Consultant, I take on recruiting assignments from all kinds of businesses and being able to walk away from a company who doesn’t treat their employees in a way that I would be proud to represent is the epitome of Independence. I had a client ask me to only present Caucasian candidates, and I promptly ended that relationship. He tried to throw money at me to get me to stay and help him, but I refused. Having the ability to own your brand and how that makes me feel is what entrepreneurship means to me.

Thanks to Stephanie McDonald, Hire Performance!

#14 – Inner-motivated, Willing & Able to Cultivate & Integrate

Image Credit: LeNae Goolsby

To me, successful entrepreneurship is the result of being inner-motivated, willing, and able to cultivate and then integrate an empassioned vision into inspired action to the point where what once was a dream is transitioned into a contributing, profitable, realized venture. This is exactly the process I go through when taking the idea/dream for a business into a realized effort. For example, Infinite Health Integrative Medicine Center became an idea that was birthed when it became clear that the former practice model, a single-physician community medical oncology practice was no longer financially tenable. In an effort to adjust the sails (another required entrepreneurial skill), we transitioned our oncology practice into what is now a successful and ever-expanding integrative health center. Additionally, as an intuitive empowerment life coach, this same entrepreneurial process, if you will, is what I implemented when taking the seed of an idea to coach others to reclaim their power into what is now a viable practice with a global reach.

Thanks to LeNae Goolsby!

#15 – Adventure & Game

Image Credit: Huib Maat

As a perfumer, I work in a creative industry and creativity by its very nature is ‘playful’ and ‘unpredictable’. Not surprisingly, in our company ‘entrepreneurship’ means an ‘adventure’ and a ‘game’ to us. As perfumers we continuously create new fragrances and products. By turning entrepreneurship into a game, we find it much more rewarding and productive to deal with ‘success’ and ‘failure’, ‘highs’ and ‘lows’. In our experience, savoring our successes for as long a time as possible and moving forward from our failures rapidly, is one of the key success factors of entrepreneurship.

Thanks to Huib Maat, Pairfum!

#16 – Ongoing Process

I would define entrepreneurship as the ongoing process of learning, growing, failing and successfully monetizing one’s personal interest as they attempt to carve out their professional lives while following an untraditional career path. In my opinion, entrepreneurship means that you are a true individual that does not conform to the traditional ways of thinking. Entrepreneurs are creative people that have figured out different ways capitalize on ideas that are typically disregarded, or not even seen, by others. Being an entrepreneur means that the process of failing is embraced and that you have an open mind that is always playing with out of the box ideas.

Thanks to David Gourdine, Herxheimer LLC!

#17 – Harder than a Job But Opportunity to Make More

Image Credit: Crystal Olivarria

Entrepreneurship is harder than a job but is provides an opportunity to make more money. It takes far more effort and energy to master the skill sets needed to be successful in creating a company than it does to master a job position. With the additional challenges also come additional rewards. The freedom to choose how to work, when to work and who you want to work with are all major perks.

Thanks to Crystal Olivarria, CareerConversationalist.com!

#18 – Difficult to Define

Image Credit: Brian C McHugh

Entrepreneurship is probably one of the most difficult words to define accurately. To me, it’s the willingness to accept the risk, reward, criticism, praise, doubt, support, and everything in-between that one would endure in pursuit of creating their own business. To be 100% accountable for the success and failure of the business, while constantly striving for improvement regardless of all past positive or negative outcomes. I don’t think it’s built in to you, it’s not a personality trait, and it’s not a gift. Anyone can decide they are willing to accept those things, as long as they are willing to put in the work (which is what I also believe separates most successes and failures).

Thanks to Brian C McHugh, McHugh Construction LLC!

#19 – Overcome Fear of Failure

Image Credit: Zachary Weiner

I’ve founded, ran and exited a few successful startups (and some not) at this point and with this experience have a somewhat contrarian response to what Entrepreneurship means. A lot of individuals become entrepreneurs based on some very simple extrinsic goals that they maintain. Entrepreneurship however, is not about being your own boss, making a ton of money or finally running the show. These items are all perks. Entrepreneurship at its core, is the most direct way one can challenge themselves to overcome their fear of failure. Every day an entrepreneur is going to face some form of failure. They may make millions in an exit or they may be forced to close shop all too soon, but every single entrepreneur walks away with being able to state that they had the guts and drive to face one of humanity’s most basic fears and look it straight in the eye.

Thanks to Zachary Weiner, Emerging Insider Communications!

#20 – Freedom

Image Credit: Maayan Naveh

To me, entrepreneurship means I can prioritize my family when I need to, that I can watch my children grow and live a slower lifestyle that suits me.It means hard work and long nights, but it’s all in the name of creating a life-changing asset. At the end of the day, entrepreneurship is all about freedom, to me.

Thanks to Maayan Naveh, Living Waters Makers!

#21 – A Mix of Things

Image Credit:In her Image Photography

Entrepreneurship has traditionally been defined as starting something new. Yes, it is that, and yet, to me, entrepreneurship is also a fascinating mix of vision, intrinsic drive, risk-taking, problem-solving, purpose and innovation. Entrepreneurship includes a unique ability for systems thinking, and for seeing the opportunities within the big picture. Successful entrepreneurs have an underlying willingness and ability to both question and move steadily against the status quo. In doing so, entrepreneurs embrace both hard work and challenges, again and again; re-upping on courage, determination, and resourcefulness at every curve in the road on the way to actualizing their vision.

Thanks to Kristin Hull, Nia Global Solutions!

#22 – A Few Things

Image Credit: Paige Arnof-Fenn

I started a global marketing firm 16 years ago and to me being an entrepreneur means: (1) Real customers are willing to pay real money for your product or service, then you have a real business. (2) The days (and nights) fly by and you have more ideas than time to address them all, you see more opportunities than risks. (3)You believe in your core that a bad day on your own is better than a good day at a desk job. (4) You have a strong work ethic ‹ you will never work harder and love it so much, bringing your idea to life and making it grow is incredibly fulfilling. (5) You are passionate about your idea ‹ if you are not excited about it why should anyone else be?  (6) You are scrappy ‹ you have to be incredibly creative and resilient because obstacles are constantly being thrown in your direction and you just have to keep going around/through them to find a path to success (7) You have humility ‹ it really helps to not take yourself too seriously and have a good sense of humor when things go nuts which they will. (8) You are a talent magnet ‹ it takes a village so to be able to attract great people to work with you is key to success.

Thanks to Paige Arnof-Fenn, Mavens & Moguls!

#23 – A Commitment

Image Credit: Agnieszka Rychlewska

Entrepreneurship for me is a commitment. A commitment to my customers that I will deliver what I promise on, constantly searching for better ways to serve their needs. A commitment to my investors – people who gave me not even their money, but most importantly their expertise, advice and trust – that I will continue building what they helped me to set the foundation for. And finally, a commitment to myself that I will not give up but move on, even with very little steps, towards my vision of a world where everybody lives their talent – and all benefit.

Thanks to Agnieszka Rychlewska, Talentity!

#24 – Creating & Building Something from Scratch

Image Credit: Rachael McCrary

I define entrepreneurship as creating and building something from scratch. When an entrepreneur puts something out into the world that didn’t exist before they have an impact on society. Their idea could be something simple and small, or something huge that completely changes the world. I believe the term “entrepreneur” is overused though. We often confuse sole proprietorships or freelancers as being entrepreneurs. Setting up a company for tax purposes isn’t the same as entrepreneurship. To me, being an entrepreneur means having a goal or mission that you are going all in on. It isn’t a job but rather a way of life. Your company or brand becomes an extension of who you are.

Thanks to Rachael McCrary, Jewel Toned!

#25 – Universal Themes

Image Credit: Tammy Broaddus

Once you place the sheer terror to the side, universal themes become clear. Entrepreneurship means leading instead of following; listening instead of talking; doing instead of dreaming; and living instead of just existing. As an entrepreneur, you are continually creating – using design thinking to experiment and create value for customers that is unique. After you can do that then rejoice, only for a moment, then use your analytical thinking to figure out how to scale. For those with a maker’s instinct, entrepreneurship offers an opportunity for whole-brain thinking and all-in doing.

Thanks to Tammy Broaddus, Overflow Storytelling Lab!

#26 – Clear Solution and Purpose

Image Credit: Jacques-Philippe Piverger

To be successful in the future, entrepreneurs must not only have a clear business solution that meets a key consumer need better than the competition, they must also have a clear purpose that informs the strategy of how to achieve strong economic profits, superior shareholder returns AND positive community impact. Today’s consumers, particularly GenXers and Millennials, expect that companies engage in making meaningful contributions to the communities in which they operate. In fact, these consumers actively seek such companies for the entire range of products and services in their lives.

Thanks to Jacques-Philippe Piverger, REALICITY!

#27 – Live My Passion for a Greater Purpose

Image Credit: Dale Noelle

Entrepreneurship is an opportunity for me to live my passion for a purpose greater than myself. It’s very empowering to wake up every day and make contributions to the world by sharing my ideas and talents while creating jobs for others. Entrepreneurship is my platform to creatively express my vision, learn about myself, contribute to society and cultivate great leaders along the way. I feel compelled to help others and I do it through business. So, being an entrepreneur is a form of philanthropy for me.

Thanks to Dale Noelle, TRUE Model Management!

#28 – Solve an Important Problem

Image Credit: Kyle Wente

For me, entrepreneurship means using business to solve an important problem. Humans and society face challenges. Fortunately, these challenges represent opportunities for companies and ambitious entrepreneurs.. Entrepreneurship is not about big exits and fame. It’s about hard work, cohesive teams, and persistence that leaves the world a better place. Entrepreneurs and the businesses they build are engines that can drive positive change and innovation.

Thanks to Kyle Wente, EcoEnclose!

What does entrepreneurship mean to you? Let us know in the comment below.

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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