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24 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 – Freedom

Image Credit: Kavita Channe

Entrepreneurship is freedom. The freedom to create something you are passionate about and being able to see opportunity all around you. Entrepreneurship rewards risk-taking. It takes belief, courage and perseverance. And once you own the entrepreneur within, be careful… it’s highly addicting.

Thanks to Kavita Channe!

#2 – 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!

#3 – Badge of Honor

Image Credit: Evan Harris

I wear the title of entrepreneur as a badge of honor. A lot of hard work went into starting my business, and I continue to put a lot of hard work into leading and growing my business. Entrepreneurship isn’t just starting a new business. It’s about taking nothing and turning it into something. Then, taking that something and making it soar. Entrepreneurs are change makers, innovators, and trail blazers, and entrepreneurship is our way of life.

Thanks to Evan Harris, SD Equity Partners!

#4 – Power

Image Credit: Emily LaRusch

It means power, but probably not in the way you might be thinking. It means flop or flourish, I am in charge of my destiny. I make the rules, my income is only limited to my ability to succeed and whether I live my dream life or not, it is all up to me. It also comes with tremendous responsibility and stress. I have team members who count on me to keep the ship floating so they can feed their families. When money is tight, the stress is unimaginable. Even with the stress of captaining a ship and the responsibility of caring for the crew, I wouldn’t trade the power to create my dreams for a job and paycheck any day of the week.

Thanks to Emily LaRusch, Back Office Betties!

#5 – Offering Your Uniqueness to the World

Image Credit: Jennifer Davis

My Life Purpose is to champion others to connect them with the strength and power of their best selves so they can maximize professional and personal potential. An entrepreneur is someone who has a vision for something that he/she wants to bring into the world that does not yet exist, and is willing to create it then launch it. The entrepreneur is not limited by what already exists, in terms of current products, services, offerings, and is not interested in improving what is, but rather in bringing to life their vision for what can be. When I got certified as a coach, I had offers to join companies that hire coaches to deliver materials and services that already exist. I had a vision for a women’s empowerment program and other content that could reach and inspire people in a new and creative way. I had writing and blog posts to do, workshops to create, leadership programs to build. I have a book to author. Creating the Fiercely Female Leadership Program with two colleagues allowed us to be in the driver’s seat and not have to go by anyone else’s rules. For me, being an entrepreneur is having the courage and originality to create my own programs and company based on what I have to offer the world. It can be scary. AND it is amazingly satisfying. Entrepreneurship isn’t only about making millions of dollars with high-tech start-ups and creating billions of products to sell. It’s about offering your uniqueness to the world in a way that will make an impact–both for you and others.

Thanks to Jennifer Davis, Jennifer Davis Coaching!

#6 – Warrior Mom

Image Credit: Dina Kimmel

For me, being an entrepreneur meant being a warrior mom. The “lioness” kicks in and you say to yourself “If I don’t do this, who will?” I knew when my son was diagnosed with autism that, not only did I need to be his advocate and his rock, but that I needed to help kids and families in the same situation. I started one business with my passion to give my family an inclusive play space – and became a franchisor when I saw how much all families need a space like the business I built.

Thanks to Dina Kimmel, We Rock The Spectrum!

#7 – Taking Real Action & Creating Something Out of Nothing

Image Credit: Kirsten La Greca

To me, entrepreneurship is not a hashtag – it’s taking real action and creating something out of nothing. It means really hard, consistent work – even when you don’t feel like it (and Netflix and chill is just a click in the other direction) AND, most importantly it means listening to that inner voice and making the decision to march to the beat of your own drum.

Thanks to Kirsten La Greca, Rosa Gold

#8 – Path to Financial & Psychological Freedom

Image Credit: Joel Razi Lutfiyya

Entrepreneurship is the path to financial and psychological freedom. While initially starting a business requires a lot of long hours and probably not much money, when it all starts to come together, the rewards of entrepreneurship are so bountiful that it’s well worth the blood, sweat and tears. Starting your own business will be one of the toughest journeys in life and if you overcome the struggles, you learn just how mentally tough you are and realize your emotional and mental strength will get you through any conflict or disaster that comes your way. Entrepreneurs are inventors, leaders, innovators and all around super humans that can manage and juggle a thousand or more tasks in tandem with functioning as a normal human in society.

Thanks to Joel Razi Lutfiyya, Small Business Growth!

#9 – Adding Value & Creating Change

Image Credit: Annkur P Agarwal

Funnily in my graduation course there was a subject on entrepreneurship and I happened to once answer a question defining entrepreneurship in my final year University exams. I wrote Entrepreneurs are the riders of storm who venture out into troubled waters to bring glory to their land. Today more than a decade later, I don’t feel the as romantic and warrior like as an entrepreneur. For me entrepreneurship is about adding value & creating change. Be it in an area of society that needs it or just people whom I meet in my journey. I better be creating value & bringing a positive change. If I may borrow a quote from Apple, ‘leave the world better than you found it’.

Thanks to Annkur P Agarwal, Pricebaba.com!

#10 – Freedom & Accountability

Image Credit: Jan Bednar

Entrepreneurship, to me, means freedom and accountability. I suppose the classic business school definition is that an entrepreneur is a risk taker, and that’s certainly true. But it’s definitely more than that. You can take risks in any capacity in any position in any company. As an entrepreneur, however, the onus is squarely on your shoulders. Personally, I love that challenge. The accountability drives me — I know that it is my direction that will ultimately lead the company, and I have to articulate that direction and vision every day in some capacity. It’s challenging, but the decision is mine and mine alone — and that’s where the freedom aspect comes in. I left the Czech Republic at age 16 to pursue the American Dream. The freedom I’ve found here in business and the sole-accountability of the entrepreneur… that’s what I hoped I would find. In essence, entrepreneurship is nothing less than the incarnation of the American Dream.

Thanks to Jan Bednar, ShipMonk!

#11 – Creates Brands Through Platforms of Business & Thought Leadership

Image Credit: Jamin Armstead

To me, entrepreneurship expands beyond just being a business owner. In my opinion, a true entrepreneur creates their own brand through multiple platforms of business and thought leadership. Someone who owns a corner store or an online space for e-commerce I see solely as a business owner. However, a business owner who also innovates, leads in content creation or presentation, shares expertise through networking, and provides multiple platforms of services and content, to me, is a true entrepreneur.

Thanks to Jamin Armstead, J. Dishon Financial LLC!

#12 – Freedom to Express Creativity

Image Credit: Tamsyn Martin

Entrepreneurship for me, means freedom to express my creativity without the boundaries of a boss dictating what to create and how I should create it. It means being able to support myself financially while suffering from a disability and chronic illness. It is independence and structure. A never ending challenge, but extremely gratifying. Entrepreneurship is an extension of me.

Thanks to Tamsyn Martin, Velvet Volcano!

#13 – Freedom

Entrepreneurship means having the freedom to do what you love and actually get paid for it while also providing value to the market.
Thanks to Christina Crawford, BubblePopBeauty.com!

#14 – Ability & Willingness to Take on Risk

Photo Credit : Andrew Schrage

Entrepreneurship means that you have the ability and willingness to take on risk as you begin your new small business. It means that you can run your business in any fashion you wish, and that you control growth, staffing, and expansion. You can put as much or as little effort into the operation as well – although that will absolutely affect your level of success. And in most cases, the amount of money you can potentially earn is limitless.

Thanks to Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers!

#15 – A Seeker

Image Credit: Iman Oubou

In today’s startup world, entrepreneurism has taken on a new meaning; many create, but few truly innovate. To me, you are an entrepreneur if you are a seeker; one who is drawn to problems and is obsessed with finding solutions. You are an entrepreneur if you cannot sleep because of the passion you feel for your company, if you wake up multiple times a night with ideas, jotting down each and every thought that comes to your mind. You are an entrepreneur if you constantly innovate yourself, never assuming you’ve actually solved the problem to the best of your abilities. You are an entrepreneur if you believe in your vision so deeply that you live and breathe it, but still move with the tides, pivoting should you find better solutions or be taken on new journeys. You are an entrepreneur if you can find ways to make money by making people’s lives better, always remembering to give back and mentor those following in your footsteps. You are an entrepreneur if you are able to identify in others the qualities that will scale your vision, and fill the skills you may lack. You are an entrepreneur if you are an expansive thinker, if you aren’t afraid of growth into new territories, new verticals, new markets, and new strategies. You are an entrepreneur if you believe what got you here won’t get you there. You are an entrepreneur if you understand you have to play the game in order to change the game. You are an entrepreneur if you embrace the emotional, psychological and physical toll that your business may take on you; navigating the highs and lows with grace. You are an entrepreneur if even in your darkest moments, you see the light, embrace the unknown, and move steadfast in the direction of creation.

Thanks to Iman Oubou, SWAAY!

#16 – A Undertaking & Endeavor to Venture to Better the World

Image Credit: Chris Yoko

My definition of entrepreneurship is pretty basic – It’s simple, it’s an undertaking, and endeavor, to venture to better the world. That was the original definition of the word in 13th century French. I think it’s been twisted a bit over time, but I like the old school definition.

Thanks to Chris Yoko, Yoko Co!

#17 – Solve a Problem

Image Credit: Zondra Wilson

An entrepreneur is someone who sets out to solve a problem, in exchange for enough money to achieve their dreams. I’ve found that the most successful entrepreneurs spend time studying others’ successes — what are their processes and daily methods and how can I apply those principles to my own life and business?

Thanks to Zondra Wilson, Blu Skin Care, LLC!

#18 – Disrupts an Existing Standard or Make it Better

Entrepreneurship, to me, means starting a venture that would cause a creative destruction to an old standard that is already existing. Entrepreneurship is not just starting a business. If a person creates a me-too business, that’s all well and good. However, that is not entrepreneurial. That person is simply a business owner. An entrepreneur would create something that, at least, disrupts an existing standard or at least makes it better in one way or another.

Thanks to Steven Jude of TinyQualityHomes.org!

#19 – Do What I Want

Image Credit: Harris Brown

Entrepreneurship means to be able to have the freedom to do what I want and not sit around an office environment and be micro-managed by a boss. To make a bold impact and choose the destiny I want for my career.

Thanks to Harris Brown, HFB Advertising Design!

#20 – Doing What You Love for Profit

Image Credit: Tracey Hecht

To me, being an entrepreneur is 100% about doing what you love for a profit. The profit part is important, otherwise all you have is a hobby or philanthropic endeavor! So first things first, start with something you love, then back in to how to make money at it. That’s the key to being a good entrepreneur because no matter what you do, it will require more work than you anticipate and won’t succeed unless it’s self sustaining. I love writing and creating entertainment. I want that entertainment to have enduring value but I also want commercial success. We write books and then we make movies, but we make money in the whole process

Thanks to Tracey Hecht, Fabled Films Press!

#21 – Swimming Upstream At First

Image Credit: Jordan Wan

To me, entrepreneurship means swimming upstream at first, against market norms and peers who doubt your vision. Then, when your business finally clicks and your vision starts to become reality, your achievements feel magnified and your career has purpose. You get to constantly experiment with new ideas and initiatives in a rapid fashion, without bureaucratic processes and inherent risk-averse corporate environments.

Thanks to Jordan Wan, CloserIQ!

#22 – Create Something that Will Help Solve a Problem for Others

Image Credit: Lauren Tanzer

I see entrepreneurship as an opportunity to create something that will help solve a problem for others. Having worked on the client side of video and marketing campaign photoshoot production, I am hyper-sensitive to the common challenges that would arise in the client/agency working relationship, particularly to costs. When I was starting my company, Summerjax, I wanted to focus on developing a pricing model that made it easy for my clients and actually helped them save money in the long-run. We did exactly that. The wins are the great working relationships we’ve developed with our clients because we put their needs and concerns first. Those good relationships are what makes a great business.

Thanks to Lauren Tanzer, Summerjax!

#23 – Focusing on the Interconnectivity of Systems

Image Credit: Brock Hart

Being an entrepreneur means focusing on the interconnectivity of systems. All businesses exist within a set of systems, all of which interact and change each other. For example, employee happiness impacts employee relationships. Employee relationships impact client relationships and client relationships impact sales, as well as how we feel about our work. Our sales and our excitement about our work impact the quality of work we can deliver, our feelings of efficacy and our business success, which in turn impacts our self-efficacy and how we see ourselves in the world. That, in turn, impacts our employee happiness. And there are many, many other factors at play. As entrepreneurs, we can sometimes get stuck on the bottom line numbers. There’s a bigger narrative that comprises all of these other factors that don’t seem to be directly connected to the business success because they’re not about generating revenue. Entrepreneurs need to take a step back, think about our role in that system and how to foster a healthy system of parts that work well together and support each other.

Thanks to Brock Hart, Overlap Associates!

#24 – Risk Everything for Something You Believe In

Image Credit: Mak McKeehan

Being an entrepreneur is not an occupation. It’s not a hobby and it’s certainly not a dream. By definition most people want to put the entrepreneur into a box and file it under any number of titles. Most associate the word with freedom and risk, excitement and financial independence. In doing so, they’re committing a gross injustice. To be an entrepreneur is to believe in something so much, you’re willing to sacrifice almost everything about who you are to make that something a reality. It’s being blind while seeing more clearly than anyone. It’s solving 1,000 problems in the name of solving a single problem. An entrepreneur is a lifestyle, a state of being. It’s bigger than you and it’s harder than you could ever imagine. And I do not know a single entrepreneur who would trade places with someone who isn’t.

Thanks to Mak McKeehan, Lily & Val!

How Would You Define Entrepreneurship? Tell us in the comments 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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