Entrepreneurship is certainly a noble and necessary vocation. One I would highly recommend. Not because it is a pathway to millionaire status or untold riches, as those are as long a shot as winning the Powerball Jackpot.
But because entrepreneurship provides those who have the courage, drive, and desire the opportunity for self-expression, empowerment, and autonomous freedom. The rewards of such self-actualization, in time, far exceed any monetary or status payoff that one might be lucky enough to receive.
I justify this by saying that at life’s end we never have regrets for what we did, only for what we did not do.
The great news is that entering the world of entrepreneurship is quite easy, and therefore accessible to those who are willing to embrace the inherent risks and possesses an “I Want to Win” attitude. Anyone who harbors an entrepreneurial dream can take the leap of faith to pursue that dream.
And what about the risk? Not to worry, risk is simply the cost of an opportunity. Nothing of value is free or cheap, and those who truly want to follow their entrepreneurial dream are willing to pay this cost.
There are some people who express themselves by writing poetry or novels. Some do it by painting or sculpting. Others by building model airplanes or pre-war hot rods. And still others express themselves by creating a business from scratch.
The entrepreneur, like the author or songwriter, has something to say and their forum is the business world. Their melody is a vision that blends an entrepreneurial dream with commitment to act. The lyrics are their forward motion with a clear and simple message: “I want to win.”
There is a pastry shop here in Tampa that my wife and I visit regularly. In fact the woman who owns the shop, Kim, created our wedding cake. Every item she sells in her shop is an act of self-expression.
Today she feels like salted caramel frosting on a double chocolate cake, and that’s what is prominently sitting in the display among the other works of art she has created. And because this is her body of work, an expression and reflection of Kim, the quality is never compromised.
Self-expression is not limited to those business pursuits where a physical object is created. It is most certainly found in less creative, service-oriented businesses, too. The mechanic who fine-tunes a sophisticated engine or the plumber who finds a hidden leak is no less expressive.
Empowerment is leadership manifested through the act of entrepreneurial self-expression.
The moment a theoretical concept, idea, or invention is transformed into a business; the entrepreneur has accepted the role of leader and thus is empowered to build an organization, not of ideas but of people executing your vision. The entrepreneur has control over their journey of success rather than being a participant in someone else’s quest.
Empowerment is not absolute control over subordinates but is the acceptance of responsibility and the act of delegation. Leadership is not “me” having control over you. Leadership is “me” showing and guiding you. And leadership recognizes that empowerment must be offered to everyone throughout the organization.
A leader, with an entrepreneurial mindset, isn’t looking for credit or accolades, they are looking for results. By empowering those who are dedicating themselves to building your dream you effectively create a trusting bond and an individual who is committed.
Empowerment does require three things: a strong character, being a benevolent advocate of change, and a willingness to encourage a culture of failure. To lead you need to have your moral compass pointed toward absolute integrity.
Nothing in business creates more fear than change. Yet without change a business is on a slippery slope toward irrelevance. And when you allow those you lead the latitude to try and fail, without retribution, innovation and creativity will flow effortlessly.
The most patriotic deed you can perform for your country, community, family and yourself, besides serving in the military, is entrepreneurship.
So often we look at the huge, multinational corporations as the drivers and guardians of our economy when the truth is the millions of small businesses across America deserve the credit.
A strong, thriving economy is the result of America’s entrepreneurs embracing the risk of self-reliance and venturing out to create their own opportunities. New small business start-ups create over three million new jobs each year. The solution to getting this country back on its feet and moving in a positive direction won’t happen because of the government.
It requires the fruitful minds and determined drive of everyday citizens who enthusiastically embrace risk and begin the entrepreneurial journey.
The greatest news of all is that anyone can be an entrepreneur. The idea that entrepreneurs are only post MBA wiz-kids whose goal is to create the next Facebook is as much a fallacy as the existence of Bigfoot.
Real entrepreneurs are all around us. They are our next-door neighbor, friends, relatives, and complete strangers standing next to us in the grocery checkout lines. They blend into the fabric of daily life, unnoticed; yet their impact on our American Way of life is formidable.
Real life entrepreneurs look like you.
Proof of the vast importance of entrepreneurship is obvious within your community. Drive through any commercial section of your town or city and you will begin to see the extent of small business’ influence.
One small business next to another next to another, each the realization of a dream by an individual who was willing to facedown risk for the opportunity to be a business owner.
Now multiple this small section of America by the thousands of streets that look just like it, spread across this country and you can begin to see the overwhelming infiltration of our society and importance entrepreneurship has in driving our economy.
However the importance of entrepreneurship extends beyond its economic impact.
With the birth of every new business the competitive landscape becomes more intense and therefore drives entrepreneurs to be more innovative, productive and responsive to consumer needs. We all benefit because of the ambition of a vast collection of risk taking entrepreneurs.
Follow your dream, embrace risk and create a plan for success, be an entrepreneur.
Truly entrepreneurship is a worthy and noble vocation, one that I would highly recommend to anyone who has the courage to embrace risk and an “I want to win” attitude.
Are you proud to be an entrepreneur? Brag on yourself by joining the conversation on Twitter!