While the definition of entrepreneurship has remained constant for decades, opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs have certainly come a long way.
Think about it: What opportunities did an entrepreneur have 100 years ago? If you didn’t have the ability to make something and didn’t have the capital to buy something, you were out of luck.
Fast forward to today, and there are 582 million entrepreneurs in the world. Opportunities have exploded.
Today we’re going to take a closer look at what it means to be an entrepreneur. You’ll also hear from some modern online entrepreneurs who explain how they made the leap and how you can too.
What is entrepreneurship?
Entrepreneurship is the act of starting a business or a company while building and scaling it to make a profit.
But as a basic definition of entrepreneurship, this is somewhat limiting. The more modern definition of entrepreneurship is also about changing the world by solving big problems. Like bringing about social change or creating an innovative product that challenges the status quo of our daily lives.
What the definition of entrepreneurship doesn’t tell you is that entrepreneurship is what people do to take control of their careers and dreams and lead them in the direction they want to go.
It’s about making a life on your own terms. No bosses. No restrictive schedules. And no one holding you back. Entrepreneurs can take the first step toward making the world a better place – for everyone, including themselves.
What is an entrepreneur? Entrepreneur Definition
An entrepreneur is a person who starts a business with the goal of making a profit.
This business definition can be a bit vague, but for good reason. An entrepreneur can be a person who is setting up their first online store on the side, or a freelancer who is just starting out.
The reason they are considered an entrepreneur, although some disagree, is because you don’t necessarily end up where you start.
An entrepreneur is someone who starts a side business that can eventually create a full-time, sustainable business with employees. The same is true for the freelancer. If your entrepreneurial mindset is focused on creating a profitable business, you fit the entrepreneur definition.
But the entrepreneur meaning involves much more than being a business or job creator.
These are some of the most powerful transformers in the world. From Elon Musk sending humans to Mars to Bill Gates and Steve Jobs making computers a part of every household, entrepreneurs imagine the world differently.
And the entrepreneur definition rarely talks about the enormous impact these thought leaders have on the world.
Entrepreneurs see opportunities and solutions where the average person sees only trouble and problems.
Understanding what an entrepreneur is can help more people see the value they – and already – can contribute to the world.
What does entrepreneurship mean?
The meaning of entrepreneurship involves an entrepreneur taking action to change the world. Whether startup entrepreneurs are solving a problem that many struggle with every day, bringing people together in a way that no one has before, or building something revolutionary that moves society forward, they all have one thing in common: action.
It’s not an idea that’s stuck in your head. Entrepreneurs take the idea and execute it. Entrepreneurship is about the execution of ideas.
Importance of entrepreneurship
Why is entrepreneurship so important? Let’s take a look at some of the top reasons.
Entrepreneurs create jobs: Without entrepreneurs, there would be no jobs. Entrepreneurs take the risk of employing themselves. Their ambition to continue growing their business ultimately leads to the creation of new jobs. As their business continues to grow, even more jobs are created.
Entrepreneurs innovate: Some of the greatest technologies in society today come from entrepreneurs. Technological advancement comes from the need to solve a problem, create efficiencies, or make the world a better place. In times when there is more advancement in technology, there is usually an entrepreneur to thank for it.
Entrepreneurs create change: entrepreneurs dream big. Of course, some of their ideas will create global change. They might create a new product that solves a burning problem or take on the challenge of exploring something that has never been explored before. Many aim to make the world a better place with their products, ideas or businesses.
Entrepreneurs give to society: while some have this idea that the rich are evil and greedy, they often do more for the common good than the average person. They make more money and use it to pay more taxes, which helps fund social services. Entrepreneurs are some of the biggest donors to charities and non-profit organizations for various causes. Some try to invest their money in creating solutions to help poorer communities access things we take for granted, like clean drinking water and good health care.
Every entrepreneur has their own “why” that led them to be their own boss. Whether entrepreneurs need more freedom or influence, they all take control of their lives by living life on their own terms.
Here are some of the reasons people become entrepreneurs:
To change the world: Many entrepreneurs strive to make the world a better place. Whether entrepreneurs believe in space exploration, eradicating poverty, or creating a practical but breakthrough product, they ultimately build a brand in service to others. Some entrepreneurs use their business to raise capital quickly to flow into their noble causes.
They don’t want a boss: Entrepreneurs often struggle with having a boss. They may feel stifled and held back. Some entrepreneurs may feel they have a more effective way of doing things. Others may dislike the lack of creative freedom. Ultimately, they are drawn to entrepreneurship to succeed on their own terms. Take a look at 10 obvious signs that you should be working for yourself.
They want flexible hours: Entrepreneurship is popular with those who need flexible hours. For example, many people with disabilities often enjoy entrepreneurship because it allows them to work when they are able. Parents can raise their children at home or pick them up from school without feeling guilty. Students get the flexibility to work around their demanding schedules and courseloads.
They want to work from anywhere: In addition to work schedule flexibility, entrepreneurship is popular with those who don’t want to be tied to a specific location. Entrepreneurs may not want to work in the same place every day, as this can quickly become boring.
They may not be able to get a job: Many find a way into entrepreneurship when they can’t get a job. Instead of being defeated by their situation, they create new opportunities for themselves. A new graduate might open an online store the summer after graduation to build their resume. A parent laid off in the coronavirus economy might start a business to ensure they can continue to feed their family while keeping a roof over their head.
They don’t fit into the corporate environment: entrepreneurs often say that stuffy corporate environments limit their growth. You can spot an entrepreneur in a corporate environment because they are usually trying to gain more control over their role and better understand how everything fits together.
They are curious: Entrepreneurs love to find out the answer to the question, “What happens if…” They are experimental and love to learn. They regularly read business books to advance their knowledge. Entrepreneurship naturally appeals to them because it allows them to learn the most in the shortest amount of time. Their curiosity allows them to continue to grow.
They are ambitious: Those who love to achieve difficult goals and milestones are entrepreneurs. Since there are no limits to what they can achieve, their projects always become bigger and better than they ever imagined. When obstacles arise, they find the workaround to their goal. There is no stopping them.
Entrepreneurs increase national income: Entrepreneurship creates new wealth in an economy. New ideas and improved products or services from entrepreneurs enable the growth of new markets and new wealth.
Why people become entrepreneurs
Examples of entrepreneurs
Walt Disney became one of the most recognizable names in the world. You know him from the Walt Disney Company and theme parks like Disneyland and Walt Disney World. His brand started with the Mickey Mouse character and eventually expanded to include thousands of characters and whimsical fantasy worlds.
But it wasn’t always smooth sailing. He faced challenges like people stealing his work and many commercial failures, but he pushed on and stayed committed to his vision.
Mark Zuckerberg created several products before building Facebook. He created an instant messaging tool that his father used to communicate with his receptionist at his dentist’s office.
Zuckerberg also created music software that Microsoft and AOL were interested in, even though he was only a teenager. Within the year he first started Facebook, it already had 1 million users. Today, Mark Zuckerberg has a net profit of $68.3 billion.
Sara Blakely first launched her Spanx brand in 1998, she was one of the first makers of women’s leggings. Her brand specializes in shapewear and also includes items such as bras, panties and hosiery.
She is also the inventor of arm tights, which allow women to wear their summer clothes year-round. At one point, Blakely was the youngest self-made female billionaire.
As a startup entrepreneur, there are so many ideas you can pursue, depending on the business skills you already have and what you’re willing to learn. Here are a handful of business ideas to help you get started:
E-commerce store owner
Freelancing (write a blog, accountant, designer)
Teaching (online courses, author)
App creator (chatbots, social media apps)
Service based business (food delivery, cleaning, dog walking)
Consultant based business (wedding planner, life coach)
Vacation rentals (Airbnb)
- Marketing companies (influencer marketing, SEO brands, PR firms)
Affiliate marketing (Amazon affiliate, Clickbank, etc.)
Bloggers (product reviews, niche blog, magazine)
Vlogger (start a YouTube channel, Twitch)
Are you ready to be an entrepreneur?
There is no one right way to be an entrepreneur. These people come in all shapes and sizes and can impact virtually every aspect of life as we know it.
In a field with so much diversity, there are some things that all entrepreneurs have in common: They are full of passion and ambition, and they use that as a driving force to build empires that solve some of the world’s toughest problems.
If you’re trying to make your mark in the world or advance society – or even free yourself from the exhausting and inflexible 9-to-5 job, you may be an entrepreneur.
Trust your gut, follow your instincts, and always keep your mind open to learning and exploring new opportunities that come your way.
You may have customers who are interested in your product or service, but if you don’t listen to their complaints, you will soon run out of customers.
Take your customers seriously, treat their complaints with respect, and listen.
They may think you are giving them value, but they may not agree.
Your customers know what they want, and they will tell you what they think.
A smart and successful business owner listens to those complaints and uses that information to fix the company’s weaknesses.
- exceed expectations
If you deliver more than you promised, you are sure to have satisfied customers, investors and business partners.
Making promises and not delivering is a quick way to lose your business.
Successful entrepreneurs, on the other hand, exceed expectations.
- manage risks
Remember when I said you should take risks? Yes, you should. But you shouldn’t take every risk that presents itself.
Instead, manage your risks.
Learn to identify which risks are worth taking and which you should walk away from.
For example, if you know you don’t fit the mold of a typical entrepreneur, figure out how you can better fit in and limit the risk of being skipped over because of your difference.
As a successful entrepreneur, you must learn to recognize what risks to take, but also when to take risks.
Taking risks is not just what the risk is, but when you take the risk.
Earlier in starting your business, Taking a risk may have a much lower probability of failure than towards the end of starting your business.
Be sure to recognize where you are in the entrepreneurial cycle when calculating what risks to take.
Learn to manage your risks and you will be a much more successful entrepreneur.
- read case studies
As an entrepreneur you will be swamped with your business, need to take care of it all time.So when you get home and have some free time, you might be tempted to read fiction or books for entertainment.
So when you get home and have some free time, you might be tempted to read fiction or books for entertainment.
Instead, I encourage you to read case studies. Read biographies of successful entrepreneurs. Read anything you can get your hands on about those who have already succeeded.
There is always something to learn from those who have already done it.
I think it’s especially important to learn from the mistakes of others. If you learn from their mistakes, you don’t have to make those mistakes yourself.
And when you make mistakes yourself, you definitely learn from them.
The more you learn from their mistakes and successes, the faster you can grow your business and become a successful entrepreneur.
Many people don’t want to self-promote or talk about their business too much for fear of sounding like an ego maniac.
But if you don’t promote your business, who will?
Egotistical self-promotion and self-promotion can be differentiated.
Know your business, know some vital statistics, and have your 15-second elevator pitch polished and ready to go. Then, when someone asks you about your business, you can promote it factually and quickly.
Another way to promote yourself without sounding cocky is to know what your customers are saying about your business. When someone asks how your business is doing, you can share your customer feedback with them.
Don’t forget to provide some of the bad as well as the good.
- set company culture
There may have been a time when company culture wasn’t important, but with social media and the 24-hour news cycle, your company and employees are always under scrutiny.
Your attitude, beliefs and morals set the tone for the rest of your company and culture. Cough, Uber, Cough.
Set a positive company culture from day one and you’re more likely to work with people you like who inspire you and attract great clients.
Many entrepreneurs work with family, from home and even across borders. It’s important to define and know what you want your company culture to look like.
- network, network, network
There is no such thing as too much networking. Well, there is, I think. Don’t let networking get in the way of building your business.
What I will say is that you should never stop networking because you never know where your next lead is going to come from.
And you’re not alone. If you network with enough people, you’re likely to bump into another entrepreneur who has the ideas and connections you need.
You might find a new connection while grabbing a beer at the airport bar, you might meet your next business partner in an elevator on the way to a meeting, and you just never know who will be sitting next to you on the bus.
Meet everyone you come in contact with and have a quick chat. You never know who you will be sitting next to and what connections or resources they may be able to offer you.
- learn and create
The successful entrepreneurial mindset is one of learning and creating. As an entrepreneur, you always want to be absorbing and creating new information.
This kind of mindset can be exhausting and taxing, but without it, you’re not going anywhere.
To stay in the learning and creating mindset, stay away from television, social media, and movies. This type of entertainment causes us to be passive and just absorb information.
Follow everything in moderation, but in general, these activities are time wasters for entrepreneurs. Limiting your entertainment time is a sacrifice that must be made to become a successful entrepreneur.
Instead of watching TV and movies, read case studies and meditate. Take care of your mind and body in a constructive, healing way.
It may “feel good” to watch TV, but it’s not actually a rejuvenating way to relax.
To be a successful entrepreneur, find relaxing activities that help restore your learner-creator mindset.
- deliver, not sell
Honestly, no one likes to be sold. I mean seriously, who likes to go to the parking lot and buy a new car? We all know what we’re getting into and dread it.
So, instead of selling to your potential customers, deliver. Offer them a free trial and deliver a great product.
Research has shown that giving away a free product or trial is two times more effective on social media than the usual hard-sell tactic.
If your company delivers a great product or service, you’ll build customer loyalty faster than you can say, “Successful entrepreneur.”
- baby steps
Building a successful entrepreneurial business can seem daunting, and that’s okay. Building a business from the ground up is a massive undertaking.
But I have a foolproof tactic: abandon it.
Any problem that seems insurmountable, break it down into baby steps.
Once you’ve broken it down into baby steps, take them one at a time. Before you know it, by just putting one foot in front of the other, you’ll be halfway up the mountain.
With grit and perseverance, Baby Steps will take you far toward being a successful entrepreneur.
- put it all on your calendar
You think I’m kidding, but I’m not. Put it all on your calendar.
Think something doesn’t need to be on your calendar? It does.
Put your meetings, quiet work times, time with friends, happy hour business meetings, kids soccer games, workouts, meal times, and anything else you do on your calendar.
Once something is on your calendar, everyone who needs to meet with you knows there is no time available.
And then no meeting is scheduled when you “intended” to go to the gym. Exercise is important for entrepreneurs for many reasons,and I have more on that later.
Once everything is on your calendar, these are no longer excuses for not getting it done.
I also want to draw your attention to one of the elements I’ve included: Quiet Work Time. This is the time when you can work, problem solve, or think creatively without being interrupted.
Everyone needs these periods of time. To be a successful entrepreneur, protect your quiet work hours with your life. The success of your business may depend on them.
Did you know that sitting all day is bad for your health? It is.
Being a successful entrepreneur is not just about running a profitable business. Run yourself too ragged managing this business and you might not get to enjoy its success.
You need to take care of yourself and your business. One of the many self-care tasks I recommend is exercise.
Be sure to book time in your calendar to move and get out of your chair.
Maybe go to yoga, take walks, climb the stairs instead of taking the elevator, or just go to the gym.
Build time into your calendar each week (dare I hope for every day?) to be physically active and take care of your body and your business.
A sick or unhealthy entrepreneur is not a successful entrepreneur.
The life of a successful entrepreneur can feel scattered and disconnected, but it’s important to limit the amount of time you spend multitasking.
Research has shown time and time again that multitasking doesn’t work. Humans are not capable of it.
And yes, multitasking involves distracting yourself from your phone and email tabs. Close them and put them away.
Learn to focus and take your time on just one task. When you give one task your full attention, you are more likely to complete it and complete it well.
It’s also important to know that too many tasks on your to-do list can make you ineffective and distracted.
Learn to focus your to-do list on the tasks you can complete in your allotted time.
For example, each night, set the three tasks you will do the following day. Each month, set the overall goal for your business that you want to accomplish in the next 30 days.
These techniques can help you learn how to focus and manage your business more effectively
25 take your time
We finally made it to the end that I think is the hardest thing for successful entrepreneurs to put into practice.
And yes, I really mean that you need to take time off. Americans don’t do it enough.
You may not need time off every day or every week, but you do need to take time off. If all you do is work, you’ll burn out. Quick.
I think that’s the biggest challenge for entrepreneurs because they often see themselves as invincible or think they have to be invincible.
No, we’re all human and we all need time off.
Time off allows your brain to roam, rest and think. Have you ever wondered why you think so many ideas in the shower? It’s because your brain has free range to just think and roam.
Even the most successful entrepreneurs don’t work all the time. Everyone needs time off, so don’t be ashamed of being human and normal.
When you take time off, notify your employees in advance and let them know why it’s important to you.
Teaching your employees the importance of time off will help them respect your time off and recognize when they need time off.
By the way, you should also give your employees time off. They are human too and will take occasional breaks.
Take time off before you need it and recognize that it is important to heal, create and become a more successful entrepreneur.
Do you agree that this is the most difficult tip to work on in your life?
You don’t know everything. No one does.
So ask for help, advice, mentors, and anything else you need. When you ask questions, you get information.
The more information you have, the more connections you can make and the easier it will be to run your business.
Asking questions also helps you stay in a learning mindset and accept advice and information.
Learners and those who ask questions are more likely to become successful entrepreneurs.
Failure is an option.
Better to accept it now then later. You will fail eventually.
Failure is one aspect of becoming a successful entrepreneur, so you better get used to it now.
27. be inspired
Being an entrepreneur is a creative pursuit. As an entrepreneur, you need to make connections, solve problems, and create new things that no one has thought of yet.
Creators and creatives need to be inspired.
Successful entrepreneurs make time for the things that inspire them.
Maybe your inspiration comes from an art museum, maybe it’s reading books, maybe it’s doodling -whatever inspires you, do it. It’s good for your business.
Successful entrepreneurs are inspired. Don’t let the magic slip away for too long. Whenever you can, and definitely when you’re feeling burned out, get out there and get inspired.
Inspiration is the spark for ideas. Ideas make successful entrepreneurs.
28. Help others
Entrepreneurs are busy, so this tip sometimes trips them up. It’s easy to think ” ” I don’t have time to help others! I’m already so busy!”
But helping others can be inspiring and massively beneficial.
How good does it feel to help others? And as an entrepreneur, you have a network to share your expertise with and jobs to hire for. Why wouldn’t you help others?
If you help someone, they will probably find a way to help you. It may not be today or tomorrow, but somewhere in the future they will help you when you need it.
Helping others is also a great way to build a loyal and supportive network around you.
Successful entrepreneurs help the people they meet.
If you help someone, they will likely find a way to help you. It may not be today or tomorrow, but somewhere in the future they will help you when you need it.
Helping others is also a great way to build a loyal and supportive network around you.
Successful entrepreneurs help the people they meet.
Success in business doesn’t require overnight success. In fact, that’s largely a myth.
As I’ve shown in these 30 tips, you need to take a long-term strategy and build in small steps until it’s successful.
You can do it, but only if you are aware of the potential pitfalls and are willing to fail.
It’s also important to give and accept help. Entrepreneurship is not a solitary pursuit. It takes a village, as you say.
Finding success as an entrepreneur is no easy task, but with these simple tips, I hope it gets just a little bit easier.
Remember, my biggest challenge to all entrepreneurs out there is to take time out and listen to complaints. I think these tips are often forgotten, but are so important to being a successful entrepreneur.