“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” — Peter Drucker
What is entrepreneurship?
Entrepreneurship is building a new business from the ground up. It means coming up with an idea for a business that you think will be successful and then doing the work to make it a reality—including by raising money to get started, developing a brand, producing products, and managing the business.
All big businesses start out as someone’s idea, but not all entrepreneurs need to aim so high. Any type of business can be a form of entrepreneurship, including:
- Selling your services as a freelancer or contractor
- Developing an app
- Creating and selling art
- Starting a food truck
Pros and cons
“Entrepreneurship is about turning what excites you in life into capital so that you can do more of it and move forward with it.” — Richard Branson
Goals of entrepreneurship
There are plenty of benefits to running your own successful business, but it’s still a ton of work. Entrepreneurship can mean making your own hours and (eventually) writing your own paycheck, but many entrepreneurs start businesses for other reasons.
Some other perks of being your own boss can include:
Being the brains of the operation
- Hiring staff to manage the day-to-day aspects of your business can free you to focus on high-level strategy and growth.
Enjoying a steady stream of income
- Some businesses, such as selling your intellectual property to others, may let you receive regular income without significant ongoing investment.
Selling your company
- With a good idea, some hard work, and a little luck, your startup might be bought out by a larger competitor for a handsome sum.
Find an idea
Solve a problem for people.
Create a product that fills a need.
See what others are doing.
Find out if demand is strong.
Make a plan
Design your product or service.
Outline steps to build your business and your brand.
Does your business need capital?
If so, consider your assets, loans, crowdfunding, and other sources.
Do the boring stuff
Pick a name, get a website, file for any
necessary licenses, choose your business
structure (sole proprietorship, LLC, partnership),
talk to a CPA about taxes.
Get the word out
Before you launch, start promoting your
business online and in social media.
Consider creating an advertising budget to
increase your reach as your business grows.
Bring it to life
Launch your website, open your doors.
A business doesn’t have to be perfect right away.
Get as close as you can and tweak things along the way.
“Chase the vision, not the money. The money will end up following you.” — Tony Hsieh
Where can I get ideas?
Keep a journal and make a note any time you think of:
- Products or services that you wish existed but can’t find
- Ideas for anything that would fulfill a need many people share
- Ways existing products or services could be better
- Ways to help people access information or products more easily
You don’t have to wait until you have your Big Idea™ to start your entrepreneurship journey. There are already tons of ways to start your own small business to get the entrepreneurship ball rolling:
- Sell things you own or make through an auction site or build your own retail site (Etsy, Shopify, Bonanza)
- Sell your services or labor (Craigslist, Fiverr)
- Start freelancing online (Upwork, Freelancer, Guru)
Myths about entrepreneurship
Many people think it takes something special to become an entrepreneur, such as an advanced degree, a ton of money, or a sky-high IQ. Really, though, anyone with an idea for a product or service that other people will pay for and the guts to put in the work can become an entrepreneur.
- Myth 1: You need a college degree to start a business.
- Reality: Many very successful business owners actually dropped out of school or weren’t very good students. Education is important, but intelligence and drive aren’t limited to the classroom.
- Myth 2: You have to be rich to start a business.
- Reality: While some businesses require a lot of money to get off the ground (such as a restaurant), other businesses (such as a website selling online services) need very little. Plus, the rise of sites such as Kickstarter and GoFundMe means it’s easier than ever for entrepreneurs to raise funds.
- Myth 3: Everything has already been done.
- Reality: Many successful businesses are based on existing products and services—there’s always room for improvement. If your idea is good enough to compete, you might end up having your business bought out by a big competitor. Cha-ching!!
- Myth 4: Failure is your enemy.
- Reality: Most successful entrepreneurs don’t hit it out of the park on their first try. Many even have a long string of failed businesses before they find the right fit. Learn from your mistakes, but don’t be afraid of making them.
“I’m convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the nonsuccessful ones is pure perseverance.” — Steve Jobs
- Famous entrepreneurs Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates were all college dropouts.
- Many famous business owners—such as Oprah Winfrey and Elon Musk—are “serial entrepreneurs” who start many different businesses and try new things all the time.
- More than 15.5 million Americans are self-employed.
- Entrepreneurship means building a business from the ground up.
- Anyone can be an entrepreneur, regardless of education or finances.
- Entrepreneurs take on both the risks and rewards of their businesses.
- Keeping track of business ideas in a journal can help you find your focus.
- You don’t need an idea for the next Facebook or Amazon to become an entrepreneur. You can start by selling your services or products as a freelancer or through an online business.
Entrepreneurship may sound like a fancy word, but it really just means taking the leap to build a business of your own. Starting your own business can mean building an online store, creating a podcast, starting a restaurant—anything you can do that others will pay for. If you have an idea, the will to take on risks, and the drive to make your idea a reality, you can be an entrepreneur.