Entrepreneurship isn’t for the faint of heart, but for some people it’s a way of life. It’s like breathing in and breathing out. It seems to come as second nature. For others, it’s a little harder. Either way, entrepreneurship is all about taking risks, albeit measured ones.
The word entrepreneur is derived from the French word, “entreprendre.” The Oxford dictionary defines an entrepreneur as “a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.” The key words here are risk and hope. There are no guarantees.
What makes a good entrepreneur? A successful entrepreneur is likely to be a self starter, fairly good with money, adaptable, and willing to try new things.
Entrepreneurship also tends to run in families. An example would be a family in which Dad has an insurance business and Mom has a consulting business. It’s fairly predictable that one or more of their children will also go on to own their own business.
My family is a prime example. My father and mother were in the farming business and operated a small dairy farm. I grew up knowing what it meant to risk. We put our seed in the ground every spring in hopes of a good crop and good prices. Sometimes the crops were good and sometimes they weren’t so good, but we always got by.
My parents went through a particularly hard time during the 1980’s. They weren’t the only ones. This was a very difficult time for most farmers. It was a period in history when interest rates went as high as 21.5%.
The problem started in 1980 when Dad and Mom decided to build a new barn. It was a beautiful barn, but right after they built it, interest rates skyrocketed. The timing of their investment could not have been worse.
They were lean years, but we made it through. We learned how to work together, how to be creative, how to work hard, and how to trust God.
I and all my siblings went on to become business owners. One of the traits of true entrepreneurs is a fierce spirit of independence. We all have it, in the bone. I’ve had my own consulting business for nearly twenty years. Prior to that, I was part-owner of a small retail business.
It took a while for a couple of my siblings to step out on their own, but they’ve all had their own business – one has a marketing firm, one has a farm, another had a business that provides home-care for the elderly, and the other one had a sewing business.
Entrepreneurs have to be comfortable with risk. They have to move away from a regular weekly salary, step out on the waters, so to speak, and make things happen.
Do you have what it takes?
It has been a privilege to work with Michelle on a series of trainings related to community and business development for entrepreneurs. Michelle wrote a compelling grant and has continued to manage the project beautifully. She is strategic, intentional and brings a unique creativity to the table. I look forward to finding additional opportunities for collaboration.