Entrepreneur. A word you hear thrown around often but most are unsure or unclear what it really means. In fact, we’ve had many conversations with women, especially working mothers, who, in our definition, qualify as entrepreneurs but who have given us that puzzled look and said, “No way! I’m not an entrepreneur.”
So who or what is an entrepreneur?
Merriam-Webster defines Entrepreneur as “one who organizes, manages and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise.”
Dictionary.com says Entrepreneur is “a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.”
In the simplest and purest terms, an entrepreneur is anyone who finds a need and fills a void.
We looked at how respected founders and CEOs define this ambiguous and sometimes foreign word.
“Entrepreneurship is at the core of the American dream. It’s about blazing new trails, about believing in yourself, your mission and inspiring others to join you in the journey. What sets [entrepreneurs] apart is the will, courage and sometimes recklessness to actually do it.” – Derek Hutson, CEO of Datical
“Entrepreneurship is the persistent progression towards an innovative solution to a key problem. It’s the constant hunger for making things better and the idea that you are never satisfied with how things are.” – Debbie Roxarzade, founder and CEO of Rachel’s Kitchen
“Being an entrepreneur is like heading out into uncharted territory. It’s rarely obvious what to do next, and you have to rely on yourself a lot when you run into problems. There are many days when you feel like things will never work out and you’re operating at a loss for endless months. You have to be able to stomach the roller coaster of emotions that comes with striking out on your own.” – Amanda Austin, founder and president of Little Shop of Miniatures
“At its core, [entrepreneurship] is a mindset – a way of thinking and acting. It is about imagining new ways to solve problems and create value. Fundamentally, entrepreneurship is about … the ability to recognize [and] methodically analyze [an] opportunity, and ultimately, to capture [its] value.” – Bruce Bachenheimer, clinical professor of management and executive director of the Entrepreneurship Lab at Pace University.
Working mothers, us included, often struggle with owning the title of entrepreneur, but there are so many themes listed above that resonate with life, not just business.
“Constant hunger for making things better and the idea that you are never satisfied with how things are,” “heading into uncharted territory, rarely obvious what to do next, you have to rely on yourself a lot when you run into problems,” “believing in yourself, your mission and inspiring others to join you,” “a way of thinking and acting, imagining new ways to solve problems and create value.”
Most of us would say what we’ve described is not entrepreneurship but merely survival because that is what we do every single day as we try to keep all the balls in the air.
But if we may, let us challenge you for a moment in considering the possibility of actually embracing, thinking, and feeling like an entrepreneur. Some of you may be saying, “No way! I am not an entrepreneur,” but what if you actually became an entrepreneur? The entrepreneur of your life… and you ran it like a business? Not just going through the motions of life or being on autopilot everyday like most of us do but actually deciding that you are the boss…of…your…life. Digest that thought for just a second.
Would that look and feel differently than how life currently looks for you? Does it feel scary? Powerful?
Our modern day working mommas are Joanna Gaines, Tory Burch, Angie Hicks, Sheila Lirio Marcelo, Sarah Blakely, and JK Rowling… These working moms saw a need and filled it with shiplap, sandals, a database of reliable & trusted providers, spanx, and books. And while we segment these women as designer, innovator, advisor, and author, ultimately they are all entrepreneurs of their own lives. They all made a choice to run their lives like a business. On their terms. In their way. By their own standards. They didn’t default to societal norms or what their friends/family said they should do. These women made a difference to the world by filling their own internal hunger and desire to want more, do more, and be more. And they did it while balancing kids, home, work, and life. I believe, if we were to ask them what driving need launched it all for them, their answer would be “a void of emptiness and an internal need to do something that just wasn’t quite right, the desire to want more on their terms.”
These women listened to that little voice that said, “there has to be more” and people loved it. To be exact, women loved it.
Let’s talk numbers for just a second. Did you know that 85% of all purchases are made by women? Or the fact that “the global incomes of women are predicted to reach a staggering $18 trillion by 2018.” And 36% of all businesses are owned by women (an increase of 30% since 2007). Let’s just all agree that we are badasses, because if you are reading this you are a part of those statistics! Anyone interested in shopping to celebrate?
Let’s get down to business. If you have those same voices of wanting more, doing more, and being more don’t ignore them or push them aside. Let’s change the way we all think about defining and designing our lives. Become an entrepreneur of your own life, and be someone who takes charge of having the life you dream about. Believe in yourself. Have the courage to look at your past, and use it as a launching pad to design a better future all the while recognizing your value from within. When you recognize the internal need and fill it, you will dramatically impact the external world.
Begin by saying,“I am the boss of my life.” Congratulations! You are now an entrepreneur!