What Entrepreneurship Means..

More than ever before people are saying, “I want to be an entrepreneur.” It’s one of the latest waves, the newest buzzword but it doesn’t mean anything.

“Dad guess what!”

“What son?”

“I’m going to be an entrepreneur when I’m older.”

This brings us to our question: what does it mean to be an entrepreneur? According to Merriam-Webster an entrepreneur is “one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise.” In our modern tongue, the meaning is much more vague. Many of my fellow-students talk about their dream of being an entrepreneur. There is no such thing as being just “an entrepreneur.” An entrepreneur is not someone who does it just to do it. They work for themselves because they know they can create value. These people cannot stand to let their invention, idea, or concept go unnoticed. If that passion is not inherent in the venture, than I argue that the venture is not worthwhile.

Entrepreneurship exists because of the natural evolution of value creation. People had ideas that they believed were worthy of business ventures. Each town needed entrepreneurs to sustain the local economy, to produce shoes and clothes, to bake bread. In more modern times it has become difficult to operate a business that doesn’t have a sustainable competitive advantage. Corporations wait hungrily at the edge of every innovative idea. For many people this barrier of entry alone proves to be too much. Yet it doesn’t mean that there is reason to sell out or neglect passion, even in Business. 

The above paragraph is one reason why people set aside their dreams, the real substantive ones, and replace them with just another product or idea. This is what happened to the protagonist in the book the Monk and the Riddle. Lenny wanted to make the process of grieving easier in the Internet age by creating an online community for grieving families. Lenny stripped down his idea because of fear of trying something new; he wanted be safe and bring a sure-profit. His business model was changed to selling funeral caskets online at wholesale prices. This business, a passionless enterprise, was a fearful rendition of his earlier plan to connect deceased families over the Internet. Lenny changed his idea because he thought the funeral casket business would be more successful. He believed it made more sense in a traditional business mold, he was wrong.

This happens often: people operate outside of their vision because they believe that it is too difficult to do otherwise. They’re not wrong. It is immensely difficult. However, most people neglect the value of starting their own business. People like you who start businesses are passionate about reinvigorating their lives and community. You are creating art. You do it because you care.

Read more in my next post about the value of following your own path.

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