In the year Since 2011, November has been celebrated as National Entrepreneurship Month in the US to recognize business owners who serve their communities and strengthen the US economy by creating jobs for millions of people.
For people like me, this time is special. It’s not like there are some big celebrations, or gifts, or songs, or even a Hallmark card selection. No, we respect people who take risks to bring their ideas to market – and sometimes it’s just an idea that wins big.
In my view, the entrepreneur is the unsung hero of our economy.
Instinct often plays an important role in the life of an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs are also problem solvers. Entrepreneurs live in a mysterious world of inspiration, creativity and consciousness. In addition, they often tap into their “inner child”, they are passionate, uninhibited and have a tendency to constantly experiment. These features are not exactly prevalent in the mainstream business.
It is said that Eli Whitney got the idea for the cotton gin from watching a fox try to invade his chicken coop. The fox couldn’t get in, but managed to get most of the feathers from the hunter through the mesh. Whitney then began experimenting with a clutch or rake to pull the cotton fiber through the grid and leave the seeds behind.
Nina Blanchard, like many entrepreneurs, was accused of owning a franchised modeling school after failing in business. She invested her last $300 in a Los Angeles modeling agency, thinking that most of the models her school trained needed work.
Photographers immediately started calling but she announced her models would not be available for fear of not being ready for prime time. Blanchard Agency models are spread around the city as they are always booked, which attracts other models who want to be represented by the hottest agency in town.
Jasper “Jack” Newton Daniel was a 7-year-old boy living in a small Tennessee town when he was hired as a houseboy to a Lutheran minister who was also a merchant, farmer, and distiller. Jack was interested in the secrets of making moonshine and sour mash.
When the chief’s assembly pressed him to choose between the pulpit and his business, he gave him the opportunity to buy his now 13-year-old disciple on credit. In 1866, Jack Daniels bought his eponymous whiskey business.
We Boeing was a lumber merchant as well as a hobby aviator. He got into the business of building planes when his own plane broke down and he couldn’t find replacement parts.
When Whitney Wolfe Heard created Bumble in 2004, she overturned traditional dating by letting women make the first move. Within a year, the app reached over 80 million matches. She became the world’s youngest self-made billionaire and youngest female CEO by taking a company public in the United States.
Wolf Herd dethroned Katrina Lake as the youngest woman to take over the company. Lake She founded her online clothing repair company, Stitch Fix, in 2011 before taking it public in 2017.
I’m surprised my own story compares to these stars, but after more than 60 years in business, I’m very satisfied that the leap of faith I took was worth it. Of course, there are a few things I would do differently. But I never wavered in my determination to make it work.
The moral of MackayThe first step to getting anywhere is deciding that you are not willing to stay where you are.
Harvey Mackay is a Minneapolis businessman. Contact him at 612-378-6202 or email [email protected].