Posted Mar 6, 2020 by Anastasia Prokofieva

What Is an Entrepreneur?

“Entrepreneur is a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.” That’s the dictionary definition of entrepreneurship. Fair enough.

And for posterity, here’s another definition from Michael E. Gerber, founder of a business skills training company: “The entrepreneur is a dreamer, a thinker, a storyteller and a leader. The dreamer has a dream, the thinker has a vision, the storyteller has a purpose, and the leader has a mission.”

Whether you’re on team Team Dictionary or Team Gerber, no two entrepreneurial journeys are ever the same. There are as many ways to describe an entrepreneur and their experience as there are entrepreneurs themselves. So we asked some of our Ecwid merchants to do just that.

If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur and want to know first-hand what it’s like to start your own business, read on as our Ecwid merchants share their own experiences, motivations, and the skills that helped them succeed.

Ready to start your online business? Set up a free store with Ecwid and sell everywhere: on websites, social media, online marketplaces, in apps, and in person. All with no transaction fees.

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What Does it Mean to Be an Entrepreneur

Kiki Heinzer founder and CEO of Kleanla powered by Ecwid on what is an entrepreneur

Kiki Heinzer, founder and CEO of premium meal delivery service Kleanla

What does it mean to be an entrepreneur?
Being an entrepreneur means total freedom to create the job and life you want. With that freedom, comes a lot of responsibility, but you get to truly tap into something that has great meaning for you.

Why did you become an entrepreneur?
I ultimately wanted to help people. I saw a need in the market and I knew I could fulfill that need better than anyone else.

Leah Da Gloria premier couture designer on what entrepreneurs do

Leah Da Gloria, premier couture designer

Are entrepreneurs born or made?
Made. I believe it’s more of a question of where one’s entrepreneurial qualities originate. Some benefit from their supportive upbringing where their parents or mentors provide a path of critical thought and analysis of themselves, promoting emotional intelligence and awareness. Others nurture these qualities within themselves through environmental change. So I believe it’s more of a question of where their qualities stem from than a question of “you have it or you don’t.”

What does an entrepreneur do?
First and foremost, entrepreneurs are innovators who have a unique product/service/idea. They are “big picture” people who are relentless in realizing their dream. They are people who are self-confident, tenacious, consistent in their execution, possess an unlimited mindset, are visionaries and optimistic.

Jimmy Craig artist and owner of Ecwid store they can talk tells about what does it mean to be entrepreneur

Jimmy Craig, artist and owner of prints store they can talk

What is entrepreneurship to you?
A part of what entrepreneurship means to me is figuring out what works — including trial and error, making adjustments, listening to your audience, and experimenting. Since I started selling comics on my website, nearly every aspect of my business has evolved in some form or another — including the paper I use, how they’re printed, and what they’re shipped in.

What tip would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
If you’re starting your own business, I would recommend taking advantage of social media to connect with customers. Social media makes it so easy to post polls and promotions. When I post comics, I can easily see which ones my audience responds best to, which ultimately are the ones that turn into prints.

Michelle Cox owner of Ecwid store Mermaids and Dinosaurs talks about entrepreneur definition

Michelle Cox, owner of personalized hand-stamped jewelry store Mermaids and Dinosaurs

Are entrepreneurs born or made?
I think entrepreneurs are made. Throughout my life, I’ve had various job roles, but nothing really felt right. I’ve always been creative, and after lots of trial and error, I found that making jewelry was my main calling. For anyone starting a business, of course the end goal is to make money, but more than anything you need to have a genuine passion for what you’re doing.

What skills do successful entrepreneurs have?
Passion, desire, and thick skin! There is no quick money making scheme if you want to be an entrepreneur and business owner. It takes a lot of time, effort, and perseverance! More than anything you need to be consistent, connect with your audience, not follow the crowd, and try to reinvent constantly. I’m forever working on new design ideas and teaching myself new jewellery making techniques to keep things new and exciting for my customers.

Kay Keusen owner of Taucherli powered by Ecwid talks about what entrepreneur means

Kay Keusen, owner of premium swiss chocolate store Taucherli

Are entrepreneurs born or made?
I think both or nothing. In my view it’s passion that you need. Passion is the biggest driver. But a base of business knowledge is also important which is supporting your passion.

What skills do successful entrepreneurs have?
The most important skill is perseverance. Especially nowadays when you see successful stories, a lot of people just think: “Wow, they just got rich”. No, in 99% of businesses, you have to work hard.

Emily Meadows owner of Ecwid store Pip the Beach Cat talks about entrepreneur meaning

Emily Meadows, owner of Pip the Beach Cat LLC

What does it mean to be an entrepreneur?
It means that the entire customer experience, the business, the people depending on you — it all weighs on your shoulders. You are living, eating, and breathing the success of your company because it is not an option to fail. Your success brings success to an exponential number of people that your business deals with on a daily basis.

Why did you become an entrepreneur?
I’d always kept an irregular schedule, choosing to work as a waitress instead of using my degrees, because it allowed me an adventurous lifestyle. The next step was to somehow figure out how I could make my schedule even better. While I definitely work more now than I did before, I know that I’m working for something important to me and something that can positively affect my life for years to come. And if I find that I need a day off, I just take it. I think the concept of being your own boss is pretty rewarding.

Jill Simmons owner of The Letter Box powered by Ecwid shares what does entrepreneur do

Jill Simmons, owner of calligraphy and stationery store The Letter Box

What is an entrepreneur?
For me, being an entrepreneur means being a leader for your brand. It means doing the right thing, evaluating what worked and didn’t, learning new methods to cut time or cost for your products, and providing a high level of customer service.

Why did you become an entrepreneur?
My dream job didn’t exist, so I created it. I wanted a flexible schedule creating calligraphy and invitations and teaching calligraphy workshops. I began The Letter Box in 2016 and have served dozens of brides with wedding invitations and taught hundreds of students calligraphy. Some days are challenging, and some days are rewarding. I have gained great knowledge from my experiences as an entrepreneur.

Trey Humphries, CEO and founder of clothing brand Carton Outerwear

What is entrepreneurship to you?
To me, entrepreneurship is a fundamental aspect of having a career that you love. Starting your own business provides the opportunity to place your values and interests at the forefront of what you do every day. I find the whole process to be the most fulfilling part of my life. I have had the same dream of making my own clothing line since I was a child when I spray-painted graphics onto white t-shirts using stencils.

So, for me being an entrepreneur doesn’t just mean that I am my own boss; it means that I am living out my dream with total freedom and creative control. Obviously, some days things are very difficult and it can feel like my dream is actually a nightmare. But even in the toughest times, I have never truly wanted to quit because I couldn’t imagine having to relinquish that freedom.

Trey Humphries founder of Ecwid store Carton Outerwear on entrepreneurship


Trey (in the middle) with social media influencers at the opening of Carton pop up shop

What tip would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
My advice would be to brace yourself; starting your own business is easier said than done. Don’t spend too much time talking about the company you aspire to launch and just start doing it instead because you will never know all that your business needs until it starts operating. People often spend too much time in the planning phase because it feels rewarding to just conceptualize your ideas’ potential with no risk of failure.

You have to develop a new relationship with your shortcomings because it is when things go awry that you actually learn what the business needs to operate. When things go well, the consumers are just validating what you already knew. But I’ve learned a lot more about what our company needs to work on from the times that we fell short, because at that point, the aspect that’s holding you back makes itself glaringly obvious. Count your blessings, but study your shortcomings.

Entrepreneur Tips

We’re consistently amazed by the way Ecwid merchants use our tools to manage and grow their businesses. On the Ecwid E-commerce Show, we invite our merchants to share their individual stories and offer tips for current and future entrepreneurs to realize their own e-commerce dreams.

Solve a problem for yourself and it could become your next product

If you want to become an entrepreneur but you’re not sure where to start, begin by finding a solution to a common problem in your own routine.

If your idea does solve a real problem, even for a very small niche, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to build a business around it  like Billy Miller, owner of triangle and finger cymbal machine store the Miller Machine. Billy was playing drums and percussion for Broadway, and needed something to make the sound better when playing a multiple set. So he designed a solution for his own problem, and other musicians took interest.

Listen to Billy’s story: Solopreneur E-commerce Journey to Vanlife

But just because it worked for Billy doesn’t mean your solution needs to be a brand new invention. For example, Jill Bartlett was shopping for a rain coat for her dog Scout when she struck gold. While Jill did find dog-raincoats from other sellers, there was nothing designed to fit her Porti-Doodle. When Jill realized there were other dog owners with the same problem, she opened her custom dog coat shop ScouterWear to fill the need.

Listen to Jill’s entrepreneurial story: Pet Passion Project — Custom Dog Coat Store

Get help from your local entrepreneurial community

At the start of her business, Jaeleen Shaw, founder of the flower store Flora Flower Cart, gained much needed exposure from her local entrepreneurial community:

“When we first got started, this was the number one thing that really helped us boost and get in front of the community. We’re a part of a local entrepreneurial group that’s called Tuesdays Together. We joined that community really early on, and all the people involved in that are really core in the creative community here in Fresno. They all shared about us on their social media and with their friends, and that helped us really blow up really quickly because they really loved us and cared about us.”

floraflowercart.com


Another thing that helped Flora Flower Cart to succeed is their beautiful imagery

Listen to Jaeleen’s entrepreneurial story: Local Flower Cart to National Seller with Instagram

Don’t let doubts stop you

Antonette Montalvo, a community health consultant and life coach for nurses, was originally planning to share her nursing insights on her personal blog before deciding to collect her thoughts in a book:

“Entrepreneurship wasn’t on my first track. It was just about wanting to do something innovative in terms of providing health care. I started writing down some notes and my husband was telling me: ‘You need to publish it. There are people that can benefit from this.’

It still took time to get to ‘I think it’s worth putting into a product.’ Finally, I decided to take this compilation of thoughts and reflections and inspirational musings on being visionary and being able to impact health care and compile it in a way that it would be tangible for other people to utilize it and be innovative themselves.

I launched my book, and it’s probably been the best thing that I could have ever done. Not only for this business that I’m trying to scale but for other nurses who are looking to have some direction and some support.”

Listen to Antonette’s entrepreneurial story: E-commerce for Author, Coach, Speaker

Be ready for ups and downs

Akilah Nisa, owner of natural cosmetics store Kissed By A Bee Organics, understands the challenges of being an entrepreneur first-hand:

“Everybody thinks entrepreneurship is easy, and it’s not. It’s like a graph. Sometimes it’s up. Sometimes it’s way down. If I don’t get orders in a couple of days, I’m like ‘Oh my God, what’s going on? Why did I do this? Let me freshen up my resume, I need a job.’ But then you have your good days.

There are good days and bad days, but it’s hard work. It’s a twenty-four-hour job. Yet it’s super rewarding. Entrepreneurship is about connecting, networking, and helping each other. That’s what we should do as humans.”

Listen to Akilah’s entrepreneurial story: Customer Success Story — KissedByABee.com

What’s the Best Age to Become an Entrepreneur?

Fun fact: according to Harvard Business Review, the average age of an entrepreneur at the time they found their company is 42. So don’t think that you’ve missed your chance to start a business if you spent your twenties partying or working hard somewhere else.

For example, Paul Tasner founded his own start-up at age 66 after working continuously for other people for 40 years:

Entrepreneurship in different countries

Depending on the country, the number of early-stage entrepreneurs differs in various industry sectors. According to a 2019 global report of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor:

  • The Republic of Korea has the highest percentage of manufacturing/logistics entrepreneurs — 23%.
  • In the Middle East and Africa, Madagascar shows the greatest proportion of agriculture/extractive/construction early-stage entrepreneurs — 25%. Angola has the highest level of wholesale/retail activity — 74%.
  • In Europe, service and technology are prevalent. Austria has the highest percentage of health/education/government/social and consumer services early-stage entrepreneurs — 33%. Switzerland has the highest proportion of early-stage entrepreneurs in finance/real estate/business services — 30%. Ireland shows the largest percentage of entrepreneurs in ICT — 13%.

Starting your own online business is one of the most affordable options for aspiring entrepreneurs. With Ecwid, all you need is an email to get your store up and running. Merchants of all ages and skill-sets prove day after day that starting an online business with Ecwid is fast, easy, and fun.

“Ecwid is an amazing platform that allows anyone to easily start an online business. I created my site using Ecwid Instant Site, and it couldn’t have been easier — after about an hour of playing around with the software and customizable templates, I had a gorgeous online shop that was ready to use.” — Lara, 14-year-old founder of Miku Deco.

What is an Entrepreneur? Share Your Ideas!

To paraphrase a popular maxim, “many entrepreneurs, many minds.” Tell us more about you and your (dream) business, describe what being an entrepreneur means to you, or share your view of some entrepreneurial best practices in the comments.

About the author
Anastasia Prokofieva is a content writer at Ecwid. She writes about online marketing and promotion to make entrepreneurs’ daily routine easier and more rewarding. She also has a soft spot for cats, chocolate, and making kombucha at home.
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