I am a self-professed hustle junkie and I have been passionate about creating my own business since high school. From the beginning, I wanted to be an entrepreneur. But what does that really mean? What are some of the struggles you may face as an entrepreneur? How can you overcome them all while still managing your day job or balancing other responsibilities?
“Brass Knuckles Amazon” is a blog post written by one woman who has been an entrepreneur for over ten years. The author talks about her experiences and talks about how she views the world as an entrepreneur.
In my life, I’ve been called a lot of things. I’ve been referred to as a “women entrepreneur,” “mompreneur,” “social entrepreneur,” and a few more terms that I won’t repeat. It was an amazing, terrifying, and liberating experience transitioning from freelancer to entrepreneur (not businesswoman—a difference I will explain soon). I became a master of my destiny as a result of that transformation, a creator of potential in a society rife with excess and devastation, and a lifelong champion for a new way of life–a road to personal and intellectual freedom.
Entrepreneurs, you see, are a unique breed. “I can create something out of it,” we say to the unknown. Many people believe that we race carelessly into the black pit of uncertainty. We see potential. We analyze the danger, devise a plan, then confront the unknown with unwavering tenacity. We sculpt new technologies, question ideas, and construct cultures of thinking and life that jolt the dull corporate mindset, enticed by the satisfaction that only invention can deliver. This is where the distinction between an entrepreneur and a businessperson is made. Michael Gerber demonstrated in his book The E Myth that a businessperson is not always an entrepreneur, since firms are founded for a variety of reasons, many of which do not stem from an entrepreneurial spirit. A brilliant employee believes he can do it better on his own and launches his own company. When someone is laid off, they begin freelancing and refer to it as a company. Someone sees a company in the works and thinks to themselves, “I can do it better,” so they start their own. Someone invests in a Multi Level Marketing firm and refers to it as a company. Many firms are carbon clones of others. Many individuals start firms but never progress as company owners, preferring instead to work as workers. Many firms are started with little thought to market positioning, distinctiveness, or innovation. Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, consider all of these factors as well as others.
An entrepreneur pushes the boundaries of what is possible, taking the work of charting new territory into their own hands and innovating. They excel at beginning things from the ground up (often things that do not yet exist) and building them up. They excel at breaking down barriers, strategizing ideas, and creating something from nothing. A good businessperson is not always an entrepreneur (which is why they often sell or step back after a certain point). They aren’t always a good manager, either (people skills are not a requirement). Anyone who begins a company is referred to as a businessperson. An entrepreneur is a person who takes on the challenge of producing something unique in order to meet a significant commercial or societal need.
I work in the corporate world. I have people skills, can manage projects and a team, and can establish and sustain a company from the bottom up. Most significantly, I am a business owner. That’s why the apparently harmless labels “women entrepreneur” and “mompreneur” irritate me. Have you ever heard the terms “men entrepreneur” or “dadpreneur” before? No. So what’s the point of that distinction? When I use the words “mom” or “woman” to describe my role as an entrepreneur, I’m really discounting myself as an entrepreneur because it creates an artificial distinction based on my gender. My vision, passion to leverage entrepreneurial ideas to tackle society’s largest challenges, brass knuckles attitude, and dedication to developing a corporate culture that encourages individual development and community participation set me apart as an entrepreneur. My gender, as well as the fact that I am a mother, may influence my views and beliefs, but they do not define me as an entrepreneur. What I make is what defines me.
Innovation Ranch Austin, a tech accelerator in my hometown of Austin, Texas, and I have struck a strategic collaboration. As we build out a community of social entrepreneurs within the Tech Ranch Austin framework, a community of people using entrepreneurship to solve hunger, poverty, injustice, malnutrition, sustainability, and other social concerns both at home and abroad, this partnership allows me to make tremendous strides toward my personal mission for a Brass Knuckles Revolution. I’m putting up a think tank to tackle these difficulties as we develop additional social entrepreneurs with their own objectives and societal concerns to solve. I can’t convey how satisfying and inspiring it feels to finally make progress toward my life’s aim of bringing about broad, good change in the world. As an entrepreneur, this is my own rite of passage. What it means to be an entrepreneur is to create on this scale and have such a large influence on society. Now I’m doing more than simply starting a company (or multiple businesses). I’m building a legacy.
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