to a recent report featured on CNBC,
U.S. entrepreneurship has reached a 14-year high. The report states that instead of
necessity-driven new businesses, more U.S. entrepreneurs are launching ventures
based on perceived opportunities, growth ambitions and a broad optimistic
outlook—a group sometimes called opportunity entrepreneurs. Nearly 78 percent of entrepreneurs last year
started ventures to pursue new opportunities. That is up from 71 percent of
total entrepreneurship in 2010.
is an entrepreneur that exists deep-down inside of each of us. Many people have thought about starting a
business or have an idea for a new product, service or brand. People are extremely curious and they want to
test the elements that drive their innate curiosity. Entrepreneurship
is no longer just a business term
anymore – it’s a way of life. You
don’t need to be an entrepreneur to be entrepreneurial. You just need to cultivate the
entrepreneurial attitude. This is exactly what people feel in their gut
every day and why they desire the direction to enable their entrepreneurial
Cage famously said, “Our highest business is our daily life.” Entrepreneurship shapes every aspect of my
thoughts, my attitude, my relationships and my general approach to working and
living. My approach to entrepreneurship
is different than most know. It is not bound to the world of business. Mine is
a holistic entrepreneurship—one that applies to everyday life, on and off the
job. It influences how I make decisions and relate to others. Its principles
are not only governed by corporate laws but also by universal laws, like trust,
attraction, reciprocity and responsibility. Its effectiveness is not measured
solely by revenue, profitability and/or social media followers – but also by
influence, compassion and social impact. Its time is not bound by nine-to-five
but by birth and death.
a broader view, entrepreneurship is not merely a capitalistic expression with a
foundation in pioneering enterprise. It is also an existential expression with
a foundation in pioneering life experience. When you learn to see daily
obstacles, opportunities and responsibilities through the wider entrepreneurial
lens, you optimize your desires, activities and relationships on the whole.
Ultimately, you exhale a greater power and purpose into every endeavor because
grand enterprises and gratifying lives spring from the same source. In short,
the principles that drive business innovation, success and sustainability are
the same ones that propel an exhilarating, revolutionary life. This is a
significant paradigm shift if you are in the business world and have never
considered the application of entrepreneurship beyond your work. It is a
breakthrough if you are outside the business world and have never considered
entrepreneurship useful to daily living.
history of entrepreneurship speaks of its widespread power and significance,
inside and outside the marketplace. Our lifetimes have seen the cultural
imprint of classic venturists like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Sergey Brin,
and Bill Gates – and the compassionate reach of social pioneers like Oprah and Bono.
Their legacies are like apples and oranges but their foundational movement is
• they see what others don’t;
• they do what others won’t;
• and they keep pushing when prudence
there is more to entrepreneurship, these three behaviors run thread-like
through every pioneer’s approach. The primary (and ultimately defining)
characteristic of an entrepreneur like Oprah or Jobs is a deep sense of
responsibility to humanity. There are others who lack it and subtract from life;
and there are those like Bono and Brin who breathe it and add to life. Such
life-takers and life-givers are positioned at opposite ends of the
entrepreneurial spectrum. Between them are lives of impact and significance,
and lives of suspicion and disgrace. You determine where along the line your
broader view does not imply everyone is an entrepreneur. It implies everyone
can become one regardless of pedigree, vocation or socio-economic status. This
does not require plans of global impact either (though it certainly can). Most
of us would celebrate a day without relational stress or a week without
professional regret. But don’t we want more than survival?
seed of an entrepreneurial life is a sleepless desire to live with more power
and purpose than you are now—and in doing so, make the world a better place.
That phrase has become weightless to most and it’s unfortunate because if we
considered what it means to make an impact, one day, one activity at a time, we
might comprehend the immense power we possess.
to the voices of today’s entrepreneur musicians and professors (like Bob Geldof
and David Batstone), actors and businessmen (like Angelina Jolie and Mac
Anderson), mothers and fathers (like Julie Aigner-Clark and Kevin Carroll),
sons and daughters (like Bobby Bailey and Catherine Rohr). They implore you to
join their cause or break new ground of your own. You are powerful, they say.
You can make a difference. You can change your life and your world … one day,
one decision at a time.
they are calling to the entrepreneurial spirit within each of us. In response,
some write a check, say a prayer or read a book. Others step out and
revolutionize their life and the lives of those around them. The latter are the
an entrepreneurial approach to all-of-life is not automatic, nor is it as
simple as joining a good cause, though it can start there. It usually requires
you to reshape rigid attitudes and reconsider old habits—painstaking tasks for
sure, but more responsible than stubborn mediocrity. Beyond the undoing of
personal antagonists, the business of living is not alien. The tools of
innovation and impact are within reach of us every day. The key is uncovering
them, understanding them, and then learning to apply them regularly. Practiced
enough, a life-wide entrepreneurial approach becomes second nature. That’s when
the momentous can happen.
where you find yourself, you probably have an idea of what your life could
be—the impact it could have, the legacy it would leave. Venture out to that
place of uncertainty where all significant endeavors have begun, then have the courage
to take a leap of faith.
are 12 ways to conceive the business of living and become the everyday
entrepreneur you can be. They will guide
you rightly towards the pursuit of breakthrough ideas and non-negotiable ideals
– and a life full of momentous activities and amazing adventures with fewer
Impact and Influence.
is not just about making money – but extends to seizing opportunities to build
relationships, advance commerce, and better humanity. When you can embrace the totality of
entrepreneurship, it begins to shape a balanced state of mind to enable your
passionate pursuits through the lens of endless possibilities.
business of living is about creating impact and influence. Whether you close a large client contract or
give back to your local community – the outcomes continually fuel your
entrepreneurial spirit. Innovation
becomes a mindset that fuels continuous improvements in your business and in
the lives of others for the betterment of a healthier whole. With the impact and influence you create
through your entrepreneurial spirit, innovation becomes second-nature. Steve Jobs was the master of connecting
the dots of convergence between business impact and societal influence.
Alone with Others.
you can take the steps that shape your new life as an entrepreneur. No one can
do this for you. This can feel like an
intimidating, lonely road—but you are never truly alone. Every ground-breaking
entrepreneur’s path is flanked by support, be it obvious or unnoticed. Even the
seemingly lonely paths of Nelsen
Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi
were dotted by the shadows of believers.
you begin your entrepreneurial journey, many times you are faced with
skepticism by your friends and colleagues.
and jealously often stand in the way.
Don’t live a life fueled with regret.
Your courage and belief in yourself will be tested often along the way –
but if you remain focused, consistent and true to your goals, you will begin to
attract people with similar ideas and ideals.
You will begin to build community and transition from solidarity to
going alone with others.
many times have you been in a meeting and someone says to you, “That’s a great
idea, you should take the initiative and make it a reality.” What typically
happens? Most of the time – nothing.
Most great ideas remain dormant because people don’t have the courage,
resources, time and/or money to take action. And for those who take action,
most are unprepared and thus find themselves spending their valuable time and
money on a dream that simply goes astray.
have an inner circle, a small group of close friends, family members and
associates who tell it to you straight. Optimize your relationships with them
and deem them your board of advocates. They are the proving grounds for all new
ideas and plans. Such people pad your path with uncommon wisdom, courage and
intuition. Learn from those who have done it before. Don’t ever think you have
all of the answers, just because it’s your idea. Ideation is distinctly different
from execution. Allow your personal
board of advisors to guide you with wisdom born from their own failures and
subsequent successes. Click
here to learn another 11 things you must actively do – at all times – in
order to convert ideas into reality.
an innovator, you learn quickly that you cannot control some big factors on your
road to success: the market, the weather and the character of other people, to
name some prominent ones. Yet, these factors cannot force you to take your eyes
off what you can control: your feet, your focus and your character. Controlling
your controllables is how new entrepreneurs flourish in and out of season. Consider the story of Nobel Peace Prize
winner, Betty Williams in 1976 for her work as a cofounder of Community
of Peace People, an organization dedicated to promoting a peaceful
resolution to The Troubles in Northern
the powerful video from the band, Nickelback (If Everyone
Cared), which tells the story
of potent pioneers – who controlled the controllables. It says it all.
entrepreneur plants multiple seeds knowing that each grows at a different rate.
He then focuses on growing a garden rather than blooming one flower at a time,
knowing that some seeds will flourish and others will fade. The reward of a
well-tended garden is serendipity—when you watch a seed you planted along the
way bloom when you least expect it, or when unanticipated opportunity arises from
a near-forgotten seed. Consider the path of Bob Geldof, the pioneer punk
rocker behind Live Aid. He mastered
the art and science of opportunity management.
Have you? Put your capabilities to
entrepreneur does not overanalyze opportunities. Instead, you learn through
experience to discern the underlying patterns that determine whether a venture will
be, or can be, successful. This frees
you to seize ripe opportunities and pour out your resources with confidence.
Consider the timely impact of entrepreneurs Julie Clark of Baby Einstein and
Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook.
seasoned entrepreneur can detect patterns in how things work and
interconnect. They begin to view risk
as their best friend as pattern recognition becomes an innate character
trait. They can quickly recognize the
probable results of their decision-making and the sustainability of their ideas
and enforcing values is a hallmark of entrepreneurial living. The air is thick
with ads that aim to fog your standards. To be a successful entrepreneur you
must know what material you are made of and then sew its threads through
everything you consume, promote and pursue. Ultimately, you will see that
preserving your values, not the prevailing pop-culture mist, deepens life’s
significance. Blake Mycoskie
created Tom’s Shoes with this in mind. In his first year of business (2006), he
sold 10,000 pairs of shoes and then sewed value through each sale by giving
away the same number to disadvantaged children in Argentina – a business model
that continues to this day.
Twinkies and Coke.
entrepreneurs take good fortune for granted and usually fall victim to their
prosperity. They upgrade their lifestyle with each success and in doing so
often impoverish the significance of their lives. There is more to consumption
than meets the eye. It either erodes or upholds your power and purpose. One of
the primary keys to the business of living is a consistent, value-sewn standard
of success. Gilbert de Cardenas Sr. built a cheese
enterprise, yet maintained a commitment to driving his old car and eating a
Twinkie and Coke for lunch in the parking lot at the early stages of the
business; this fueled his purpose while reminding himself to manage success
entrepreneurs know the fickle nature of prosperity and, unlike a modern Howard
Hughes, they bank their lives on more than material increase and extravagant
is one of humanity’s most common emotions. We are, by nature, protectors of
sameness. Still, it is the pioneering spirits who are envied and emulated. It
is also the pioneering spirits who spark injustice from others. As you launch
into the business of living, your accomplishments are met with criticism,
jealously and even betrayal. Consider the paths of President Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr.
business of living refines your relationships so that only the purest remain. Stay
away from the leeches and loafers and align with the leaders and lifters!
a Target on Yourself
is an old Far Side cartoon of two bears in the woods. One is noticing the
vibrant red and white bull’s-eye on the other’s stomach and says, “Bummer
of a birthmark, Hal.” Becoming a new entrepreneur makes you that
birthmarked bear. This makes entrepreneurship the best form of accountability.
It also sets you up as a leader. Accepting the position with gratitude, grit
and innovation is up to you. Competitors and critics will take aim at you but
you don’t have to stand still.
is no way around the immense responsibility bestowed on the new entrepreneur.
It extends beyond your family, friends and associates to the wider audience of
humanity. Comprehending the power and “human value” of your brand is the first
step to momentous impact. What you then do with your power can change your
world. The next question is: Who else’s world will you change? The living
legacy of today’s entrepreneur is compassion. It is also the success template
for all future innovation. The ONE and RED
campaigns are excellent corporate examples. So are individuals like Catherine
Rohn, founder of the Prison Entrepreneurship Program, Majora Carter, founder of
Green the Ghetto, and Peter Benenson, founder of Amnesty International.
Restoring and Sustaining
the new entrepreneur flourishes by creating dreams, restoring hope and
sustaining life for others. These actions encompass the natural result of the
business of living. A great sense of trust in and responsibility to humanity
allows entrepreneurs like Ron Clark, Kevin Carroll and Oprah Winfrey to make
far-ranging, long-lasting impact. They and their endeavors define today’s
entrepreneur and tomorrow’s hero.
these 12 activities to everyday life is what sets a person, and a business,
apart from the pack. You do not have to apply them all to become more entrepreneurial,
but the more you apply, the more momentous your endeavors can be. I encourage
you to think big.
you want to get more out of life for yourself – and others – an entrepreneurial
approach is the most powerful, purposeful course of action. It requires effort
and risk but the rewards will outweigh the sacrifices. This is why it is called
the business of living. It is a worthy and grand business. I invite you to
venture out and experience it for yourself.