What it Means to be an Entrepreneur

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Painted stairs heading up the slope in Istanbul.
Painted stairs heading up the slope in Istanbul.

About 20 years ago, I met a gentleman named Wilson Harrell. At that time, I was starting my first business. Wilson was an entrepreneur’s entrepreneur. He boasted that he created over 100 companies. He wrote the monthly column on the back page of Success Magazine – which at the time, was one of the top magazines in the small business and self-help community. When I met Wilson all I could think was:

What type of ego does it require to start 100 businesses?

Why would anyone need more than one business, that’s just crazy!

Over the years I’ve started a couple of businesses and attracted some amazingly talented resources. Many of these people didn’t have the risk tolerance nor the drive and determination to start their own business, so they came to us. When we were in the throws of trying to figure out what to do with 4-Profit, we met so many amazing resources, many that could do my job ten times better than I ever could.

Now that I’ve had time to reflect on who I really am, I’m realizing that Wilson didn’t start over 100 businesses for his ego – he started them so he could employ all the amazing people that would never go start a business on their own.

There aren’t a lot of true entrepreneurs, but there are tons of people who can execute and get things done. There are people who understand strategy and execution that can run circles around me.  I should never be running a business. Why? Because I’m an entrepreneur!

Our last business would have been much better off if we would have hired someone to run it 5 years earlier. I always thought that since I had one business, why did I need another one? Why do anything else than what produces income and spend the rest of your time trying to change the world or spend time with family and friends?

The reason is that I’m an entrepreneur. I see possibility in everything and I have the risk tolerance to go for my dreams without fear.

So, where does this leave me? At this point in my life, age of 52, I have 25 years to get to the point when Wilson passed at the age of 77.  I believe that I could contribute to helping start over 100 companies by the time I’m 77, so that’s what I will do. I’m looking forward to meeting lots of people and helping them create businesses that leave this planet better than we found it. Time to get to work!

To a life well lived.

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