To the untrained eye, an entrepreneur may appear to be a person who has started his or her own business. While this is technically true, there's so much more to the journey of entrepreneurship than just bringing a business idea to fruition. It takes unwavering passion, dedication and innovation, and it's certainly not the right path for everyone. Business News Daily spoke with 14 company founders and business leaders to find out what they believe entrepreneurship is and, perhaps just as important, what it's not.
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"An entrepreneur is someone who seeks to profitably solve a problem that the world has, in exchange for enough monetary compensation to achieve their dreams. [It doesn't] mean you won't read a book or work for a boss ever again. The most successful entrepreneurs spend time studying others' successes — what are their processes and daily methods, and how can I apply those principles to my own life and business?" – Clay Clark, CEO of Thrive15
"To me, entrepreneurship is creating something, nurturing and leading it. It is a labor of love, guts and hard work. There is more to it, and you will grow more than you could ever imagine. But it is not easy, and the road can be windy!" – Rosie Pope, founder of Rosie Pope Maternity
"Entrepreneurship is all about embracing challenges. When you're building something from the ground up, you need to get into the weeds and problem solve. All the weed whacking often allows you to better hone in on a better big-picture strategy — why did this happen? How do I solve it? How do smarter people than me solve it? With a young company, when you experience a new challenge, it's usually a growing pain. So while it can be difficult to get through, it's for the best possible reason — your company is getting bigger!" – Jennie Ripps, CEO of Owl's Brew
"Entrepreneurship is about taking action. It's more than just having a vision — it's having the courage to persevere through all of your failures, to find the one success that drives the value of your business. That process is at the core of any entrepreneur: Using their past experiences, common sense and intelligence to make mindful decisions in reaction to the results — both positive and negative — they are able to transform their vision into a real business." – Michael Downing, CEO of Swapt
"An entrepreneur takes a giant leap of faith in the pursuit of a belief that their idea or product is something others need and will greatly benefit from. It means working tirelessly to validate that belief and never giving up. It's not for the faint of heart. Embarking on a new entrepreneurial endeavor means you start by doing everything that needs to be done by yourself until the team is built out, and the buck stops with you." – Sandra Ponce de Leon, vice president of marketing at Trunx
"Entrepreneurship is the ability to recognize the bigger picture, find where there's an opportunity to make someone's life better, design hypotheses around these opportunities, and continually test your assumptions. It's experimentation: Some experiments will work; many others will fail. It is not big exits, huge net worth, or living a life of glamour. It's hard work and persistence to leave the world a better place once your time here is done." – Konrad Billetz, CEO of Frameri
"To me, entrepreneurship is completely dedicating yourself to creating something out of nothing. It's not simply taking a risk and hoping to realize big rewards. Creating something out of nothing also tends to present numerous challenges and roadblocks which seem insurmountable. I believe the great entrepreneurs, who I look up to, can help their team push through those roadblocks and find solutions." – David Greenberg, CEO of Updater
"Entrepreneurship is the mindset that allows you to see opportunity everywhere. It could be a business idea, but it could also be seeing the possibilities in the people that can help you grow that business. This ability to see many options in every situation is critically important; there will be unending challenges that will test your hustle." – Preeti Sriratana, co-founder of Sweeten
"It is not about making a quick buck or deal. Successful entrepreneurs look past that "quick buck" and instead look at the bigger picture to ensure that each action made is going toward the overall goal of the business or concept, whether or not that means getting something in return at that moment." – Allen Dikker, CEO of Potatopia
"Entrepreneurship is a lifestyle, in that being an entrepreneur is ingrained in one's identity. [It] is the culmination of a certain set of characteristics: determination, creativity, the capacity to risk, leadership and enthusiasm. I don't think you can be an entrepreneur without these qualities, and for me, that idea was ingrained in me very early on. An entrepreneur is part of the foundation of who I am, and who I strive to be." – Eric Lupton, president of Life Saver Pool Fence Systems
"Entrepreneurship is an unavoidable life calling pursued by those who are fortunate enough to take chances [and are] optimistic enough to believe in themselves, aware enough to see problems around them, stubborn enough to keep going, and bold enough to act again and again. Entrepreneurship is not something you do because you have an idea. It's about having the creativity to question, the strength to believe and the courage to move." – Jordan Fliegel, CEO of CoachUp.com
"Everyone talks about passion, and that’s a given, but you have to have drive, persistence, ability, and inner confidence in your goals in order to move forward because you will most certainly encounter rejection at some point. You can't always do it alone, but you can't rely on others to drive your business. Leverage, work efficiently, and research, research, research — pricing, shipping costs, vendors, everything you can think of that will be a cost in your business. You must stay on top of expenditures because it will add up." – Molly Lofthouse, co-founder of Lenz Frenz
"Being an entrepreneur is about giving everything you have when the going gets tough and never giving up. If you truly love and believe in what you're doing, then you must hang in there. Entrepreneurship is not knowing everything about your business. You must humble yourself and not work from your ego. Always be willing to grow, change and learn." – Jennifer MacDonald and Hayley Carr, founders of Zipit Bedding
"Entrepreneurship is seeing an opportunity and gathering the resources to turn a possibility into a reality. It represents the freedom to envision something new and to make it happen. It includes risk, but it also includes the reward of creating a legacy. Anti-entrepreneurship is satisfaction with the status quo, layers of controls and rules that hamper forward movement, and fear of failure." – Maia Haag, founder of I See Me!
"It's about your level of commitment to your dream. Entrepreneurs are all in: They chuck everything and spend all their time and most of their money to build something that most people by definition think is dumb." –Wade Lagrone, CEO of Rabbl
Originally published on Business News Daily.