What does being an entrepreneur actually mean?!
Let us demystify the word for you…
The founders, engineers, disruptors, creatives and innovators who make up the international entrepreneur community are defining our futures in real time. But what does it actually mean to be an entrepreneur and how can we demystify the word to make it universally accessible to the next generation of global leaders?
Our podcast interviews with Ara Katz, Ann Miura-Ko and Tina Roth Eisenberg have all led to the same conclusion — that “entrepreneurship” isn’t some sort of special gift possessed by a rare few, but rather a natural talent that we can all nurture, celebrate and practice with time. Here’s how…
“Entrepreneurship is really just a curiosity about a problem and a desire to create a solution to it. It’s not only teachable, it’s also something that’s very innately human.”
These are the words of Ann Miura-Ko, named “the most powerful woman in startups” by Forbes and the co-founding partner of Floodgate, an early-stage venture capital firm whose investments include Refinery29, Lyft, JoyRun and TaskRabbit. For Ann, the key values of successful entrepreneurship are all qualities inborn within us.
Can we practice being better entrepreneurs though? Ann thinks so, she recommends believing in something before everyone else does and seeking out the underdog as opposed to what everyone thinks is going to be the next big deal as starting points. She also points to “hacking value” as opposed to growth. i.e. asking yourself how you can make something even better for your end user instead of just trying to reach the next business goal.
“The most exciting thing is that you build something that resonates with people — not just from a product perspective or a brand perspective.”
Ara Katz, founder of recently launched seed.com, shares the belief that an entrepreneur’s power lies in producing something that resonates with its customer as opposed to bigger branding or product visions. We spoke to her at a time of tangible post-launch energy during which she infectiously described falling in love with the product she had created all over again, after launching and seeing the impact it had on changing people’s lives.
Ara also recommended staying true to the bigger picture as opposed to getting too caught up in the endless little details when in launch mode — something she manages through setting a clear vision for her team and then communicating and mobilising it. By consciously carving this vision out, she believes in the positive trickle-down entrepreneurial effect this can have on the entire team.
“I feel like the lightness that comes from starting projects just as side projects, and the playfulness, is actually something people feel. When you don’t start something with the main purpose of it paying your rent and making you rich then there’s an incredible innocence and an energy around the project that people pick up.”
Tina Roth Eisenberg gradually turned CreativeMornings from a local event into a global lecture movement active in over 80 cities around the world. Alongside this she also manages her personal blog, swissmiss, with more than a million visitors every month, and a to-do app called TeuxDeux. When we talked about her ability to create products that resonate, Tina described how she sets about designing them for the joy of the design process, rather than an end goal or user.
This light approach helps Tina to overcome any initial hesitations and just design for herself, whilst simultaneously allowing her to shut out the world and create without the worry of wider ramifications. To this end she points out: “what have you got to loose?”
Once an idea has been explored on a small scale, Tina then tries to find a way to make her projects work together by adding value and scaling them all at the same time.
Role Models hosts candid conversations with inspiring women and is a bi-weekly podcast and event series motivating the next generation of global leaders. Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and SoundCloud or via our website. Sign up here for news, quotes, stories & more from the Role Models community newsletter.
This post was created in partnership with Samsung NEXT. Samsung NEXT invests in the startups and engineers who are redefining the future of software and services by helping them to grow and scale. They provide funding, share expertise and offer an international support network from their offices in Berlin, London, Tel Aviv, New York, San Francisco and Korea. You can see this post as originally hosted on their blog, here.