What is entrepreneurship?
Entrepreneurship is possible whether you’re a big business or a sole proprietorship. At the heart of entrepreneurship is the concept of innovation — that by developing something totally new that solves a problem, a business can change the way people live for the better.
A socially conscious business is focused on solving social problems, such as access to food, money, and education. The stated goal of these companies is to make the world better (although, for most, the ultimate purpose is still to make money). Such companies develop products and services with the goal of achieving these lofty goals. This model sometimes describes nonprofit organizations as well.
Real-world example: Seventh Generation, which sells eco-friendly cleaning and personal care products, was launched in 1988 in response to growing societal concerns about the environment since many household products of the day included harsh chemicals. The firm donates 10% of pre-tax profits to community- and environment-focused nonprofits and businesses. Despite lower profit margins, the company reportedly managed to pull in $200 million in 2015 — proving that creating a responsible corporate image can also make money.
Type 2: The Freedom Seeker
Wanting freedom and flexibility is what motivates The Freedom Seeker to start a business. This type of entrepreneur wants something that fits around their schedule—a business they get to control, rather than something that controls them.
If this is you, you might be looking to break out of the nine-to-five routine and find something that better fits your lifestyle (or the lifestyle you wish you had). You want a business that goes with the flow, adapts to change without breaking a sweat, and doesn’t get in the way of your hobbies and adventures.
Business ideas for The Freedom Seeker
Many entrepreneurs are looking for a business and career that fits around their lifestyle, and we found that this motivation was especially common for those who sell products in the following industries:
Turning your entrepreneurial motivation into a business
It’s no coincidence that these businesses are also particularly well-suited to the dropshipping model. In Oberlo’s report of trending products for 2021, phone cases, phone repair kits, and wireless earbuds were all hot products to dropship.
Dropshipping is a great option for people who want flexibility in their business venture. Dropshipping can be done from anywhere—your products are manufactured, stored, and shipped by a partner company, leaving you free to take care of your customers. It’s also a low upfront investment because products are created based on orders coming in, so you don’t need to keep an inventory. And without needing your own physical warehouse or storefront, you can sell from anywhere. It’s perhaps the most free and flexible way to run a business.
You could also start from the ground up, like Kristian Rauhala did when he started H2O Audio, a company specializing in waterproof headphones and accessories. Before becoming an entrepreneur, Kristian was using his engineering training to develop products for Nokia, but he wasn’t satisfied with only having a hand in part of the business.
As an avid outdoors enthusiast and athlete himself, he saw a market for people like him who were looking for headphones they could take in the water. He was also able to go it alone, without the influence and demands of outside investors.
“When you are no longer answering to other people and using outside capital, you can be in full control. This has given me the opportunity to take H2O Audio in the direction I want,” he says. “Now it is up to me. That gives me total freedom and flexibility. “
Fubu founder Daymond John created his company with a collection of sewing machines in his mother’s apartment, and marketed his business via graffiti. He’s the classic example of a hustler entrepreneur. He started small, worked with what he had, and built his company from the ground up.
Hustlers are talented at getting friends and family members to pitch in, and help them with their budding enterprises. They are the entrepreneurs who will take on second jobs, cut expenses, and bootstrap whatever funding they can to move forward.
In addition to this, they are great motivators. Nobody works as hard as a hustler, and that makes a big difference when it’s time to ask the rest of your team to put in extra effort.
There are a few risks though. Hustlers are prone to burnout. They can also overwork their team members, or leave them feeling unappreciated. Finally, there comes a time when a good entrepreneur should focus on getting funding from investors, not simply by working harder.
The Serial Entrepreneur
You’re flexible and always looking to the future for the next big thing. The ‘Thomas Edison’ of entrepreneurs, you can take a lot of stress and brush off past negative experiences with ease. A total leader, you might struggle with actually learning from your past failures (it’s not automatic). You measure success in being better than the competition and in how much money you make. You might jot down your ideas on Twitter–or even on a napkin.
Gary Vee is the quintessential serial entrepreneur. So is hop-hop artist Clifford “T.I.” Harris Jr. T.I.’s business ventures include a record label, a clothing brand, real estate development, and business investing. The so-called “Tony Stark” of entrepreneurship Elon Musk, is both a Serial and Innovator Entrepreneur.
You’re not an entrepreneur yet, and you may never be. You’re rich with ideas, but the groundwork still needs to be done. It’s up in the air: should you win the lottery, you would start a business, take a vacation, or invest in a business you’ve kind of started already. You want to enjoy the self-starter lifestyle and consider yourself an idea person, but you need more motivation to become one of the other five types of genuine entrepreneurs.
Murray Newlands is an entrepreneur, investor, business adviser and a columnist at BusinessInsider.com, Inc.com and Entrepreneur.com. He runs San Francisco-based PR agency Influence People and is the author of How to Get PR for Your Startup: Traction
BusinessCollective, launched in partnership with Citi, is a virtual mentorship program powered by North America’s most ambitious young thought leaders, entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners.
BLACK ENTERPRISE Editors
Black Enterprise is a black-owned multimedia company. Since the 1970s, its flagship product Black Enterprise magazine has covered African-American businesses with a readership of 3.7 million.