Entrepreneur-a person who organizes, operates, and assumes the risk of a business or enterprise.

Ecopreneur- an entrepreneur that builds the three pillars of sustainability (people, planet, and profit) directly into their business aspirations.

So what does it take to be an entrepreneur/ecopreneur?  Successful entrepreneurs have the ability to match passion and possibilities.  Without passion, a good idea remains just that; an idea, a sketch on a note pad, a dinner conversation.  But with passion, these ideas can become a reality.  They can become inspirational and result in a concept that transcends across generations and cultures.  Passionate ideas can achieve remarkable results.

I don’t think the entrepreneurs of the past are all that different from than those of today.  But as I look around the world in general, especially at Nourish the Planet, I see so many people going above and beyond the traditional business model to unite profitable ideas with sustainability.  Well thought out ideas can and will generate revenue, but for many of these ecopreneurs it is much more than that.  It is the desire to leave the world a little better off than when they got here.

Don’t get me wrong, those that excel as entrepreneurs also have the same desire to be recognized for their work.  Entrepreneurs want to stand out and leave their mark.  They want to make a difference and leave an enduring legacy that extends beyond their years on the job and in life.

Entrepreneurship entails believing in yourself and integrating what you do with what you believe.  Ramsey (2011) offers a list of ten things every inspiring entrepreneur should have tattooed to the back of their hand, or at least printed out and taped to the bathroom mirror.

  1. Think Big.  The only boundaries should be the limitation of your own imagination
  2. Focus small. Attention to detail is the foundation for success
  3. Always have a plan, but don’t be a slave to it. You need to have a business plan, but treat it like a work in progress.  Plans are ideas on paper, not cast into stone.
  4. Be open to crazy ideas– one ‘crazy’ idea may have far more potential than a dozen traditional ideas.  Think outside the box?  How about getting rid of the box entirely.  Throw it out.
  5. Never limit your opportunities. Look at all the options and refuse to accept that there is only one right way to reach your goal.
  6. Be patient with slow progress when implementing new ideas.  Baby steps aren’t baby steps if you’re a baby.
  7. Take advantage of technology, but never stop thinking.  Incorporate all appropriate hardware and software into your business, but make full use of your own “brainware” as well.
  8. Try to think like a child every now and again.  Entrepreneurs alike realize that there is wisdom in childish wonder and that kids are more creative than anyone
  9. Sell yourself first.  Get on board with your own ideas.  Others won’t buy into your ideas and leadership until they buy into you.
  10. Have fun. If there is no joy, then it’s just a job.

Source: Ramsey, R. D. (2011). To succeed as a supervisor, act like an entrepreneur. Supervision, 72(5), 10-12.

For most entrepreneurs, their work is more than a job, it’s a calling.  It’s personal and it’s emotional.  They care deeply for what they do and will stop at nothing until that dream is fulfilled.

Dreaming, believing, and taking risks. That’s what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur.

 Written by Danny Kehoe, Business Development Intern, Spring 2012