Where do you get your inspiration as an entrepreneur?

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English: Street scene from Brick Lane in London.Stewart Laing, tattoo artist, gave this pitch to the panel selecting social entrepreneurs to fund:

“I’ve been homeless, I’ve been an addict, I’ve been shot in the face. My dad died when I was young, I have no contact with my mum, I hustled for a living. Four years ago I turned things around. My tattoo teacher not only taught me, he saved my life. Now I want to set up a tattoo studio and employ troubled kids like I was to escape the street.”

This young man is 26 years old. He has developed his entrepreneurial instincts on the streets. Overcome childhood trauma. Learned to survive.

Seeing Stewart’s first-hand account from a piece in the Evening Standard, is powerful and moving. It shows how entrepreneurial skills can be found anywhere. It also shows how entrepreneurs can make money but also how they can make a difference to other people’s lives.

Whether entrepreneurship can be taught is debatable. A local weekly says the increase in the number of Ph.D.’s in entrepreneurship has increased from a handful to something like 2,000 over the past 20 years. Would you be inspired by a Ph.D. in entrepreneurship?

Another school of thought says being an entrepreneur is the only way you can learn to launch a business. You have to fail and fail often. Somehow I’d rather learn from someone who has started for five start-ups on their own than listen to a Ph.D. in entrepreneurship. It will hardly stir your blood and get your inspiration going.

I wonder how long it would take to achieve a return on a $30,000 course on entrepreneurship. Universities may have seen another way to source profitable revenue. Just think of the millions made by universities pumping out courses that have little marketability in the real economy. The link between education and employment is often very weak.

Lou Donnelly-Davey learned business from the school of hard knocks. She decided to make vintage style pyjamas for tots with no experience in sewing. Like any good entrepreneur, she outsourced to a friend who made the pyjamas. They were a big hit but she had no idea about “monetisation and commercialisation”, couldn’t take the business to scale and pulled the plug on her company. Lou believes failure is part of the life cycle of start-ups and entrepreneurs. “If you are not a risk taker, you are not an entrepreneur, you’re a business manager. There’s a huge distinction,” she told a business magazine.

Failure can be your biggest teacher. We succeed by learning from failure. A study showed that successful company founders said the most important reason for their success was their ability to learn from mistakes.

Starting a business, coming up with idea for a new product or service – it’s hard to say if it is possible for everyone. You need to look into your background and experience and even family history. Did you have entrepreneurial instincts when you were younger? Was one of your family members or distant relatives entrepreneurial? Is it in your blood? Yes, you can learn entrepreneurship but will you become an entrepreneur?

Break away from your present mental prison that pigeonholes you into thinking you don’t have entrepreneurial instincts. Entrepreneurship is part of your survival instinct. In times of change, restrictive opportunities, heinous policies, prejudice and monopolies, people need to look for and find new opportunities. Entrepreneurs increase individual freedom.

If you want to learn to research and evaluate your business idea, test and develop your idea or prototype and start a business, go to this page for information. You won’t find it anywhere else. Go get it while it’s still available.


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