I'm truly fascinated by entrepreneurship but it's not for the revenue or the number of employees. It's the stories. It's the people behind the ideas. It's the inception of the idea that comes to fruition.
I've been truly blessed to be able to speak on a regular basis with entrepreneurs and business owners via blog, video and now even podcast interviews. Usually when I speak with a business owner for the first time, I describe how I started the blog. How it was and still is a genuine labor of love for me to sit down and talk with these people that have the guts to go for their dreams or even those that just have to do it out of necessity. Every time I interview and speak with a business owner, I feel at home and at peace because I could see myself in them.
Initially, I began to get an idea of what entrepreneurship was when I started doing my capstone or thesis project for my Sports Management course. In typically entrepreneurship fashion, I buck the trend and create a new product–a sports entrepreneurship course that was created to help cultivate, develop and grow sports entrepreneurs. I believed I had an acronym for it something like EXECUTE. It was there I started to get that feeling and excitement of creating something and building it as I interviewed and read from sports entrepreneurs like Ted Leonsis, Jimmy Lynn, Patrick McGee, Terri Lakowski and Matt Winkler.
Fast forward a few years, I first started interviewing entrepreneurs and business owners as a freelance writer with Patch–I had a column called Entrepreneur's Spotlight where I would go down Lake Ridge and Occoquan, Virginia and interview entrepreneurs and business owners–it was during these interviews that I learned so much business owners and “got my MBA.” I heard about their opportunities, things they could see happening in the future and their goals to start their business. However, it was the story that captivated me the most. It's the thing that still does.
It's the entrepreneurs and CEOs that are able to muster up the courage to do what few will. These aren't the business owners that are “sort of” running their businesses. These are the business owners that have staked their futures on building their business. They put it all on the line or it's those that are staying up late while working their 9-5 jobs to build a successful venture.
It's these stories that I love to hear and these that I love to tell. As a child growing up, you would often see me with a book reading the latest Goosebumps or as I got a little older and “sophisticated,” it became John Grisham's latest drama. As a grown up, now it's the stories of the entrepreneurs and business owners.
One of the first questions, I usually have for interviewees is to ask them about their business and how they got started. In other words, “What's your story?” It doesn't matter if it's the same exact business, in the same exact location, with the same makeup of the owner, the stories are unique. That's what rings in my ears. This is why I usually ask this first. I want to know what makes an entrepreneur unique. I want to hear their story, hear they why, and know why they do what they do.
Like the little kid that used to race to the library to get a Goosebumps book, I now race to my inbox or look at my schedule to hear the next great story. The genre has changed but that excitement hasn't.