Entrepreneurship is more than simply the process of starting a business. Entrepreneurs are leaders and creators, ready to take risks and show their initiative. They’re innovative, creative and committed to trying new things or improving existing products and services. In short: entrepreneurship is both a mindset and a way of life. To prove that fact- and to promote our world leading new Udemy course ‘How To Become An Entrepreneur On The Job’, here’s our pick of the most inspirational entrepreneurs on the planet and what we can learn from them.
Bill Drayton, Ashoka
What we can learn from Bill: incorporate empathy into your work.
Ashoka.org is a global enterprise that identifies and invests in social entrepreneurs across the world. Ashoka operates in over 70 countries and supports the work of around 2000 social enterprises that help to make their communities a better place. Bill has taken the principles of entrepreneurship and extended them to the charitable, health and education sectors. He says that the ability to see, understand and feel from the perspective of others is absolutely key to the process of innovating, coming up with new ideas and creating a business that will be both helpful and desirable.
Jake Nickell, Threadless
What we can learn from Jake: build a community around your business.
Worldwide online store Threadless is much more than a quirky t-shirt company, it’s a community where artists come together and submit, rate and determine the clothing designs his company then print and sell. Since Jake founded the company more than two million artists have submitted their designs to Threadless, and the online community of users collectively vote on which designs go to print. The company is now worth around $30 million, showing that developing a supportive community around your business brings huge rewards.
Pat Flynn, Smart Passive Income
What we can learn from Pat: be transparent in everything that you do.
Pat Flynn is an online entrepreneur who – as well as sharing his stories about building his business on his website Smart Passive Income, also has two successful podcasts, multiple other websites, a book, and several different coaching programs. What makes Pat so inspiring to fellow entrepreneurs is that he is incredibly transparent in his business dealings and actually shares his monthly income reports for readers to see. He admits when ventures don’t go well as well as sharing his successes, to the extent that he calls himself “the crash test dummy of online business”.
Noah Kagan, AppSumo
What we can learn from Noah: push yourself and take on numerous side projects.
Noah Kagan is the founder of AppSumo, an online startup focused on building tools to help entrepreneurs. Before that, Noah was the 30th employee ever to be hired by Facebook. He then went on to found his own tech startup: a daily deals site called AppSumo. You’d think that might keep Noah busy enough, but he also finds time to take on ‘side hustles’, where he challenges himself to start a $1000 business in 24 hours, teaching and encouraging others to do the same. He really does prove there’s no reason you can’t start up a new business or side project today.
Caterina Fake, Hunch.com
What we can learn from Caterina: don’t be afraid about stepping into the unknown.
As if being the founder of the widely used photo sharing service Flickr weren’t enough, influential entrepreneur Caterina Fake is also the co-founder of Hunch, a website that aims to build a ‘taste graph’ of the entire web, connecting people online by tying their existing affinities with personalised recommendations. She has described leaving Flickr to start a second venture as ‘stepping into the unknown,’ explaining that: “people tend to be more wary of taking risks the second time around, but it’s really important not to fall into the trap of resting on your laurels. It’s stepping into the unknown that enables you to create something fresh, new and innovative.” Great advice, Caterina.
Oprah Winfrey, The Oprah Magazine/ Oprah.com
What we can learn from Oprah: don’t become complacent.
You might think that Oprah- a famous television host, actress, producer, and the first black woman billionaire in America history- might be relaxed about her success, but she never takes it for granted. When Fortune Magazine interviewed her, she said “I don’t think of myself as a businesswoman. The only time I think about being a businesswoman is now, while I’m talking to you. There’s this part of me that’s afraid of what will happen if I believe it all.” No matter what you achieve, don’t take your success for granted and carry on working as hard as you did before your abilities were recognised.
James Dyson, Dyson Inc.
What we can learn from James: be persistent.
British entrepreneur and inventor James Dyson didn’t get where he is today by letting people put him off or tell him that his inventions and ambitious vision for his company couldn’t be achieved. In a recent interview, Dyson explained that he thinks entrepreneurs should be wary of taking too much advice, as “people are too quick to say no to an idea but if you have faith, be persistent. Don’t do market research — it will either tell you what you already know, or put you off all together.” This approach has led James to huge success: he’s now the wealthiest engineer in the UK.
Jan Koum, WhatsApp.
What we can learn from Jan: humble beginnings don’t have to hold you back in life.
Messaging service WhatsApp made the headlines last year when it was acquired by Facebook for a mindblowing $16 billion, but what people might not know is that WhatsApp’s inventor Jan Koum was born and raised in a village on the outskirts of Kiev, Ukraine, as the only child of a housewife and a construction labourer. When he moved to California when he was 16 he used to sweep floors to make money and his family relied on food stamps, so he decided to teach himself how to code and became an accomplished computer programmer. Now- thanks to his drive and innovative approach he’s one of the richest people in the world.
The good news is, you don’t have to leave your job to apply these qualities to yourself and make changes in your life. By adopting the traits of an entrepreneur within your existing career you can become an ‘intrapreneur’, attracting the attention of senior managers and leading to improved prospects and promotion. The best way to become an intrapreneur is to sign up for our groundbreaking Udemy course: How To Become An Entrepreneur On The Job.