Those who exhibit the six essential traits of an entrepreneur can afford to be patient, because they know they are going to make their mark someday. It might be next week, or 15 years from now.
Here are a few of my favorite stories that demonstrate how different each entrepreneurial leap is from another. They may inspire you to look at things differently as you wait for your aha moment.
Eddie’s Golf Carts
Watching my friend Ed’s son grow up, I knew he was an entrepreneur-in-the-making. (The six essential traits are actually quite obvious in people when you are aware of them.) In eighth grade, Eddie Pobur Jr. started a lawn-cutting business with his friend. They ran that business until graduating high school. At their peak they were cutting 30 lawns a week.
When he was 16, he started a window-tinting business which made him much more money than lawn cutting. He continued that business until something better came along at age 22.
Eddie grew up in a golf course community. All his life he was surrounded by golf carts. His sophomore year in college, he started a golf cart sales and service business, Eddie’s Golf Carts. In his first year he sold 30 golf carts, in his second year he sold 80 golf carts, and in his fifth year he will sell and service over 200 golf carts. His growth potential is unlimited.
Eddie capitalized on a very hot trend, the market for customized golf carts, which continues to grow rapidly.
Shelly Sun, the founder of BrightStar Care, was a 31-year old corporate controller in the airline industry when she had her light bulb moment.
She was faced with a common family issue. She had to find in-home health care for her family member, who had stage four cancer. It required all levels of care and was a challenging and exhausting experience. She realized a huge gap in the industry’s ability to provide a full continuum of care for her loved one.
Shelly saw an opportunity to improve the industry and help many families avoid the frustrations and heartaches she experienced.
Around the same time, she read the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. The book helped her realize that it might be just as risky to stay in corporate America as it is to become an entrepreneur.
So, she gave herself a year to make it work. She did exhaustive research, talking to hospitals, caregivers, and nursing homes. Her goal was to create a complete in-home solution for families who need to care for a sick loved one, and give them peace of mind.
Shelly launched her first location in Illinois and then opened two more over the next two years. By year three, she decided to franchise her concept. She sold her second and third locations to franchisees in order to fund the franchising model. The business took off from there. Sixteen years later, Shelly now has 335 locations, and BrightStar Care generates $440 million in system-wide sales.
In an Entrepreneur magazine edition on young millionaires,, it featured Brennan Agranoff, the 18-year old founder of HoopSwagg. At age 13, he wanted basketball socks that stood out, and he could only find boring or very expensive socks. He saw a need and after nine months of research and a $3,000 investment from his parents, he was in business.
HoopSwagg is described as a playful brand that manufacturers eye-catching basketball socks. After five years, and at the time the article was written, Brennan had 20 employees and was on track to hit $1.6 million in revenue. He was putting off college to focus on building the business.
Take a few minutes to jot down the thoughts and ideas these stories have prompted. You should also write the words “I am an entrepreneur-in-the-making” if you believe it. It also wouldn’t hurt to say those words out loud right now. Also, if you want to get a jumpstart on taking your leap, set aside just one hour to complete the 1-2-3 Entrepreneurial Roadmap.