What does it mean to be an entrepreneur?

Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone, but those who pursue it find it incredibly rewarding. The article features insights from five female entrepreneurs on what it means to be an entrepreneur, ranging from building community to promoting growth and creating leaders.

Whether you’re self-employed, working a side hustle, or managing your own small business, entrepreneurship is never a cookie-cutter endeavor. There are many paths on the journey of becoming an entrepreneur, meaning it’s not just about working hard. But those who stick with it and make it through the ups and downs find it incredibly rewarding. 

In recognition of National Entrepreneur Day, we’re taking an in-depth look at what it truly means to be an entrepreneur. Five female entrepreneurs from our family of Intuit small business customers also weigh in with powerful, real-world examples of entrepreneurial success.

What is an entrepreneur?

An entrepreneur conceptualizes, builds, and runs a business on their own terms. But any business owner will tell you entrepreneurship is so much more than that.

Characteristics of an entrepreneur 

It takes a special set of skills to become a successful entrepreneur, meaning the road isn’t for everyone. The path can challenge even those of the highest business skill level. But that’s not to say that it can’t be done. 

By examining famous entrepreneurs, as well as small business owners, we start to see many share the following characteristics:

  • Passion for their mission
  • Optimism 
  • Problem-solving skills 
  • Resourcefulness 
  • Confidence 
  • Independence 
  • Big-picture thinking
  • Perseverance
  • Focus
  • Quick to take action
  • Courageous

Types of entrepreneurship 

Most entrepreneurs fall into one of these four types of entrepreneurship: 

  • Small businesses are typically single-location businesses like your local grocery store, restaurant, etc. They can also be online-based businesses. 
  • Social entrepreneurship is when someone creates a business to give back to humanity. Tom’s Shoes is a great example of this type of entrepreneurship. Every pair of their shoes you buy triggers a donation of another pair to children in third-world countries. 
  • Large-company entrepreneurship is typically when a company lives within another, larger company. It involves either opening a new branch or division that aligns with opportunities the CEO sees or new ideas from current employees. 
  • Scalable startup companies rely on some type of unique innovation. These are your Silicon Valley-style entrepreneurs. Their goal is to grow continually over time, and these projects usually require large capital investments to start.

What it means to be an entrepreneur according to five female entrepreneurs 

Entrepreneurship means independence

“To me, being an entrepreneur means being a strong independent woman who isn’t afraid to go her own way and pave her own path. She doesn’t take the easy road because she’s fierce and isn’t afraid to take risks in order to grow her business and create a prosperous future for herself. It means being a woman who takes control of her life and destiny.” 

– Melissa Garcia, owner and founder of Treat Lord 

Melissa began making custom denim jackets for dogs as a hobby, but once she discovered that people wanted to purchase the jackets, she took a risk and turned it into a business. You can learn more about Melissa and her self-employed journey here.

Entrepreneurship builds community 

“I built my small business to define entrepreneurship and educate women. We mentor students to prepare them for careers in engineering and tech. Girls aren’t choosing careers in these fields because there is a lack of role models. The industry is predominantly male, with a common misconception of being ‘nerdy.’ 

Being an entrepreneur means setting yourself up to create value for your community. I’m doing so through a female mentorship program and rebranding STEM to be feminine, cool, and simple to understand. We believe that all girls interested in STEM can push the movement by embracing being themselves.” 

– Khanna Bell, founder and executive officer of Pretty Tech 

Khanna got her B.S. and M.S. in engineering from Georgia Tech and was accepted into Georgia Tech’s Create-X Accelerator, where she received the funding and mentorship to launch Pretty Tech. Pretty Tech is an organization that provides educational resources and trains students in marketable tech skills to prepare them for careers in engineering, tech, and entrepreneurship. You can learn more about her story in here

Entrepreneurship promotes growth

“Being a female entrepreneur means honor, self-control, self-discipline, privilege, and the limitless pursuit to become someone greater than you could have ever imagined possible for yourself. You hold power and influence within you that will only go as far as you choose, while comfort zones are no longer existent. As an entrepreneur, you need to believe in something so much and want it so bad that you’re willing to put yourself out there, go against the grain, and stand out from the crowd.” 

– Daisy Teh, creator The It Mom and Style Wanderlust 

Daisy is a mother of four who worked various jobs before becoming an entrepreneur. She is currently a full-time professional blogger, writing about lifestyle, fashion, and beauty for busy moms on her blog, The It Mom.

Entrepreneurship creates leaders

“Being a female entrepreneur means that I get to be the boss! Every day, I make decisions that will shape the future of my business, whether it’s how hard I work or who I work with. I love the flexibility of my job, the power to say no, and the ability to set my goals and work toward building my own dream rather than someone else’s. I get to decide when I need a vacation and who my co-workers are, and this allows me to help control my mental health and live the lifestyle I want – being my own boss and pursuing my dreams on my timeline.” 

– Diana Elizabeth Steffen, founder of Silver Spoon studio, Diana Elizabeth Photography 

Diana Elizabeth is a recovering journalist, a lifestyle blogger, and a small business owner. In 2006, she opened her graphic design boutique, Silver Spoon Studio, and went on to launch Diana Elizabeth Photography. She continues to exercise her journalism skills via her blog, covering lifestyle, photography, travel, and other interests, including life as an entrepreneur. 

Entrepreneurship means empowerment

“Being a female entrepreneur is powerful because we can shape both the business and cultural climates of the future. By becoming financially empowered via solving a global or local business problem, we enable ourselves to unleash our full feminine energy onto the world. We use our female voices to fight for women’s rights, children’s rights, and human rights. I also believe that we need to encourage more women to pursue entrepreneurship because female entrepreneurs approach conflicts in business and in life with distinct compassion, respect, conversation, positivity, grit, and rationale mindsets.” 

– Shinjini Das, CEO at the Das Media Group 

Shinjini is the founder and CEO of the media production agency, The Das Media Group, which builds innovative digital and experiential branded experiences. She is a true go-getter who aims to bridge the content gap between intellect and pop culture. 

How to become an entrepreneur 

Do you think you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? Intuit is here to help you achieve your dreams – whatever that looks like for you. For our entrepreneurs-at-heart out there, we’re here to provide all the resources you need to help you start a new business and support you every step of the way.