If you're an entrepreneur, you've probably sacrificed a lot to be your own boss -- security, maybe money, free time, fringe benefits. All to chase that dream of self-determination, of unleashing your creativity on the world, of letting your light shine.
Now, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, which focuses on entrepreneurship, has created a way to stand up and tell the world why you do it all. It's called The Entrepreneur's Pledge, it's part of the foundation's Build A Stronger America movement, and more than 10,000 people have already taken it. Before I get into why people are taking the pledge, here's a copy of it:
I am an Entrepreneur.
I am following a dream, pursuing an opportunity, taking charge of my own destiny.
I am bringing something of value to society, making a job for myself and for others, and creating wealth that benefits my family, my community, my country, my world.
I am one of a movement of millions of entrepreneurs and innovators who made America great, and who will continue to keep our economy going...and growing.
I am what I am because many people have helped me along on this journey.
I will tell my story, sharing my successes and failures, so that others taking the entrepreneurial path can learn.
I will strive to mentor an aspiring entrepreneur.
I will make my voice heard by those who make policy decisions that affect me and my business.
I will appreciate and celebrate my accomplishments, and the accomplishments of all my fellow entrepreneurs.
I will give back to the society that helped me to be successful.
I will Build a Stronger America.
Entrepreneurs are busy people. Why have so many taken the time to sign this pledge? Is it the cool video Kauffman made about it?
Well... the video is uplifting, but I don't know if that's necessarily it.
As a solo, home-based business owner myself -- one who's interviewed a lot of successful entrepreneurs -- I have a theory.
An entrepreneur's life is, very often, a lonely one. It's so easy to feel like you're the only one facing these challenges, confronting these problems, struggling to make payroll, sweating to keep the doors open. The feeling of satisfaction you get when it all works and the business succeeds...you're usually so busy it's hard to find the time to cultivate peers who'd support and applaud your progress. So it's lonely when business is down, and can be lonely when it's up, too.
The pledge gives entrepreneurs a chance to unite. To feel part of something big -- which they are. Entrepreneurs' startup companies are the engine that creates most of the jobs in this country -- which they do, a recent Kauffman Foundation study showed.
Why do you think so many business owners have signed the Entrepreneur's Pledge? Will you sign it? Leave a comment and let us know your reaction.