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Four Things Entrepreneurs Don't Need, According to This Outdoor Adventurer and Creative Founder How L. Renee Blount built a business around her love of the outdoors, storytelling and a healthy dose of whimsey.

By Dan Bova

L. Renee Blount

In this ongoing series, we are sharing advice, tips and insights from real entrepreneurs who are out there doing business battle on a daily basis. (Answers have been edited and condensed for clarity.)

Who are you and what's your business?

My name is L. Renee Blount. I am a professional athlete, (@urbanclimbr on Instagram), and founder of WndrHaus, a full-service creative house where whimsey, brand strategy, production and storytelling meet. We work to illuminate untold stories and rethink the future. Our biggest clients are interested in tapping our passion to showcase joy, flavor and adventure amongst underrepresented groups, as well as go-to-market strategies for campaigns.

What inspired you to create this business?

Very simply, my love for the outdoors and the creative realm, and not seeing many of "me" represented out there. Meaning, three things:

  1. A black-owned and women-owned business where I am a rarity in both the outdoor and creative consulting businesses (product and brand specifically).

  2. Ownership to open doors not just for myself in these industries but for others as well. I hire an all-women crew whenever possible for my assignments because I know that in my personal experience, I have been overlooked simply because "a man can carry more equipment" on certain expeditions, where I knew I should have been chosen and could have produced even more amazing content for those companies.

  3. I love the behind-the-scenes action. It's often not the most famous people who are moving and shaking things. It's those who are connected and provide a business case as to why it matters. I want to play in this space for a long time. Since my time working in brand strategy & innovation, I rarely have seen people who look like me, which illuminates the structural issues to get here, but importantly highlights. There's so much room to do really rad and epic things that are different. I bring a different energy and such different perspectives from my peers - and more importantly, an exuberance that I am really proud to take ownership of. I truly believe in what I am doing and want to make sure I'm a gate opener, rather than a gatekeeper.

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I didn't get to play a ton of sports or camp growing up, but I did attend a high school that was deeply concentrated on the arts, which was instrumental in many ways in getting me where I am now. I pursued a graduate degree in architecture at Harvard, which transitioned into a career as a creative director where I could marry my love for the outdoors and creativity while having an impact in representing the underrepresented through my work and in my community. Because I wasn't seeing marketing campaigns and ads that reflected me or who looked like my friends, I wanted to change not only that but also make climbing more accessible to people of color who normally don't have access due to financial limitations or not having the opportunity culturally. I know that I have a special gift for making content more accessible to the everyday person, and showing more joy and flavor in my work.

What advice would you give entrepreneurs looking for funding?

It starts with relationships and having a vision. It's a game of hustle, where I keep learning and maneuvering wherever possible. It's about being able to learn on the fly, being respectful yet persistent and pleasant, staying nimble with the changes and being willing to fail - but learning how to fail forward. For example, someone with more resources than I do will have a bigger window to fail. For someone with fewer resources, we have to figure out how to make the window of possible failure shorter because you might not have as much fallback. You have to think about what you'll do if it doesn't go well, and have a cushion to take a risk like having enough savings and the right timing.

What does the word "entrepreneur" mean to you?

Entrepreneurship is leaving a legacy like nothing else. By helping to create a new set of rules, a new playbook, and a new flow that adds to the lexicon of what is happening and how we can progress forward. As an entrepreneur, it means we exist to serve one another, not just our pockets. It is being a steward of trust and decency to your partners. More importantly, you have the ability to hire and uplift others, especially your community, which is powerful.

Related: You Don't Have to Be a Business Owner to Think Like an Entrepreneur

What is something many aspiring business owners think they need that they really don't?

Simply, I went to too much school. As a first-generation student, I thought it was the ticket. With little guidance, I was book-smart and was not cognizant of other avenues. I didn't know they existed. Hence, I believe in seeking out people to converse with now constantly to illuminate what's possible and understand much sooner.

When people ask me about the graduate school path and often ask about Harvard, I really ask what their reasonings are. I ask them about their ROI and what that adjacency will really do for them. For some, it makes sense, for many it absolutely does not, especially if they have a full-ride elsewhere (It also depends on the degree. I don't believe in going to high debt for lower-income yielding fields). It's about financial mobility especially when you have access to fewer resources. I could wax poetic on that longer!

As someone who comes from a single-parent household, I'm filled with gratitude that I've been able to navigate this path. It's been far from easy. There's a lot I've had to do to learn. And THAT I can never regret. Information is such an unlock. Getting coffees with the executives you'd like to be can shave off so much time - and money too.

Other things you may not need:

  • A grandiose vision: Maybe you want to solve something that's simple. That's what it was in my case initially. I didn't see myself represented out there and because I came from brand strategy & innovation, the solutions seemed obvious to me. And I could speak to it.

  • Lots of voices: Go for it. You may not hear validation for a while and that's okay if you've done your research.

  • Balance: I think it doesn't exist for many, to be truthful. Enjoy the work and know it does take sacrifice.

  • Debt: I worked a full-time job until I could leave. I had a shorter window of time to take that risk (due to a small fallback), but I tried to make the most out of it when I jumped in head first. If I failed, it was okay. My mom and grandmother knew what it was like to not be supported in taking risks, so they cheered me on. That meant everything.

More importantly, what you do need is a cheerleader, grit, and hope. You have the ability to take risks.

Dan Bova

Entrepreneur Staff

VP of Special Projects

Dan Bova is the VP of Special Projects at He previously worked at Jimmy Kimmel Live, Maxim, and Spy magazine. His latest books for kids include This Day in History, Car and Driver's Trivia ZoneRoad & Track Crew's Big & Fast Cars, The Big Little Book of Awesome Stuff, and Wendell the Werewolf

Read his humor column This Should Be Fun if you want to feel better about yourself.

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