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What Separates Entrepreneurs From Mere Mortals: The Ability to Take Risk

Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. It takes a special breed.

“What separates entrepreneurs from the others is the ability to take risk,” said Raj Peter Bhakta, the founder of WhistlePig whiskey, when visited his farm in Shoreham, Vt., in March. “As you learn from your failures, you are better able to calculate what risks to take and when to really hold on.”

Bhakta had a handful of unsuccessful ventures before he started WhistlePig, which is now a multimillion-dollar venture and was profitable from the first month it started. He launched the company in 2007, just as the Great Recession was getting underway.

In some ways, launching during a slow economy was a good thing, as demand for services was low and prices were negotiable. But launching during a down economy was also a tough road to hoe, says Bhakta, though that’s all part of being an entrepreneur.

“Being an entrepreneur is based on a firm conviction that, ‘I can do it. I can make something happen. I can make something work,’” he says. There are times when you “stare at some dark, dark chasms. There are some cold, lonely nights when you’re alone [in your pursuit]. And yet there is something that says, go on. This will work.”

Watch this video to learn more about Bhakta’s entrepreneurship journey.


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