5 Entrepreneurs Share The Big Ideas That Changed Their Lives
It’s not so surprising that the original usage of the word “entrepreneur” was synonymous with “adventurer.” There’s always been a certain risk involved in starting and running a business operation. It’s uncharted territory, and that’s how people talked about it for hundreds of years.
But this century, the idea of entrepreneurship has moved to the very center of professional culture. Heck, it’s one of our Lifestyles, which means more and more young people don’t consider entrepreneurship some wild alternative to life in a corporate office; it’s the way they think about the world from the jump — how can I make a living off my own ideas and hard work?
Today, we’re spotlighting five Entrepreneurs who embody another word often associated the ubiquitous French term: spirit. These fitness gurus, esports entertainers, and bona fide inventors wake up every day supporting themselves on business savvy and original ideas. They made mistakes, sure, but they never gave in.
Christopher “Drama” Pfaff
Let’s pick up right where we left off — with risk. No Entrepreneur is ever going to have a perfect business record. If that were true, how would they have learned anything about growing an idea from a seed or bouncing back from mistakes?
That’s why Young & Reckless clothing CEO Christopher “Drama” Pfaff says “looking to fail” can be more productive than always expecting to succeed. That’s a philosophy that continues to drive Pfaff even as things look remarkably good with his clothing brand, podcast, and social media presence. Two good months of sales could be followed by a down week, and all of a sudden, the CEO has to be front and center again, ready to right the ship and think creatively. Learn more in our video interview with Pfaff.
Karena Dawn and Katrina Scott
From tours to events to videos to recipes, ToneItUp founders Katrina Scott and Karena Dawn have absolutely thrived in the lifestyle brand space. To start, they did what all successful entrepreneurs do when interested in disrupting or just finding their ideal niche in an industry. They saw a world of digital fitness that could be intimidating, a little too reminiscent of drill sergeants, to feel welcoming to newcomers.
They’ve since prized body positivity and empowerment over all else, mainly because that’s the way they wanted to be spoken to when entering the fitness world. Watch the video below to hear about Scott and Dawn’s brainstorming beach walk that launched a massive business.
No one fits the classical ideal of an Entrepreneur on this list quite like Clay Alexander. He literally had a million-dollar idea for something that didn’t yet exist. After founding his company Ember in 2012, Alexander helped introduce the world’s first self-heating coffee mug. It was a smashing success. [Orders yours here!]
“Turns out the world actually cares when their coffee gets cold,” Alexander half-jokes. But this is how he’s always thought about the world, tinkering with ideas and trying to think differently. Learn more in the video below about Alexander’s lifelong journey from childhood erector sets to a cutting-edge home technology company.
One important thing to remember about entrepreneurship is that it can be executed with a conscience. If the nonprofit world simply isn’t the way to sustain your life and make the impact you want, a scrappy startup could be the answer. That’s what Kelley McAtee found when she launched Dharma Dog Training out of her home in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
McAtee, who has a degree in the sociology of pets, had spent years watching troubled animals suffer frustration and neglect because pet owners didn’t know how to interpret, much less correct, their behavior. That’s why McAtee calls the animals she works with fundamentally “misunderstood.”
“Many of the dogs we work with are misunderstood and have not had guidance in their life. They end of making really bad decisions that will get them into trouble because of this. We empower people with the tools they need to help their dogs with their behavior issues.”
Learn more about McAtee’s niche business in our full Q&A.
Back when StarCraft II was the major power in the fledgling world of esports, Kevin Knocke made his mark as a grassroots personality. He “fired up” a stream and started doing play by plays. As with many aspiring pros in that world, Knocke kept hacking away until an industry with some real financial opportunities bloomed around him.
Now the VP of ESports for ReKTGlobal, Knocke handles advertising, media buys and sponsor relations for the company that aims to shape “the future of esports.” On the way to a much sought-after career though, Knocke would constantly brainstorm ways to make new connections and grow his audience as an esports personality.
Check out his advice for aspiring esports professionals and full video interview below.
“Two of the best ways to get started are to create content or volunteer at events and tournaments. Get involved and add value to an organization by offering administrative support. In esports, this can often be done from the comfort of your own home. Continue to do work!”