It takes guts, determination, passion and a bit of a dreamer to make an entrepreneur. But it also takes a belief in what you can do.

I’ve met a lot of entrepreneurs over the years. Some have made successful businesses for themselves while others have struggled year after year just to get by. There isn’t any failsafe recipe for success, but the one thing that seems to matter most is passion.

One of the most passionate entrepreneurs that I’ve come across taught me a very valuable lesson. He taught me how to bring the passion out in those around me through conversation. To find what people are passionate about and focus it into what they are doing is something I strive to do everyday with my employees, contributors and virtually everyone I come in contact with. It is as if I feed off the energy.

Another important lesson I learned from an entrepreneur long ago was to help others. It wasn’t easy, especially when I was barely making enough to feed myself, but I had a big vision and wanted my future to flourish.

I think of the people I met today: the musician, the artist, the writers, all passionate about what they do. And I think of ways to help them achieve their goals, of ways to bring their ideas to our readers – to do what I love to do most: present ideas to people.

The desire to make something happen, to see it through, to give up the safety and security of a pay cheque and go out on a limb for an idea, or a dream, distinguishes an entrepreneur from an employee.

And perhaps there is something of the perfectionist in entrepreneurs. They don’t like other people screwing up their ideas. Today I wait for web artwork to come from an agency. We’ve been waiting almost two months and their incompetence is growing more and more frustrating. What makes it so frustrating? It hurts the success of the entire campaign for our mutual client and makes my business look bad. The entrepreneur in me, the desire to do the best that I can at whatever I do, is losing patience. I realize that I could never work for people who don’t have the drive to do their best. Perhaps that is why I grate the agency people so much. I’m sure they have labeled me the loose cannon who will do whatever it takes to get everything done right, but I don’t mind.

I met a musician this morning who wants to try to make it on her own. She’s not looking to sign on with a record label, but wants to stay independent. Her worry is that a label might try to change her, package her music and change the beauty of it – she is an entrepreneur in the making, and is willing to take a chance on herself, and risk her pay cheque.

That’s the difference between an entrepreneur and an employee. An entrepreneur risks her success, comfort zone, and pay cheque for the belief she has in herself.

Sarah Thomson can be reached at


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