What it Means to Be an Entrepreneur | Why People Choose to Grow a Business

Donna & Julie Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurship is no easy task. It’s a road filled with endless work to-dos, consistent obstacles, and a lot of rejection. Sleepless nights lead into long workdays lead into challenges that most 9-to-5-ers never have to deal with. So why do so many people do it?

Each month, about 550,000 people choose to embark on this challenge-filled path and become entrepreneurs. And more and more people do it every year. In particular, the amount of women who begin building businesses every year has increased.

For me, being an entrepreneur is a force. Sometimes the passion to deliver overrides common sense. This allows me to push through the tremendous obstacles every entrepreneur faces.

Donna Letier

Articles claim that building your own business is fulfilling for many reasons — from leaving a legacy, to financial success, to autonomy. Which, surely, these are all benefits.

But what do the actual innovators say?

We spoke to two of our favorite entrepreneurs — and two of the most powerful women we know— Donna Letier and Julie Eggers (co-founders of Gardenuity) to discover why they embarked on building a business and what they gain from it.

Q: What was your motivation to become an entrepreneur? What fuels the fire?

A: Julie and I saw a problem in the market and knew we could fix it. We could see that consumers wanted to have successful growing experiences for a multitude of reasons: wellness and mindfulness, food, cooking, health and just the joy of the harvest. Personally, we also believe in the immense good that comes from growing a garden.

We had an idea that makes peoples’ lives better, and so we created a business to support it.

As far as what fuels us…Julie and I both have a core resolve, perseverance, and grit. We believe in our mission, our product, and the people who are helping us to grow. And then, we’re both motivated by curiosity and passion. This is our true fire.

Q: What is the hardest part about being an entrepreneur? The most fulfilling?

A: The hardest part about being an entrepreneur is learning to trust your gut. As a business founder, you’re required to make decisions quickly and rationally. Trusting your instincts plays a big part in this.

For us, having a partner makes the entrepreneurial journey easier and better. Not every decision you make is going to be the right one. Having a partner to help motivate and push you through the wrong decisions is really helpful.

The other thing that can be difficult as an entrepreneur is not taking feedback personally. Some customers love you and some don’t. For me, I’ve learned to take the data and use it to make the business better — even if I disagree.

The most fulfilling part is when customers send us notes and pictures with their garden. Hearing real stories from customers about their “I grew that” moment is really satisfying for us. Anytime our product delivers, we’re reminded how important what we’ve created is.

Q: Does entrepreneurship empower you or improve your quality of life? How so?

A: The garden experience that is Gardenuity is empowering. Nurturing something, watching it grow, and then enjoying its harvest is empowering.

As an entrepreneur, I am always learning. It’s just part of the job. The consistent influx of new experiences and ideas really adds value to life.

You should never stop growing at any age and never stop encouraging others to grow. And, you have to grow with your whole heart — even though the rewards are sometimes silent. I’ve found that being an active participant in growing good things is a legacy anyone can be proud of.

Q: What advice do you have to burgeoning entrepreneurs out there — especially women?

A: Start small, be smart, think big, hustle hard, and keep the faith. Partner and hire people who are smarter than you and who truly share your vision. Remember to put yourself on your to-do list and laugh. Laugh at yourself, your mistakes, the journey.

Otherwise, just go for it!