Jon Marick always had a strong work ethic. Mat Ellis founded a company at age 15. Luke Kanies kept getting fired from jobs.
Each entrepreneur has his or her own path, but some entrepreneurial traits are universal — for instance, hard work, determination, and a willingness to push boundaries, even if it sometimes gets you in trouble.
At our 2014 Tom Holce Entrepreneurship Awards dinner, coming up on October 15, we’ll be honoring a person or founding team whose personal characteristics are the hallmarks of an accomplished entrepreneur. Do you know anyone who fits the bill?
Here’s more from last year’s winner, Mat, and finalists Jon and Luke:
“My first entrepreneurial experience was when I was sent to boarding school, and I found myself at home while all my friends were at school, with a lot of spare time on my hands. So I ended up writing some software for money and some articles too. It was very interesting learning how to sell, and how to be taken seriously at a young age. That eventually grew into a firm I founded at the age of 15 and took to 14 employees. It was a lot of hard work but a tremendous learning experience and something that carried me through for the rest of my career.”
– Mat Ellis, Cloudability
“I grew up with a strong work ethic, and “meat and potatoes” is how we think of Consumer Cellular. There’s nothing really flashy there. We work hard, and we try to provide a great service. ‘Treat others the way you want to be treated’ is how we’ve set our business philosophy as well, which mirrors my personal philosophy. I’ve learned you need to find a niche. Find something that’s going to solve a problem and go for it.”
– Jon Marick, Consumer Cellular
“Right around the time I graduated from college I had seven jobs in 2.5 years. I’m not a very employable person. Many of those jobs I was fired from. I think in many ways that made it so I was a lot more comfortable being fired from the next one. I thought, if I’m going to be fired anyway, I might as well have a job that I’m going to learn something from. Within a couple years of graduation I found myself in a place where I had either figured out how not to get fired or had enough value that it was too dangerous to fire me.”
– Luke Kanies, Puppet Labs