While some may get caught up in the glitz and glamour of creating your own schedule as an entrepreneur, living an entrepreneurial lifestyle can have its downfalls. As an entrepreneur, you are constantly riding the wave between risking it all for the possibility of success, or utter failure. Young entrepreneurs, often get the brunt of criticism from those who accuse them of not having a "real" business or being told they are not an expert because they are too young.
What does it really mean to be an entrepreneur: lifestyle or revenue? What do you have to risk to make it to the top? We asked eight rockstar entrepreneurs. Here is what they had to say:
"I genuinely want to make significant change in anything that I put my mind to: Industry, market or mentality. If I can get that level of consensus, create a new understanding or a better way of doing something, and people believe cause is just, that is what I believe makes me an entrepreneur. It's the drive to make things happen."
-- Scott Gerber, serial entrepreneur, internationally syndicated columnist, TV host, founder of The Young Entrepreneur Council (Y.E.C.), active angel investor and author of the book Never Get a “Real” Job
"A lot of people struggle to wrap a bow around what being an entrepreneur really means and who is an entrepreneur. It's up to each individual to define what entrepreneurship means to him. I like to think that my ideas are what define me as an entrepreneur above all else."
-- Ryan Paugh, Community Director and Chief of Staff for The Young Entrepreneur Council (Y.E.C.)
"Entrepreneurs typically live a lifestyle in which their business takes priority. They make personal lifestyle sacrifices to accommodate and support their dream. The defining factor ultimately comes down to having a passion and commitment required to deliver from conception to execution."
-- Jordan Edelson, CEO of Appetizer Mobile LLC, a mobile development application platform and consulting company
"Risk is what defines an entrepreneur. Unlike having a job, where there is a basic system and a paycheck you can depend on, being an entrepreneur means that risk is entirely on you and, possibly your partner's shoulders. Entrepreneurs risk putting years into something that may or may not work. They risk it all in the hope that eventually, it will all pay off."
-- Marni Galison, founder and CEO of Sunday at Noon, a personalized matchmaking and event company in Manhattan, New York
"I work harder now than I did working in corporate America. But there's nothing like the satisfaction of working for myself and to build my own company brand, rather than do it for someone else. That's what being an entrepreneur is about."
-- Amy Palmer, Emmy-Nominated Entertainment Correspondent, Executive Producer, CEO & Founder of PowerwomenTV
"Being an entrepreneur is often about being willing to take a risk without any idea if you are really going to make any revenue or not. The defining entrepreneur factor is the passion and willingness to take a risk to meet a need in the market."
-- Nick Nanton, Esq., Emmy Award-Winning Director and Producer, also known as The Celebrity Lawyer and Agent to top celebrity experts
"I feel like I was born to lead and that's how I define what makes me an entrepreneur. It's not about the money I make or the entrepreneurial lifestyle. I want to be a strong woman leader who lives without limits and empowers other women to do the same."
-- Natalie MacNeil, Emmy Award-winning digital media entrepreneur and Founder & Editor-in-Chief of She Takes on the World, a leading blog for women in business
"Being an entrepreneur isn’t about the potential financial gain because most likely, for most ventures, there won’t be that much financial gain. I pursued a life of entrepreneurship so that I could always learn new things and explore cutting edge technology and businesses."
-- RJ Sherman, COO and Co-Founder of Brand Yourself, a personal branding platform
Kris Ruby is the President and Founder of Ruby Media Group LLC, founded with the goal of opening the vast potential of Social Media on the web to companies wishing to build relationships, grow and profit from Web 2.0. She is also a member of The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC promotes entrepreneurship as a solution to unemployment and underemployment and provides entrepreneurs with access to tools, mentorship, and resources that support each stage of their business’s development and growth.