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The UPS Store Small Business Blog
  • 01 April 2024
  • Public Relations

4 Entrepreneur Success Stories: How to Succeed in Pursuing Your Passion

Walking on the journey of entrepreneurship can be an adventure filled with challenges, risks, creative ideas and immense rewards. This blog will not only guide you through the process but also share inspiring stories of four entrepreneurs who have achieved remarkable success. Each narrative is a testament to the unwavering determination and an innovative mindset vital elements in the recipe for entrepreneurial success. 


What Is Entrepreneurship?

Entrepreneurship, at its core, is the process of starting, developing and managing a business venture in order to profit by taking several risks in the corporate world.

At its most basic level, entrepreneurship refers to an individual or a small group of partners who strike out on an original path to create a new business. An aspiring entrepreneur actively seeks a particular business venture and it is the entrepreneur who assumes the greatest amount of risk associated with the project. As such, this person also stands to benefit most if the project is a success.

It's not just about launching a new company; it represents a much broader focus of embracing innovation and creativity to solve problems or enhance existing products, services or processes.

The entrepreneurial spirit is characterized by innovation and risk-taking, often resulting in new industries and even reshaping market landscapes. True entrepreneurs have the ability to step out of their comfort zone to disrupt the status quo and pave the way for innovative ideas.

A recent small business owner survey from Guidant Financial found that the top three industries for small business startups are:

  • Food and restaurant operations
  • Retail
  • Business services

Other leading industries included health and fitness, finance, insurance and law. No matter what type of venture a small business entrepreneur is involved in, it’s vital that they prioritize innovation and perseverance.

Why Become an Entrepreneur?

There are many reasons one would pursue an entrepreneur's journey.

Independence and Control

As an entrepreneur, you gain the freedom to make decisions and control the direction of your own business, rather than working under someone else's instructions. You can make the choices best suited for your business. At the same time, the results of the choices you make alone are your own. A plus side is being able to tackle issues head-on with no stifling or hesitation from another party. That said, there's a lot of pressure to be felt if all the decision-making is done on your own. Entrepreneurs are brave, even just to start on a big idea on their own. The most successful are visionaries who didn't let their own mistakes or poor choices get in the way of their goals.

Potential for Profit for Your Own Business

With a successful entrepreneurial venture, there is a significant potential for high profits and financial gain. You could benefit from the profit on a personal level or you could invest that profit back into your business or other businesses' needs and goals.

Opportunity for Innovation

Entrepreneurship offers a platform for bringing innovative ideas to life, creating value and solutions to existing problems. You could provide a service for people or you could offer a tool that people need. You could come up with the keys to people's personal liberation or you could just make them laugh. The world of ideas is open; it's what speaks to you that's important.

Personal Growth

The journey of entrepreneurship fosters personal development, as it requires resilience, problem-solving and decision-making skills. The lessons learned from entrepreneur success stories show that the journey is often full of challenges that will empower an entrepreneur to grow as a business owner. 

4 Entrepreneurs Who Have Achieved Remarkable Success

Diving into the realm of success, let's explore the inspiring journeys of four entrepreneurs whose innovative ideas, focus and relentless determination have not only carved their path to success, but also revolutionized their respective companies and industries.

LaDonna Welch, Founder of Ebony Notes

The winner of the 2023 The UPS Store® Small Biz Challenge, LaDonna Welch, is the founder of Ebony Notes, a mobile app, in Bossier City, Louisiana. Welch was awarded the grand prize during the final competition at the One World Observatory in New York City.

Out of thousands of applicants, the top three finalists were selected to compete in a series of challenges for a chance to win $25,000 and a feature in Inc. magazine. 

Ebony Notes is a revolutionary mobile app designed specifically for the Black community, by the Black community. Welch’s mission is to empower and uplift Black individuals by providing daily affirmations that speak to their unique experiences and challenges.  

Welch is a multi-talented individual with a diverse background in education, technology and wellness. As an educator and military spouse, she has a strong sense of community and the importance of supporting those in need.

Her experience teaching coding and robotics to students of all ages has given her a unique perspective on how technology can be used to promote education and personal growth. Welch's passion for mental health and wellness led her to create Ebony Notes, which promotes self-care and well-being within the Black community.

Welch's expertise in technology and programming languages and diverse range of interests, including planning and crafting, have contributed to the creation of a user-friendly and accessible app and have been integral to the development of Ebony Notes.  

Dr. Kimberly McGlonn, Founder and Owner of Grant BLVD

Over the last year and a half, small business owners have been hard at work, adapting to meet consumer demands.

In 2021’s Small Biz Challenge, hosted by chef, author and TV host Carla Hall and veteran TV host, social media influencer and author Shannon LaNier, the winner was awarded to Dr. Kimberly McGlonn, founder and owner of Grant BLVD in Philadelphia. McGlonn received the $25,000 prize money and was a featured business owner in Inc. magazine.

McGlonn stood out from the competition by problem-solving and demonstrating her agility and nimble decision-making.

Grant BLVD is a Philadelphia-based Black-owned business centered on sustainability and ethical clothing production.

Grant BLVD is the first Black-owned B Corp in the fashion space in North America and a manufacturing start-up. In addition to reducing waste before and after production through sustainably focused design, the company works to reduce poverty and improve the quality of life of those currently and formerly impacted by the criminal justice system by partnering with local non-profit and government agencies to create living wage employment opportunities.

"I've always been a defender of civil & human rights, probably because activism and advocacy lived in the actions of my parents. But beyond that, growing up Black in Milwaukee, a girl raised Muslim on the northside- I had plenty of exposure to the realities of poverty and marginalization. No doubt, my love for diversity and story and tradition, my affection for humanity, has also been nurtured by my travels around the world. These collective experiences color everything about my sense of fashion. I was inspired to launch Grant Blvd because I was determined to be of service to not only marginalized people, but also to the planet. This is why our launch collection uses no new fabric and no new water. Ultimately, this is the mission of Grant Blvd- to make clothes that are undeniably and reliably stylish, but to also center an approach to design within the fight for justice and reform. For me, sustainability also means hiring womxn, particularly those that are returning citizens, immigrants, & those working through homelessness. I believe that if (sic) we demand more, if we think differently about not only what we buy, but who we buy from, we have the power to challenge not only the social issues exacerbated by mass incarceration, but to more meaningfully address climate change," says McGlonn.

David A. Paul, MD, MS, Founder of Bold & Gritty, LLC

Bold & Gritty is a Black-owned coffee-focused lifestyle brand, founded in Rochester, New York. With a background in neurosurgery, business and graphic design, David A. Paul is the visionary behind the Bold & Gritty brand. Paul defines the Bold & Gritty narrative and leverages the brand to highlight stories of Black male success.

"When we launched Bold and Gritty, we made a conscious effort to do something that builds a legacy. That commitment goes beyond the coffee that we roast and the merchandise that we sell. It is how we go about our daily lives. The Bold and Gritty life is built on the small things that no one sees. The personal challenges and wins that create an indelible impression on the world around us. The stories that we share with each other and the culture that we embrace. Read more about our commitment to building community in Rochester, NY. This is our story. Stay Bold. Stay Gritty."

Why coffee? "Today, coffee is a commodity enjoyed around the world. However, its history is tainted by colonialism, slave labor and gentrification. This leads many people to believe that coffee is for 'white people.’ Bold and Gritty is a Black-owned, coffee-focused lifestyle brand that is working to change this narrative. By both honoring Black people’s contributions to the history of coffee and using it as a vehicle to tell inspiring stories of Black male success – Bold and Gritty is establishing itself at the forefront of a growing movement in coffee dubbed the fourth wave."

Sammi Bivens, Founder and CEO of Digital Marketing Maven

Sleek. Savvy. Smart. That’s how people describe the Maven, Sammi Bivens. At Digital Marketing Maven, Bivens is on a mission to help small businesses grow to their fullest potential.

She uses her background in entrepreneurship and her corporate experience as a Marketing Manager to design customized digital marketing strategies that communicate her clients’ unique business value while also helping to ensure that their business foundation is intact. Bivens's goal is not only to help create beautiful brand identities but also to help businesses be sustainable for scalable growth.

Bivens pursued her business dreams prior to starting her company, Digital Marketing Maven. She has 12 years of experience in entrepreneurship as well as holds an MBA in marketing, which led her into years of experience in corporate America. Bivens believes clients seek her out because of her genuine passion to help and inspire others to become as successful as her.

Bivens started her first business, Tainted Rose out of her passion for fashion. Here Bivens experienced first-hand what it takes to start and maintain a business.

Bivens says she is proud to share her story of grit as an inspiration and as a step-by-step roadmap for women just like her who have a dream in their heart and a commitment to see it all the way through.

How to See Success as an Entrepreneur

As you navigate this path, it is crucial to understand that success lies not only in reaping financial gains but also in fostering innovation, creating impactful solutions and leaving a lasting legacy in your chosen industry.

In this next section, we will delve into some essential strategies and perspectives that can guide you toward achieving success as an entrepreneur. Armed with these insights, you can chart your own course in the entrepreneurial world, breaking barriers and setting new benchmarks along the way.

Define Your Vision

Establish a clear, concise and compelling vision for your own business that serves as your guiding light. The benefit of a humble beginning is that you are free to brainstorm exactly what it is you want your business to be. You are the founder of your own idea. Brainstorm your idea at first by writing everything down. Write everything that comes to you, even if the idea doesn't make sense at the moment. Let the writing flow until all of your thoughts are out on paper to be read afterward. From then, you can edit and conceptualize down to what exactly you want your business to be.

Embrace Risk

Understand that entrepreneurial ventures involve risk. It's not limited to just young entrepreneurs with humble beginnings. See risk as an opportunity rather than a deterrent. Many new businesses often fail more than succeed, but take those failures as learning steps toward their eventual success.

Stay Flexible

Throughout your entrepreneurial journey, be open to changes. Flexibility allows you to not get stuck in one avenue of business. Not being too ideas is a way to allow yourself to try everything to find out what the best decision is in the end. The most successful entrepreneurs adapt their strategies in response to market trends and customer preferences. Many have realized that their initial decisions were not always the best ones.

Build a Strong Network

Forge relationships with other entrepreneurs, potential partners and mentors. Before setting up their first company, budding entrepreneurs in their early days can make use of socializing with both experienced entrepreneurs and new ones. One way is to find such groups is on social media, following hashtags and trends that lead you to organizations of or for businesses similar to yours. Find out what events they're holding and attend.

Invest in Continuous Learning

Always keep learning and improving your skills. Stay updated on industry trends and best practices. Find venues for support and follow the latest on leadership from successful entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson, who established Virgin Records, and Jack Ma, of the Alibaba Group.

Prioritize Customer Satisfaction

A few things to keep in mind when putting your focus on customers: First, always strive to exceed customer expectations. Have you ever had an experience as a customer yourself, where you felt that your request or service was not only taken care of, but that you felt you walked away with an added bonus? This is a great way to appeal to the emotional security of your customers. Treat them like friends and family and they will always consider you trustworthy.

Second, deliver value and build a loyal customer base. Successful entrepreneurs have developed market-leading products and enhanced their personal net worth by giving more to their customers. Hard work counts for nothing companies avoid learning about their customers' needs.

Persevere in Your Entrepreneurial Ventures

Stay motivated and don't be discouraged by missteps. See them as stepping stones to success. Keep pushing forward with resilience and determination. Inspire yourself to keep working hard. Read or listen to business leaders and their failure stories. See that what they have in common is always falling but also always getting back up and continuing to move forward.

Starting April 8, cast your vote for who you think should win The UPS Store 2024 Small Biz Challenge, and visit the Small Business Service Center to learn how we're here to help make small business ownership as seamless as possible.

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