This is the first of four posts by Jonathan Terrell, President of KCIC, drawn from his essay “Entrepreneurship As The Privilege of Creating Community.”
I co-founded this business almost 13 years ago. I started out with partners, but after a series of unexpected setbacks, found myself two years later, as the sole owner and leader of what we had started. After a career spent working in major corporations, and a self-identity as a corporate animal, it was something of a shock to my system to find myself as a business leader. For this reason, I sometimes refer to myself as the “accidental entrepreneur”.
At first I found it a heavy burden to bear. I felt like a pilgrim in a foreign country, trying to find my way. But guides appeared, especially a life-changing corporate coach, who showed me the guideposts to business leadership. More than anything, I was scared to death that I would fail, and that the members of the company and their families, as well as my own family, all of whom were depending on me — would pay the price if I lost my way.
In those early days, I did not espouse any grand philosophies of business leadership. I did not spout off about entrepreneurship and community. Lowlier ambitions, like making payroll, were on my mind.
Looking back today, while I am still uncomfortable inhabiting the word “entrepreneur”, I know that I love it, could not bear to do or be anything else, and am deeply sensible to the great privilege that has been afforded me by these opportunities. As I am regularly asked to describe my thinking on entrepreneurship, I have written an essay explaining what has become clear to me over the years that have followed.
To read Jonathan’s complete essay, including his list of 15 things that he believes, please click here.