3 Life Experiences That Lead to Entrepreneurial Success

By Margot Machol Bisnow, author of Raising an Entrepreneur- How to Help Your Children Achieve Their Dreams; 99 S%tories From Families Who Did

Entrepreneurs are often asked, “What’s your secret to success?” Answers range from risk-taking and a self-starter mindset to curiosity and imagination.  But where did these traits come from, and what conditions enabled the entrepreneurs to develop them to their full potential?

This is the question I set out to answer in writing my book Raising an Entrepreneur- How to Help Your Children Achieve Their Dreams; 99 S%tories From Families Who Did.  I interviewed a very diverse group of seventy successful entrepreneurs including Jon Chu, director of Crazy Rich Asians; Paige Mycoskie, founder and owner of clothing company Aviator Nation; Thomas Vu, lead producer on League of Legends; Dhani Jones, former NFL linebacker who went on to host a TV show, co-found a creative agency, and chair an investment fund; and superstar chef and sustainability advocate Nyesha Arrington.

The group was made up of half men, half women, from every race and religion. Every socioeconomic background was represented; there were big families and small families; they came from big cities and small towns; and they had parents who hadn’t gone to college to parents with advanced degrees.  Some were born in the U.S., others were born overseas or had immigrant parents.

They went into very diverse fields: They started big companies with a wide range of products and services; they started innovative non-profits and profit-for-purpose that are changing the world; they became artists like movie directors and songwriters writers; and they became activists, fighting for causes they believe in. They fit my definition of an entrepreneur: They are all people who started something.

While I made dozens of eye-opening and heart-warming discoveries about their lives and backgrounds, I also learned — to my surprise — that they all shared three underlying experiences shaped by their families from the time they were children.

They pursued and mastered a passion when young. 

As children, they found a passion and were encouraged by their parents to pursue it — regardless of what it was.  The key word in that sentence is “they” — it wasn’t something their parents loved, or their parents thought their kids would love. It’s something the kids chose themselves. And because they loved it, they worked really hard at it. And because they worked really hard, they got really good. They were praised for their effort, not their results. So they worked really hard and they learned the trade-off between hard work and results. They developed grit, defined by Angela Duckworth as “passion plus perseverance toward long-term goals.” And that led to their becoming supremely confident.

People often say, “Of course entrepreneurs are confident; it’s because they are successful.” But I strongly believe it is the reverse: They are successful because they are confident. And their confidence stems from having mastered their chosen passion when they were young. Their passions included computers, music, acting, student government, chess, and for many, sports. Their intense pursuit of success in these activities taught them grit, determination, and resilience, which led to developing their confidence.

            Simon Isaac was an All-American skier on the Olympic development team. He co-founded Fatherly, a popular daily on-line newsletter, and today, he’s the CEO of TaskForce, one of the world’s top content creators, with over forty-five billion views during the election.

            ElizabethMcGee Gore was the national equestrian champion. She’s the co-founder of Hello Alice, a free artificial intelligence platform to help businesses launch and grow.

            Eric Ryan raced on the sailing team at the University of Rhode Island. He’s the co-founder of Method products, which makes environmental cleaning products; Olly, which makes healthy vitamins and supplements; and Welly Health, which makes fun bandaids.

            Radha and Miki Agrawal were known as the legendary soccer twins when they played at Cornell. The twins are serial social entrepreneurs who have co-founded five disruptive companies (including Daybreaker, Thinx, Tushy) worth half a billion dollars.

They became risk takers because they were not punished for failure or mistakes. 

As Billie Jean King says, “We don’t call it failure; we call it feedback.” The entrepreneurs I interviewed were never punished for failing; the parents said, “What did you learn? What would you do differently?” Nor were they punished for making mistakes. They had to fix what they had broken or the problem they created, but they weren’t made to feel bad that it had happened. They learned that when they worked hard at something and failed, and kept trying new approaches, eventually they would succeed. They learned that when they failed, they could work harder and smarter and keep trying, because eventually they would figure it out.

Fast forward to today: because they aren’t afraid to fail, they aren’t afraid to take risks — both of which are key to successful entrepreneurship.

            My son Elliott Bisnow fell in love with tennis when he was twelve, long after other serious tennis players were already competing in tournaments. He lost most of his matches for years, but eventually fought his way to thirty-five in the country in the juniors. He started Summit, a global company for entrepreneurs and creatives that has produced over two hundred fifty events in the last decade.

            Nia Batts and her best friend, actress Sophia Bush, co-founded Detroit Blows, an inclusive non-toxic hair salon in Detroit, helping to revitalize the downtown. It was a huge success, but during the pandemic it was forced to close. When Nia read that only two percent of venture capital dollars went to women, and the amount going to women of color was “statistically significant” she decided to pivot and became Chief Marketing Officer of Union Heritage Capital, the nation’s leading minority-owned diversified financial services firm.

They were trusted and supported by their familiesleading them to treat their employees like family.

The unconditional support from their families while they were growing up is reflected in their businesses today. They honor the differences among their employees. And whether the jobs are remote or in the office, they try to create situations where their employees want to spend time. The founders don’t arbitrarily order around their employees. Just as in the homes where they grew up, the entrepreneurs take care of the people they work with. Even before stakeholder capitalism became popular, these entrepreneurs valued the interests of their employees and their community.

            Blake Mycoskie founded TOMS Shoes, the first one-for-one company, providing a pair of shoes to someone in need for every pair purchased. Blake says he called his approach to his job as the company’s leader, “servant leadership.” He told his top people to serve everyone in their group. And he willingly admitted his mistakes to show his employees that failure was acceptable. He says that “if you extend more trust than you might be comfortable with…and even though those mistakes will come with a price, over the long term you’ll be paid back with interest.”

            Deena and Jess Robertson co-founded Modo Yoga, a community of independent hot yoga studios in the U.S. and Canada. They are committed to promoting ethical, compassionate living and a more sustainable, environmentally conscious world through their studios. Their motto is “calm mind, fit body, inspired life.” Modo Yoga was the first one-for-one yoga program, where every membership bought became a free membership for someone in an underserved community. The employees love that they are helping create more equality and diversity in the yoga community.

It’s never too early — or too late — to start. Even if you don’t become an entrepreneur, becoming more entrepreneurial will help in whatever you do: It will help if you become more confident because you’ve mastered something you worked really hard at. It will help if you become more risk taking because you’ve learned not to fear failure.It will help if you become more considerate of people you work with.  Above all, it’ll help you become more successful at whatever you do.


Margot Machol Bisnow is a writer, wife, and mom from Washington, DC who speaks on raising fearless, creative, entrepreneurial kids who are filled with joy and purpose. She is the author of Raising an Entrepreneur: How to Help Your Children Achieve Their Dreams — 99 Stories From Families Who Did. Margot has a BA in English and an MBA, both from Northwestern, and spent 20 years in government, including as an FTC Commissioner and staff director of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers. Both her kids are now grown: Austin started a popular band, Magic Giant; Elliott founded Summit, a noted international conference series for Millennial entrepreneurs and creatives, and led the purchase and development of Powder Mountain ski resort in Utah as a permanent home for the Summit community. Her husband Mark was a late-blooming entrepreneur, and wishes his parents had read her book when he was growing up, so he might have started his company before he was 50. Margot is on the Board of Capital Partners for Education that mentors low-income DC-area high school kids.


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

22 Responses to 3 Life Experiences That Lead to Entrepreneurial Success

  1. United Bronx says:

    Thank you for this article. Maybe this is what will lead me to success. I lost my job and cannot find new. In India it is very difficult now.

  2. Rajeev Gupta says:

    I think it is very difficult to find a job anywhere now. So if this is still topical, you could follow what I did. I visited Work Abroad: Find a Job Abroad on Layboard.in website and applied for vacancies in Dubai. Many Indians work there already and the salary is good. So I really hope for the best. Having a Zoom interview tomorrow.

  3. Thank you for writing this great book. I really liked everything. And I favoriteized your blog to read the new content you posted. 안전토토사이트 I would like to recommend a good topic if you wrote it. I’ll leave my blog address below, so come and check it out.

  4. This is a very first-rate post! old song ringtone

  5. Shine lee says:

    If you have a valid prescription from your family doctor, visit the Walgreens pharmacy store to purchase your medicines at a Discount of 15% and save your bill from entering into the Walgreens sweepstakes. Then, participate in the Walgreens survey at Walgreenslistens and win a $3000 coupon.

  6. ก้าน says:

    -แน่นอนว่าสิ่งแรกที่ผู้เล่นทั้งหลายจำเป็นจะต้องรู้ ก่อนจะลงมือเล่นเกมสล็อต mgm87 นั่นก็คือ กติกาการเล่นเกมสล็อต ซึ่งกติกาเกมสล็อตมีความง่ายต่อการเข้าใจ แม้แต่ผู้เล่นมือใหม่ก็เรียนรู้ได้ง่าย เพียงแค่ท่าน ตั้งค่าวงเงินเดิมพันให้เหมาะสมกับงบประมาณแล้ว ทำการสปินวงล้อ การกดสปิน 1 ครั้ง คือ การลงเดิมพัน 1 ครั้ง เมื่อใดที่ถูกรางวัลระบบจะขึ้นจำนวนเงินรางวัลที่ได้รับชัดเจน พร้อมกับเพิ่มจำนวนเงิน ในช่องเงินเดิมพันให้ทันที

  7. TODODOK says:

    Thank you for good information. It is very valuable information to me because it is information that was not found on other blogs. This good information will be shared with family members as well. Thanks to you, the question about 먹튀검증사이트 has been solved.

  8. The content is so positive, I feel that my heart is warming every moment I read it. Even if you read the article about 토토사이트 twice or three times, it’s not a waste of time at all.

  9. I felt bad before I read this article, but I am feeling better now. My brothere also deals with 먹튀검증. Please write new posts often. Many thanks.

  10. I need more business insights.

  11. JoseCannigan says:

    As a successful marketer at SEOTwix https://seotwix.com , I’m looking forward to using your advice. Marketing is constantly evolving, so I need to stay on top of it to keep up with new trends. Indeed, nowadays SEO (search engine optimization) is coming to the forefront. And if you want to take your business and website to the next level, you really need to think about SEO in 2023.

  12. Every time I find new information I will always enter your blog first. to receive new news.

  13. elastic man says:

    The fact that this knowledge is being shared broadly is excellent. I am aware of how hard you worked to produce this information. Thanks.

  14. tonme says:


  15. szzzac says:

    I’ve been listening to news about applying for free online grants, so I’m looking for the best sites. Can you advise me, where can I buy it? 먹튀사이트

  16. James Harden says:

    There was representation from every socioeconomic background; there were large and small families, people from big cities and little communities, parents with and without college degrees, and parents with advanced degrees. mold remediation service Kauai

  17. sportstotozone.com says:

    ¡Muchas gracias por compartir esto con todas las personas a las que realmente reconoces de lo que estás hablando! Marcado como favorito. Por favor, consulte también con mi sitio =).

    ¡Tendremos un contrato de cambio de hipervínculo entre nosotros!

  18. Jesse says:

    These business owners recognized the importance of their community and employee interests long before stakeholder capitalism gained popularity. | painters interior near me

  19. One of the biggest chain of budget pharmacies in the country is Walgreens. During its third fiscal year, the firm grew by more than 25%. The third fiscal year saw Walgreens’ sales rise to the sixth-largest position in the US retail pharmacy sector. Walgreens is a network of pharmacies that has distinguished itself from other chain pharmacies in the industry by offering cutting-edge amenities and services to its clientele. As of this now, Walgreens is America’s fourth-largest pharmacy chain.

  20. Customers will feel better as a result, return to the café, and maybe recommend it to their friends and family. Hardrocksurvey.com thus requests that you provide them with frank feedback so that they can continue to grow.

  21. Mapquest Directions is more than just a map service. Users can also search for nearby places, such as hotels, restaurants, shops, gas stations, and more. Users can also explore the world with live traffic and transit updates, satellite and street views, and 3D maps. Whether users need to drive, walk, or take public transportation, Mapquest Directions can help them get there faster and easier.

  22. website says:

    They developed tenacity, determination, and resilience through their relentless pursuit of success in these pursuits, which helped them gain confidence.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.