How To Tap Into Your Inner Entrepreneurial Spirit

September 26, 2017By Views


by Dave Wendland, CommunityVoice for Forbes Agency Council, as appeared on August 23, 2017

“Why not?” That’s the question my then 10-year-old son asked when he wanted to launch his own web-based business. Honestly, I couldn't come up with a reason why he shouldn’t put his passion to work. It reminded me of a similar question my brother and I asked our father when I was just 10.

Why is the entrepreneurial itch so readily apparent and ready to blossom when we're 10? And why does it seem to waiver and hide as we age? Perhaps it's the sense of adventure we have when we're youthful. Or maybe it’s because our ideas haven’t been shot down enough to extinguish the fire burning in our belly. I suppose it could also be that we simply want to accomplish or build something on our own and to make ourselves -- and our parents -- proud.

Putting An Idea Into Fruition

For me, the idea began one afternoon in Green Bay, Wisconsin while my brother, best friend, and I were hitting whiffle golf balls in our backyard. We were discussing our summertime goal: to save enough money to visit Lambeau Field and watch a Green Bay Packers exhibition game. I think it was my brother who said, “Let’s build a golf course.” It was that crazy idea that hatched into Southwest Country Club, a six-hole, par-three track constructed in the three-acre lot behind our family home.

Midway through the summer, the course opened for business. So much buzz was created in the neighborhood, the course was even featured in a full-page article in the local newspaper. The three of us earned more than enough money to actually attend that Packers game.

Fast forward about 40 years to my son’s idea. He was passionate about cars and worked diligently on a series of tables and charts comparing and contrasting what seemed endless features of every make and model. Then, he built a website called, designed to help car purchasers sort through options and narrow their search to two or three models that best fit their criteria. Although he only sold one or two that year, the site has evolved and remains active and updated to this day. And his passion for cars has never diminished.

Let’s examine four ways ideas may be generated to fuel your entrepreneurial spirit:

Eureka Moments

Years ago, I performed as part of an improvisational comedy troupe and we often said that the best and funniest moments occurred the second we stepped off the stage. We called those aha moments. Perhaps these are simply eureka ideas that surface when you least expect it. I don’t believe that our brains all of a sudden solve a big problem, like immediately concluding that gravity exists after getting hit on the head with an apple. Such ideas are likely a culmination of thoughts that happen to resolve themselves in these aha moments. To begin putting the powerful organ to work, start planting seeds and allow your brain to process the information and maybe, just maybe, you’ll experience a eureka moment.

Childish Thoughts

Another way to come up with ideas is to stop relying on instincts. As we all go through the aging and maturation process, our ability to innovate changes. As Picasso once said, "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."

As we get older, our perceptions around creativity shift. We think of it as elusive, mysterious and outside of our control, and we believe that individuals are either born creative or not. What was once completely natural to us as children now seems unnatural to us as adults.

So the next time you’re facing a challenge or an issue that you need to solve, let go of some of your self-control and reignite your child-like imagination. In other words, prepare like an adult and act like a kid.


Other ideas may stem from Yogi Berra’s simple suggestion, “You can observe a lot just by watching.” Adapting an existing idea still qualifies as creativity.

I love the suggestion that one pharmacist shared with me. Sensing frustration in his drive-through lane because of wait time, he stole a page from the restaurant industry and offered each patron a vibrating pager. This simple adaptation of an existing technology was an inexpensive application and significantly reduced patient frustration while allowing patrons to run other errands while waiting for their prescription to be filled. What ideas do you see just by looking around?


Finally, and perhaps the most intuitive of all inspirations for good old-fashioned idea generation, is when creativity stems from necessity. The mother of all invention, necessity originates from an identified need. Once the need is determined, thinking about potential solutions becomes easier. This is a wonderfully useful approach to solving tough problems.

If you’ve never made a mistake, you probably aren’t trying something new. So, why not? One treasure that my late father instilled in me was to use my imagination. In fact, I can still hear him describing his latest whiz-bang concept and, in perfect cadence, he would often conclude, “If you think that’s a good idea, I have others I haven’t even thought of yet.” That is entrepreneurship at work. And I hope that my dad’s spirit touches each of you and inspires you to follow your dreams and try something new today. Imagine being 10 again!