Entrepreneurs Share Their Biggest Sources of Non-Business Inspiration - Rolling Stone
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Nine Entrepreneurs Share Their Biggest Sources of Inspiration (That Aren’t Related to Business)

What inspires entrepreneurs each day doesn’t have to come from the business sector.

Photos of the featured members.Photos of the featured members.

Photos courtesy of the members.

Opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of Rolling Stone editors or publishers.

As any entrepreneur will tell you, running a business is a tough job. Finding the motivation to bring your all every day is a task in and of itself as you can easily become overwhelmed by the responsibility of constant planning, innovating and ensuring your team is well taken care of. Having something or someone to draw from for inspiration, then, can have a major impact on an entrepreneur’s outlook.

But you don’t have to look to the business realm to be inspired. To share what has served as their biggest source of non-business inspiration, a panel of Rolling Stone Culture Council members each discuss what (or who) inspires them as they lead their companies now and into the future.

My Mother

Only so many doors of opportunity would open for my mother, yet she walked through every one that she could and would build her own doors when needed. Seeing her demonstrate resilience on a daily basis was foundational to my adoption of an innovative mindset. She showed me that, despite challenges, you always have the ability to pave a new way forward. – Jessica Billingsley, Akerna

The Undetermined Nature of Every Day

As entrepreneurs, our lives are often hectic and always unpredictable. Sure, one day can end up resembling the next, but there’s no fixed structure. You’re the boss, and you’re in control of your own destiny. The fact that no day is written in stone, and it can take you anywhere, is incredibly inspiring. It makes every day exciting and full of potential. – Tyler Gallagher, Team 33

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My Children

My biggest inspiration has been my children. After growing up in foster homes and not having the ideal family, I always knew that was what I truly wanted: a family. I’ve drawn my inspiration from them, just knowing they are counting on me, always. Learning what not to do has helped me in so many amazing ways. They’re the true heroes. – Chris Martin, Hempful Farms

Humble People

I’m inspired by humility and humble people — those who expect nothing in return for their kindness. I think in business we often get distracted by the negotiations, the deal making and the game of business chess. For me, bringing myself out of those situations to give back — whether by giving my time, offering advice or building new friendships — is really important and fuels the soul. – Amanda Dorenberg, COMMB

The Shortness of Life

The shortness of life gives you permission to take big risks, follow your heart and lead with purpose. There is too much to be done and too little time in which to do it, which can be a huge inspiration and motivator in entrepreneurship. – Bridget Hilton, LSTN Sound Co.

My Marriage

My biggest non-business inspiration has actually been my marriage. The way Dr. Tye and I manage our successful marriage lines up with how we operate our successful startup: We are committed to leaving people, places and things better off than when we found them. That’s true for yourself as the leader too. As married co-founders of ShearShare, we are proof that your business is only as healthy as you are. – Courtney Caldwell, ShearShare, Inc.

Plants and Animals

The other living things (plants and animals) around me remind me to stay present and pay attention. We can get so caught up in trying to control the outcome, that we forget our job is not to control, but to notice. Plants especially remind me of that as they do not seek to control the conditions around them, but rather they notice and adapt in order to thrive. – Amanda Reiman, Personal Plants


I am always inspired by and have tremendous respect for self-starters — those who start with nothing, a shoestring budget, without formal education, those who pioneer their own path and those who jump in and get the job done. There is no better motivation than desperation! I salute those who make something out of nothing and are surprised and delighted when things work out as hoped. – Sheila Dedenbach, Heavenly Sweet

The Mountains I’ve Climbed With My Team

I have already been practicing this kind of activity with employees for several years, and it gives incredible results. In addition to rest, inspiration and a change of scenery, each of us receives a charge from each other and we really become a team that works toward one goal: getting to the top. This resonates well with our work, which also has goals that we strive for together. – Igor Dunaevsky, AskGrowers


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