Thursday, January 9, 2020

Entrepreneurs Founded America!

By Tiffany Amber Stockton

Last month, I explored the origination of the cruise ship and how that transitioned into luxury cruising and then cruising for fun as many do today. If you missed that post, you can read it here:

Now, we're at the beginning of another new year, a year which has its fame in a well-known turn of phrase: Hindsight is always 2020. *grins* This can tie into a quote we often reference here on this blog, "Those who don't know the past are doomed to repeat it." I'm not certain "doomed" is always the case, especially when you focus on the positive side of things that happened in the past.


There are many who say America is becoming more and more geared toward the individual entrepreneur and less on the corporate world or company-dictated economy. Economists have predicted by the year 2025, more than 50% of Americans will own a "side gig" or be an entrepreneur of some sort...even if it's only part-time.

I honestly wouldn't mind this at all! Small businesses almost always come with a personal touch that is often overlooked, neglected, or completely missing with larger companies and "big box" stores. Think about your small towns that pretty much run America. What makes them so appealing? Why are they so often the subject of novels and movies? What made small towns thrive and in some cases cause them to become bigger towns or central cities?

The answer? Entrepreneurs.

tall ships
Our nation was founded, quite literally, by entrepreneurs. In 1607 the Virginia Company sent three ships across the Atlantic and unloaded 109 passengers at what became Jamestown, Virginia. They had a goal in mind that didn't quite pan out to become successful. It was a joint-stock company, a relatively new invention that allowed people to invest in enterprises without running the risk of losing everything if the business did not succeed. By limiting liability, corporations greatly increased the number of people who could dare to become entrepreneurs by pooling their resources while avoiding the possibility of ruin.

blacksmith shop
Their attempt to establish American plantations introduced a rather new venture. Unfortunately, this venture also came with a rather steep learning curve, and the Virginia Company made almost every mistake that could be made as other industries developed and new ideas were introduced. Once John Rolfe introduced tobacco, it quickly became an export item and made Virginia rich. Other colonies followed suit, and that eventually led to cotton plantations as well.

cobbler shop
However, plantations required supplies, wagon repairs, horses, medical attention, clothing for the workers, personal grooming, dry goods, legal services, and so much more. They couldn't often get or have all of that on their plantation, so they had to go into town for it. That's where the entrepreneurs were in abundance. And that's where the long-standing tradition of trading goods and services was at its best!

The smaller towns could be quite limited in the variety of their businesses. They would start with the basics of a blacksmith, apothecary, cobbler, mercantile, and a grain/feed shop. Some might also feature a candleshop, tailor, barber, doctor, lawyer, seamstress, library, and alehouse. The larger a town grew, the more diverse the businesses became. Whatever the need, there was a business that provided it. If the need existed and an existing business couldn't meet the need, someone would start a new one. If you couldn't afford to pay cash for goods or services, you offered your own goods or services in honest trade.

I would love to see America return to this in a greater manner. So much in business has lost the personal touch, the relationships, and the community feel. Who knows? Maybe with this increase in "side gigs," we'll see a little bit of the small business mentality growing again. I know I wouldn't mind!


* Have you ever owned a small business or undertaken a new venture? What was it?

* What would you do if you could do anything in the world and have a guarantee that it would be profitable for you? Travel? Bake? Invent? Write? You name it!

* If you were one of those 109 passengers who settled Jamestown, what business would you have opened?

* What did you like the most about today's post? What topics would you like to see covered in future posts?

Leave answers to these questions or any comments on the post below. Come back on the 9th of
February for my next appearance.


Tiffany Amber Stockton has been crafting and embellishing stories since childhood, when she was accused of having a very active imagination and cited with talking entirely too much. Today, she has honed those childhood skills to become an award-winning and best-selling author and speaker who is also an advocate for literacy as an educational consultant with Usborne Books. She loves to share life-changing products and ideas with others to help better their lives.

She lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, along with their two children and two dogs in Colorado. She has sold twenty (21) books so far and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. You can find her on Facebook and GoodReads.


  1. Interesting post. I'm actually working on a new venture. I have an Etsy store that only has a few things in it. I just got a Cricut machine and am going to make items to sell in my Etsy store.

    1. That's awesome, Vickie! Those individual ventures and creative outlets are exactly how our founding fathers and ancestors got this country started. :) They found something they loved or something they could do for others, and they turned it profitable.

  2. I didn't quite understand that the Jamestown settlers were stakeholders, if you will. Or maybe I did but had forgotten. They had so much going against them in that venture though. Your questions are intriguing. The town that we live next to is experiencing a kind of boom in growth with little start-up companies, but they seem to be here today and gone tomorrow. Sadly, so many of them are either craft beers or cannabis sellers. I'd love to see a bakery come back into town. Thanks for the post.

    1. I wasn't aware of the stakeholders either, Connie. From all I had learned before, they were merely settlers starting a new life in a new world. You're right, though. So much going against them, and like many of the start-up companies, a lot fail, usually because of lack of planning or foresight. We have far too many cannabis companies here too. Hope a bakery DOES come back to your town. That would be fantastic!

  3. Hmmm, interesting post. I chuckled though when I saw the word Entrepeneurs. In my research I came to the conclusion it was the true title should be 'Speculators' that moved the country forward. Brash, bold, foolish, lucky and unlucky, it was those 'Fools' that cut the country into lots, roads, canals, railroads, and eventually cities that provided the paths for the Entrepeneurs or the tradesmen and merchants.

    Washington took 'land lots' as payment for his early surveying skills, long before that land was even included in the fledgling colony that was to become the USA. Later, he longed to build a canal---to connect his far-flung parcels to civilization. Jefferson gambled on an investment that doubled the size of our country---even though we barely had an idea of 'what was west of the Mississippi in the Louisiana Purchase. William B Ogden collected monies from farmers all along several proposed routes of a the new mode of transportation, railroads. He extended a railway west of Chicago and eventually west of the Mississippi. Those same lines were eventually extended to the Pacific Ocean. He became the president of the Union Pacific Railroad, made and lost several fortunes, and was the first Mayor of Chicago.

    Speculator or Entrepeneur, they did scrap this country together, bit by bit, one way or another.

    First business/buildings built in Chicago was a Fort, an Inn and a brewery, for the trappers and traders with the Indians. Thanks for your post!

    1. You make an excellent point, Sandi! Speculators for that time might just be a better description for the haphazard manner in which some of the trailblazers operated. However, taking gambles and being risky is also part of being an entrepreneur, so like you said, either one applies and regardless of their title, they are who scrapped together our country, laying the foundation for what it is today.

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