A few months ago I was given an invaluable piece of advice that I believe should be shared with anyone who is thinking about embarking on the journey of entrepreneurship. It is simple but it is powerful.  It changed how I defined entrepreneurship and in it I find direction for the development of every business idea that I would ever have.

I had just spent a night brainstorming.

I wanted to do something innovative.

I wanted to find a way to help solve the issues in the Caribbean region in a novel way while simultaneously impacting the economy.

I came up with a list of brilliant ideas and I narrowed them down to, what I thought, were the 3 most feasible ones.

After mulling over these ideas for a couple of days, I decided that they were good enough to share with a few of my comrades in exchange for their feedback. I copied and pasted the sales pitch that I had carefully crafted.

In the pitch I highlighted clearly each of the three ideas, what problems they were going to solve and how they were going to solve them.  The feedback came in, and the question which shattered my delusions of brilliance, yet sharpened my entrepreneurial acumen would follow.

One of my comrades said, “Wow, I like this idea. But how would you monetize this?”

I was stuck. I did not have an answer to that question. I had formulated these ideas around a check list: They would solve problems, they would help assert the Caribbean region, but one of the most important factors was excluded from my check list. I never asked myself how I would monetize the ideas. My comrade reminded me that the essence of entrepreneurship was rooted in finding a way to monetize.

In recognizing my dilemma I quickly went back to the drawing board. I had failed in calling myself an entrepreneur. Until I was capable of providing a means to monetize the ideas,gifts and personality that I owned I was nothing more than an idea mill; an ordinary human being. If I was going to do this well it was necessary for me to first redefine the word entrepreneur.

The redefinition:

“An entrepreneur is one who has found a way to solve a problem or meet a need/want while monetizing his idea, gift, talent or personality.”

I would also need to base every business idea that I ever had on the pillar of monetization.After my faux pas I recognized that if there is no monetization, there is no entrepreneurship. At the risk of sounding cliche, I recognized that real entrepreneurs monetize.