They are also called thought leaders and influencers. From the pages of history we know them as Christopher Columbus, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, Henry ford, P.T. Barnum, and even as Napoleon Bonaparte who was a go-getter of the top order. They were probably adventurers first and entrepreneurs later, but when it comes to entrepreneurship, there’s very little that separates the two.
The Internet has peeled away much of the mystery. The personal magic of today’s business leaders remains, but we can easily unravel the strategies and business ideas that make them prosper. In fact, they are the ones showing us how with their wisdom on inspiring business blogs, and even on Q&A sites like Quora. My friend Dave set you up with tech influencers on Twitter, so I return to the brevity of 140 characters and give you ten inspirational entrepreneurs to follow and sponge wisdom from.
If you don’t have time for the small things, you won’t have time for the big things http://t.co/1pnCKYkruN
— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) July 31, 2013
Notable for: Founder and CEO of Virgin Group.
Reasons to follow him: You can because he is the ultimate definition of cool in the higher competitive business world, especially in an industry that’s as cutthroat as airlines. But then there are very few people who know about creating brands (with the help of personal charisma) like him. He has created nearly 300 companies. He speaks a lot on creating entrepreneurs and the ways one can go about becoming one, and not only on Twitter.
Entrepreneurial fun fact: Richard Branson is dyslexic, but started a school magazine.
1: "We can't do that."
2: "Can't means won't."
1: "We won't do that."
— jack (@jack) July 31, 2013
Notable for: The creator of Twitter himself (as well as the founder of Square).
Reasons to follow him: An inspiring creator, he believes in starting small. After the success of Twitter he started Square, with just 10 employees. Today, Square is a $3.2 billion company. His primary focus with Twitter was improvement of its uptime rather than profits. You won’t find a lot of business wisdom on his timeline, but you will get an insight into how his mind works and the things he finds inspiring. From all reports, he is a genuinely nice guy.
Entrepreneurial fun fact: In a Forbes interview he said: “I never wanted to be an entrepreneur. I never woke up one morning and thought I need to get a ticket to San Francisco. I actually wanted to be Bruce Lee. Actually I wanted to be a sailor, to explore the world. I wanted to be a tailor, to build things myself that I could share with other. I wanted to be an artist, specifically a surrealist.”
How To find A mentor for your startup http://t.co/sGzPuDVBEW
— Guy Kawasaki (@GuyKawasaki) July 28, 2013
Notable for: Author and speaker, and also an entrepreneur (MD of VC firm, Garage Technology Ventures).
Reasons to follow him: Guy Kawasaki goes from business topics to completely offbeat ones. His personal blog reflects his varied interests and it carries on to his Twitter timeline. He is original, humorous and like any one-of-a-kind speaker, irreverent. And you have to listen to the guy who helped launch the original Macintosh. You could do a lot worse than spend a few bucks on his book — The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything. It’s a handbook meant to be read quickly and digested slowly if you plan to start a business from just an idea. His Twitter timeline is a mirror of his wide interests as he shares stuff from all corners, especially the top stuff from AllTop.com.
Entrepreneurial fun fact: He is the founder of AllTop.com and recommends Innovation.alltop.
— Anita Campbell (@smallbiztrends) July 31, 2013
Notable for: Speaker, founder, CEO and executive editor of Small Business Trends.
Reasons to follow her: Regarded as one of the leading small business experts, she has been recognized by many noted publications such as The New York Times, WSJ, and Forbes. In 2005 and again in 2008, Forbes recognized Small Business Trends as the “Best of the Web” when it comes to small business blogs. It is a must-read blog if you are an entrepreneur and have a small business. When you are on her timeline, expect to see her focussed interest in small businesses as she shares a lot of what’s going on in the industry.
Entrepreneurial fun fact: According to Myers Briggs personality type, she is an INTJ personality. She sees the value of the psychological assessment in helping her communicate effectively.
Seth's Blog: Perhaps you could just make something awesome instead http://t.co/5ymuJihMiu
— Seth Godin (@ThisIsSethsBlog) July 28, 2013
Notable for: Entrepreneur, author, public speaker, founder of Squidoo, and even an actor.
Reasons to follow him: If your business reading interests are varied, there’s little chance that you’ve missed Seth Godin. Seth Godin is an “ideas” man who can give you invaluable advice on how to stretch your business ideas and take them far. His book “Unleashing the IdeaVirus” and is one the most downloaded eBooks ever. The PDF is still free and you should grab it from his blog. Seth Godin mostly tweets about the ruminations that he makes on his blog. You can be subscribed to either his blog or the Twitter feed, but be sure to make it at least one of the two.
Entrepreneurial fun fact: The book was in itself a successful example of an “IdeaVirus” and a marketing success story.
"You have to do what others won't, to achieve what others don't." -anonymous
— Adam Toren (@thebizguy) August 1, 2013
Notable for: Serial entrepreneur, author, and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com.
Reasons to follow him: If you don’t have the site in your bookmarks or your RSS feed, then you aren’t planning to become an entrepreneur after all. Adam Toren writes a lot of posts on the fundamentals of starting a business, and his insights are always motivational. Follow the website or follow him on Twitter, even if you are not a young venturer anymore. He and his brother Mathew have also written a bestselling book on entrepreneurship for kids (Kidpreneurs).
Entrepreneurial fun fact: Adam Toren and his brother Matthew started their first entrepreneurial “business” at the age of 7 and 8, selling little stunt airplanes called Dipper Doos at a folk festival.
— jessicajackley (@jessicajackley) July 11, 2013
Notable for: Co-founder of Kiva, the micro-lending website.
Reasons to follow her: She is also a Venture Partner with the Collaborative Fund, focused on investing in creative entrepreneurs who want to change the world through emerging technologies. She is not an ardent tweeter, but lots of her tweets are around success stories which Kiva helped to trigger with small donations. She is one of the more well-known social entrepreneurs in the world.
Entrepreneurial fun fact: She is also a mother, a trained yoga instructor, and keen surfer.
Many don't achieve their dreams because someone along the way told them they couldnt do it. Not me. #getoutofmyway
— Eric Knopf (@ericknopf) August 1, 2013
Notable for: Co-founder of WebConnex
Reasons to follow him: Calls himself an addict of coffee and ideas in equal measure. Along with WebConnex, he is also the founder of Vision Launchers which helps businesses take wings. He shares a lot of stuff on Twitter through his personal insights and links to read-worthy articles.
Entrepreneurial fun fact: One of his less prominent ventures is Dream Manager, a free website allowing you to share your dreams with the world.
My Top 3 Business Mistakes – http://t.co/6DWaIOZvV7
— Melinda Emerson (@SmallBizLady) August 1, 2013
Notable for: Author, keynote speaker, and small business expert.
Follow her: Forbes ranked her as the Most Influential Woman for entrepreneurs. She is also known by her moniker “SmallBizLady”. She has a popular blog called Succeed As Your Own Boss and is the bestselling author of Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months; A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works. She keeps you in the know with what’s happening around her. Follow her for all blog updates, interviews she is giving, and any special themes for her Twitter chats.
Entrepreneurial fun fact: She also hosts a weekly chat on Twitter called #SmallBizChat for new small business advice.
— Leo Widrich (@LeoWid) July 27, 2013
Notable for: Founders of Buffer.
Follow them: There’s no better way to learn than to follow two young entrepreneurs behind a success story and watch them grow. The scheduling app is one to watch out for as it racks up a large user base. Both the founders tweet regularly, though I am more partial to Leo who tweets a lot about life hacks. Joel also blogs about startup do’s and don’ts on his blog.
Entrepreneurial fun fact: Both are European expats. Leo said in an interview that he used to spent 4-5 hours getting in touch with people, commenting on blogs and reaching out on Twitter.
These 10 (or 11) inspirational entrepreneurs are just a speck in the galaxy of entrepreneurial superheroes. Some choices have been dictated by popularity and some by personal choice. This is hardly an objective list. Follow one, or follow them all for the free business wisdom they dish out. Are you a wannabe business maker in the making? Or are you an entrepreneur in some form already? Tell us about your personal superheroes.
Image Credit: Making Money via Twitter