We often see the below headline in the media (blogs, magazines, articles etc.) to describe an individual or founders’ success.
They were self-made billionaires. They were self-made entrepreneurs.
Then the rest of the media coverage goes something like this…
Person A’s company is now worth a billion dollars. Having started in her garage four years ago, Person A has disrupted the industry and won every industry award.
Person B had a dream to change the industry and with another co-founder, they developed a MVP over a weekend. Now their work has become an industry standard and they are pioneers in helping to move the industry forward.
Using the word “self-made” to describe individuals running successful organizations does not provide the full picture. We have fallen so much in love with the narrative of a solo entrepreneur or visionary who did it all. From having nothing at all to now running one of the biggest so and so company in the world. However, it’s rarely one individual who does everything and becomes successful. There is always a team who is helping to run the company and making sure everything is operating as smoothly as possible. That team could be a handful of individuals or a few hundred or thousand. Yet the credit or the media coverage usually goes to the founder(s) who took the risk, “sacrificed” almost everything, and made an impact.
Maybe it’s about time we find a different word to describe this type of success than calling them “self-made.”
What’s a word that celebrates the individual’s work plus highlights the contribution of the team?