07/09/2013 10:18 am ET Updated Sep 08, 2013

It's Not About the Money

Entrepreneurialism is alive and well where I live. July in New Jersey isn't known for its comfortable summer days -- instead we've got heat, humidity and triple digit temperatures with no end in sight. This is welcome weather for the hundreds of entrepreneurs who want to get out there and turn lemons in lemonade, literally. The number of lemonade, Gatorade and Popsicle stands I saw this weekend was inspiring.

Entrepreneurs are one of the driving factors that make our country exceptional. My first lesson in entrepreneurship happened on a trip with my dad to buy light bulbs at Home Depot. On our way, we talked about Home Depot, one of its founders Ken Langone, and you guessed it, the American Dream.

Ken Langone had a dream, and he knew the only way to achieve it was The American Way. He needed opportunity and free enterprise. He had to sacrifice and work incredibly hard. Then, hopefully he would have success and happiness. It worked for him, and it has worked for a lot of other Americans too.

A list of the "50 Greatest Entrepreneurs of All Time" compiled by Success magazine shows just how important entrepreneurs are to the history and the future of our country. Men and women including Ben Franklin, Henry Ford of Ford Motor, Ray Kroc of McDonald's, Oprah Winfrey and Jeff Bezos of Amazon just to name a few.

Believe it or not, it isn't really all about how much money you make, or even how many times you fail before making any money. The average entrepreneur makes just under $45,000 per year, and fails 3.8 times before succeeding. What Mr. Langone and every other entrepreneur share is the satisfaction of earned success and the happiness that comes with it.

These facts come from a book my dad introduced me to by Arthur C. Brooks titled The Road to Freedom. It's now on my summer reading list. In it, Mr. Brooks makes a clear case for free enterprise and the entrepreneur. He writes:

The Founders knew that the role of a moral government is to create the conditions of liberty and opportunity so that each of us can define success as we see fit and then work with all our might to attain it. Their visionary insight was that allowing us to earn our success is precisely what gives each of us the best chance at achieving real happiness.

America needs to embrace its entrepreneurial spirit, especially right now when jobs are hard to find. According to the Kauffman Foundation, one of the country's largest foundations devoted to entrepreneurship, more than half a million new businesses are started each month in the United States, creating three million new jobs every year.

Who knew our trip to Home Depot would shed so much light on free enterprise? Here's to earned success, happiness and the American entrepreneur. Now, please pass the lemonade.

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