7 Things Entrepreneurs Can Learn From The Pilgrims


With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I decided to learn more about the origins of this great holiday. While I learned a lot about Thanksgiving, I learned even more about the Pilgrims.



I was amazed about their move to the USA so much that I began reading all kinds of books to see how they did this. I may seem pretty crazy at the moment, but I was actually learning valuable business lessons from their journey.



The first Thanksgiving was held in 1621, less than a year after over 100 Pilgrims came over on the Mayflower. Before, during, and after their journey, the Pilgrims did some amazing things.



Here are 7 things entrepreneurs can learn from the Pilgrims.



1. Work Hard


The Pilgrims ventured into a completely new area not knowing many people. On top of all that, these Pilgrims really had no home and were about to re-create their lives.



They weren’t able to survive by sitting around. They worked hard regardless of rain or shine. They were willing to put the work in to build a new life for themselves. If they hadn’t done that, there’s no telling what their fate may have been.



Lesson: You have to work hard to succeed as an entrepreneur. Talent and luck can only take you so far. At some point, you have to work hard to implement luck or talent to be successful like the Pilgrims were.



2. Be Willing To Learn


Entrepreneurs have to learn. No matter how much experience you have, you need to have a thirst for knowledge. The best entrepreneurs never stop learning.



The pilgrims had to find shelter, gather food, and survive in a whole new world. Instead of relying on their old knowledge, they quickly started learning about survival in this new environment.



The Pilgrims were willing to learn from the natives. If the Pilgrims weren’t willing to utilize every resource available to survive, chances are many would have died. The natives worked with the Pilgrims to help them find shelter, gather food, and most importantly make it out alive.



Lesson: Entrepreneurs have to be willing to learn in many different ways. Whether it’s finding a mentor or just reading, knowledge is vital for success. You have to be open to learn from anyone and anything as much as you can.



3. Take A Risk


The Pilgrims left behind their homes, friends, and most of their belongings to find a new life for themselves. While many people would call that foolish, they were willing to take a risk to lead a better life.



If the Pilgrims didn’t have the courage to make the journey over, there is no telling what America would look like today. Sometimes you have to take a chance and hope for the best, which is exactly what the Pilgrims did.



Lesson: Entrepreneurs need to take calculated risks to come out successful. Whether it’s quitting your day job or making a risky business decision, taking a chance can pay off big. It’s all about making calculated decisions that have a higher chance of success than fail.



4. Co-Exist With Your Competition


When the Pilgrims were in ‘survival’ mode, instead of killing each other for resources, they chose to work together. They could have began a rampage upon one another, but instead they worked as a team.



The Pilgrims even co-existed with the natives instead of looking for ways to take over their land. This showed great intelligence and patient from the Pilgrims, which made their survival more possible.



Lesson: Entrepreneurs often worry too much about their competition. They look for ways to annihilate their competitors rather than finding a way to co-exist. Some of the biggest competitors have formed the most formidable partnerships, which brought huge amounts of success. Entrepreneurs should look to work with the competition to service their customers better.



5. Never Give Up


The Pilgrims that survived the first winter never gave up. If they had given up or stopped trying to survive, they would have all died. Instead, they showed persistence and did whatever possible to make things work.



Many entrepreneurs want to give up when things aren’t going there way. While that’s the easy thing to do, it won’t make you successful.



Lesson: If the Pilgrims could survive one of the harshest winters in history by not giving up, we as entrepreneurs can achieve anything. The key is to stay persistent and find a way to make things work no matter how hard times may get.



6. Be Early Adopters


The Pilgrims were the very first group of people to cross the Atlantic Ocean. They were the ‘earliest’ adopters who came across in the Mayflower.



The Pilgrims didn’t wait for others to make the journey before seeing their fate. They stepped up to the plate and headed out on their own without any knowledge of what was coming next. As entrepreneurs, sometimes success is about taking a chance at the right time.



Lesson: The greatest opportunities require us to become early adopters. Sometimes the first one through the door is the last one out. As entrepreneurs, we must take chance on products, ideas, and innovations that are new to us.



7. Be Thankful


In the end, Thanksgiving is all about being thankful. The Pilgrims participated in this festive holiday to give thanks to everyone and everything that made their journey a success.



This Thanksgiving, be thankful to the ones you love. We may not be able to give thanks everyday of the year, but Thanksgiving gives us the opportunity to be really thankful for what we have.


Lesson: Entrepreneurs are some of the busiest people around. They work around the clock and thus their relationships with friends and family often get affected negatively. This Thanksgiving, take some time out to thank the people who mean something to you.





As you can see, I learned quite a bit from the Pilgrims. Their fascinating story shows me just how early the basic principles of entrepreneurship date back to. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!



photo credit: Ian Sane via photopin cc

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