Entrepreneurship: There’s No Such Thing As a Bad Idea


Have you ever had an idea and dreamed about making it into a business? Or wanted to turn your passion into making a change in the world?

Today is National Entrepreneurs Day. It’s a day where we honor those who have built something from nothing. Those who have identified a need — any need — and filled it.

Dictionary.com defines entrepreneurship as “a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.”

But we like to think of an entrepreneur as more than business, it’s a person who is called to change and create. He or she wants to do something good in the world.

If you know the MarbleSpark story, then you know entrepreneurship kinda fell into our lap. We didn’t set out to create a personalized children’s book company. But that’s exactly what happened.

An Idea 

Creating and inventing has always been in my husband Phil’s blood (author and co-founder). He always had a new business idea as a child and that continued into adulthood.

He still has journals full of business ideas — including a state-of-the-art toilet paper dispenser. As his wife, it was in my nature to always play devil’s advocate to whatever idea he dreamed up. Unlike Phil, I was (am) much more risk-averse.

When we were pregnant with our first son, Phil’s love of creating drove him to write a one-of-a-kind book for our first-born. His first draft called Bobby Blew a Bubble was horrible. I can still remember laughing when he showed it to me!

But often with entrepreneurship, that first idea plants the seed for a new idea and so forth. Sometimes you have to fail first to get it right.

That bad idea was the first step. It led to others, which eventually led to one of our most popular books, Following Featherbottom. It was the flap of a butterfly’s wing that started the MarbleSpark hurricane.

Getting Started

Phil and our co-founders built MarbleSpark while having demanding full-time jobs, which is the way a lot of entrepreneurs get started. If you have a family or other financial responsibilities, it often isn’t feasible to quit your day job while starting a new venture.

They did it at night and on the weekends. Many hours away from family were sacrificed.

There wasn’t a manual on starting up an e-commerce personalized children’s book publisher. Phil knew how to write, our illustrator knew how to draw, our software developer knew how to code, but how did one translate this into an awesome online experience for our customers?

It was done by trial and error. With A LOT of hard work, patience and perseverance. Traits an entrepreneur needs to have if they are going to survive starting up.

A Vision

Having a vision is key. Entrepreneurs need to be able to look into the future and envision something that others cannot yet see.

Our co-founders had a clear mission from the beginning:

  1. Make the most mind-blowing personalized book you’ve ever seen.
  2. Give a book to a kid who doesn’t own one. Learn more.
  3. Repeat

And this is still our mission today.

Startup Community

Many cities now have startup communities to support you in your new venture. Check to see if your city or surrounding area has a ‘startup incubator,’ which can assist in making your idea become a reality.

In Omaha, we have The Startup Collaborative, an “on-demand accelerator that helps founders start up, quickly find product-market fit and tackle the early challenges of scale in a way that increases the odds of success.”

We didn’t have these resources when we got started, but have since learned a lot from organizations like these. Their goal is to give you the tools to help you succeed.

Light a Spark

What about you?  Ever had a bad idea turn good?  Are you letting fear of failure keep you from chasing something important?

Take it from us.  There’s no such thing as a bad idea; it’s just an opportunity to learn.

Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.  ~ Henry Ford

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