Wilson Harrell believed that the entrepreneurial life is a glorious life. He was a man of many achievements and incredible life experiences. To say that Wilson has been in the trenches is absolute truth. Before an incredible journey in business, Wilson was a fighter pilot in WWII. Harrell received the Purple Heart, the Air Medals with 4 Oak Leaves and the Presidential Citation. At one point during his service, he was actually buried alive by the French underground!
In his lifetime, he started over 100 companies and turned around a few as well. As an author - in 1995, and again in 1996, Wilson was acclaimed America's number one columnist, by The American Society of Business Press Editors, for his regular monthly column in Success Magazine. His book, For Entrepreneur's Only is an international best-seller. On an inside note, this award had tremendous meaning to Wilson. For those of you who have read these articles they represent one of Wilson's favorite lyrics from a song written by old blue eyes - Frank Sinatra - "I did it my way".
Harrell was the accepted leader and voice of the entrepreneurial movement in America. He is past publisher of INC. Magazine. He was Founder/Chairman Emeritus of the Council of Growing Companies, a nationwide organization composed exclusively of CEO's who run fast-growing companies. He has served on the board of many companies.
Wilson was a strong advocate for LTBN, small business and entrepreneurship acting as an advisory board member. He gave the world some of the most insightful Let's Talk Business Radio programming. Read a lovely tribute to Wilson offered by Scott DeGarmo, prior publisher of Success Magazine. Our thoughts are with Wilson's family including Charlene and Wilson's children. It is clear Wilson had many friends and admirers.
Here's an excerpt from an admirer, Jim Bickford upon learning of Wilson's passing:
"Say it ain't so. Small business owners throughout the world will miss the priceless wisdom Wilson Harrell has shared with us over his lifetime. His gutsy articles from Inc. and Success Magazine and his outstanding book "For Entrepreneurs Only" gave us all hope that yes, the little guy, the Davids, could slay the huge corporate Goliaths. Wilson walked his talk like no other. I tried to interview him several times, although Wilson was always on the road, out their helping his fellow entrepreneurs enjoy the exciting journey to their very own American Dream. Wilson Harrell fought a good fight and ran a good race to the end. Even in his passing, his timeless wisdom he put to paper is still available for sharp business owners to learn from. He wouldn't want it any other way. Wilson Harrell proved to us all that the little guy can make a great America an even greater place to live and work. Hats off to hard working entrepreneurs that have the guts to continue in Wilson's path. Let's all enjoy the exciting journey forward."
"Entrepreneurs are born - not made - but thirst for freedom is the spark that ignites."
"If you want to be an entrepreneur, be sure that your aim is to be free to do something well. To leave a footprint in the sands of time. And be sure you give your employees the freedom to make contributions, to earn rewards - and even make mistakes."
"Every entrepreneur will someday be forced to raise money. Be smart and employ the services of a member of the financial clan to represent you."
Excerpt on handling "entrepreneurial terror" from Wilson's book For Entrepreneur's Only - "Spit on error"
"The big companies that make up Corporate America must make sure their marketing plans include the Third Market, the entrepreneurial companies that give the American economy its life."
Key thoughts for entrepreneurs
One of the key areas in Wilson's book, For Entrepreneur's Only is an area where he discussed the hunters and farmers of the cave man age. You see, Wilson spent many years studying the demeanor and make-up of the entreprenuerial breed. And it is a very different breed - a breed that truly creates change in our world. He reasoned from science and a variety of studies that genes are passed down and often entrepreneurs are the children of entrepreneurs. At some point thousands of years ago, entrepreneurs were the hunters of our world while the farmers tend to be employees.
Why is this important? Well, quite honestly entrepreneurs are often misunderstood by spouses, family, friends and associates. They sometimes work incredible hours, have short attention spans for uninteresting topics, are often impatient and so on. Wilson advocated that many children who demonstrate such tendencies are often misdiagnosed with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) when in actuality their entrepreneurial minds simply work differently.
For those of you who have read about Wilson either through Success Magazine, his book, other articles, etc. you would know that Wilson was a very straightforward individual who fought hard for his convictions.
He experienced tremendous success in his life, turning around Formula 409 from a bankrupt company and later selling a thriving product and company for several million. He worked all over the world, consulted for large companies and even launched products that were a complete flop. Wilson had incredible fortitude and desire to help others succeed as well. He toured the world speaking on entreprenuership.
Entrepreneurship was not a job - it was the only way to live. He advocated a variety of youth entrepreneuship organizations and lobbied both schools and parents to teach kids entepreneurship and cultivate these natural tendencies. He saw money as a by-product of a successful passionate endeavor. A by-product which comes as a result of persistence. For many, it takes 2, 3, 4 or more efforts in business before enough experience and learning plays out in the form of success.
Here's the end to Wilson's book, - (From the song "My Way" sung by Frank Sinatra).
I've loved, I've laughed and cried
I've had my fill, my share of losing
And now the tears subside
I find it all so amusing
To think-I did it all that
And may I say
Not in a shy way
Oh no, oh no not me, I did it my way.
Read Wilson Harrell's book:
For Entrepreneurs Only : Success Strategies for Anyone Starting or Growing a Business