In the 19th Century, an entrepreneur was a person who started a blacksmith shop. He made tools for farmers and horseshoes for their livestock. He provided a living for his family. The farmers were entrepreneurs who raised crops and animals to feed the community. They also provided jobs for farm hands, who wanted to make a living for their families to enjoy the fruits of their labor and the abundance of the products they produced. The farming community needed stores and services to support the growing needs of the businesses and the families, hence more entrepreneurs took personal gambles by opening feed stores, barber shops and bars.

Most entrepreneurs are risk takers whose motivation is to create financial success for themselves by providing products and services of value to others. The spinoff of entrepreneurship is that it spawns innovation, it creates jobs, and it provides models for more individuals to become innovators and entrepreneurs. It is the most successful business pyramid ever conceived and executed.

Some entrepreneurs fail. Some failed over and over until they made the light bulb work or created a market for fried chicken. Without failure, there cannot be knowledge collected to help future entrepreneurs avoid known pitfalls. Without risk there cannot be reward.

Entrepreneurs, like Michael Dell, started a business empire assembling computers in his college dorm room. His vision and tenacity created the foundation for there being a computer in virtually every home in the Country. His company transformed Central Texas into a model community for structured growth and spawned thousands of new jobs and new entrepreneurs. He created the opportunity for any individual to reach their highest level of success, including the blacksmiths who still thrive in the Austin area.

Successful entrepreneurship has several other ingredients besides risk taking. One is timing – being in the right place at the right time. Another is leading people to become craftsmen and creating abundance through excellence. The third is the few who either never had the vision to create success for everyone, but to accumulate wealth and power for themselves. The “evil rich’ are the stereotype we hear about every day from those who believe in Robin Hood.

There is a growing majority of our citizens that have no idea that creating value through your own skills and hard work is the path to having the abundance that you want for yourself and your family. They are daily bombarded with schemes for redistributing the wealth from the evil rich and giving it to the poor to level the playing field. That is called Socialism and it has never been sustainable in the history of the world. Yet there are those who could realistically be elected to national office who would dismantle entrepreneurship and drive this Country from greatness to the powerful few being dictators over the vast majority. That system creates mediocrity and destroys innovation.

Take personal accountability in actually doing factual research on the platforms of the various political candidates. Decide for yourself if their motivations are abundance for all or absolute power for a few. Then vote based on informed commitment, not the promise of “free” money.

Tom Taormina has written 12 books on business process excellence and leadership.