As John Rolfe boards the Sea Venture in London, England on May 15, 1609, for his epic adventure, who would have thought that he, John Rolfe, a 24 year old gentleman farmer, would in a period of only seven years assure the success of English colonial efforts in America, marry the most important woman in Colonial America, succeed as America’s first entrepreneur becoming the father of American capitalism, create America’s largest export for the next 150 years, and create a billion dollar industry that still thrives after 400 years. In addition, who would have thought he would become a member of the first representative legislative body in the Americas, a fundamental institution that would lead to our uniquely American form of government. Certainly not John Rolfe, and most certainly not anyone else.
John Rolfe’s two important contributions, the financial success and the period of peace for the first permanent English colony in the Americas, led to the establishment of the English common law and the English cultural heritage of representative government and religious freedom on which the United States of America was founded. If John Rolfe hadn’t created a financially successful industry and fallen in love with Pocahontas, we could have a French, Spanish, or even Dutch heritage.
Because of my name, I’ve heard about John Rolfe and Pocahontas my entire life. I didn’t appreciate his critical role in the success of England colonizing America until a visit to Jamestown, Virginia, set me on a path of serious research into the life of John Rolfe. I spent four years researching this book. By a happy coincidence, I was already researching entrepreneurship. I discovered that John Rolfe was America’s first entrepreneur and he set the tone for the unique American spirit of entrepreneurship.
As you will see, without John Rolfe’s two major contributions, the Virginia colony would have failed and the French, Spanish, and Dutch, rather than the English, would have colonized not only New Mexico, California, Florida, Canada, Delaware, and New York, but most of what is now the United States. In a very real sense, John Rolfe is responsible for the United States being an English speaking nation.
I’m sure you’ve already read all the dire statistics about how the odds are stacked against you in starting a business and how few new businesses succeed. Yet you are right to have confidence that your business will beat the odds and succeed. Without that belief you and your business will fail.
This book will help you avoid the mistakes that may not be obvious to many of the entrepreneurs who start businesses. I certainly hope your challenges won’t be nearly as tough as those actually faced and overcome by America’s first entrepreneur. But the dramatic events of his life graphically illustrate the kinds of challenges every entrepreneur faces. And it’s a great story even if you’re not an entrepreneur.
In each chapter you will find the inspiring true and epic story of the challenges faced by America’s first entrepreneur. As you enjoy the historical narrative, think about your own entrepreneurial venture and consider whether you have met your similar business challenges. It was an amazing time in history, and the end of each chapter highlights some key events going on elsewhere in the world at the same time.
Once you have absorbed the wisdom presented by the story of America’s first entrepreneur, you can be sure your belief that your business is going to succeed is rooted in sound entrepreneurial principles, not in la-la land like your relatives probably think and say.
What is being an entrepreneur all about? The dictionary defines an entrepreneur as “a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.”
Who becomes an entrepreneur, and why would you want to be an entrepreneur? Here it is in four words.
Creation. Freedom. Money. Legacy.
Being an entrepreneur is all about creating a venture that you have some control over, achieving the freedom to live life as you wish – doing what you want, when you want, where you want, and how you want – acquiring the money or wealth to do so, and leaving a business or financial legacy. And, oh, enjoying the game along the way.
Why do you need this book? This book will give you time-tested principles of entrepreneurship which will help you succeed in reaching your goals. America’s first entrepreneur illustrates all the important principles of entrepreneurship. America’s first entrepreneur was wildly successful within seven years using these principles after a series of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. His epic story is very inspiring. The industry America’s first entrepreneur created is not only still successful in America after 400 years, but has multi-billion dollar sales year in and year out.