Woman arms crossed demanding an answer.

A lot people like to talk about entrepreneurship or what it is to be an entrepreneur. Unfortunately, many of these people only get the definitions partially right. In their defense, it can be really difficult because people are encouraged to put things in their own words.

You can see where this could lead to some confusion. Entrepreneurship is very different for an investment banker versus an Etsy knitter. Investment bankers see entrepreneurship as a form of agnosticism. If you listen closely, you will hear investment bankers talk about founders.

Investment bankers like to talk about entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship in the contest of serial entrepreneurs. These are people who start companies and manage their growth until they are larger enough to warrant a profitable exit.

Etsy knitters on the other hand view entrepreneurship as a fancy way of saying you need to own your value creation process. The same could be said of bloggers, web designers, and other people who want the flexibility of a creative lifestyle with the security of recurring income.

For our conversations, we will reserve the term entrepreneurship and entrepreneur for those small business owners who are looking to build a company they can sell.  We will use the term maker for those small business owners and skilled professionals who want to take ownership of their value creation process.

Why does it matter?

A lot of new makers think that they have picked a niche when they say that they serve entrepreneurs. The reality is that they need to niche now at least one or two levels. Do they serve people who want to build businesses they can sell or do they want to serve people who want to take ownership of their value creation process.

You could make the case that the next level would include something of a demographic nature. Do you serve men, women, or minority interests? Do you serve teachers, doctors, or lawyers. All of these demographic and industry designations could be potential sub-niches and opportunities to niche down.

What about Subscription Makers?

You could think of subscription makers as a professional designator or as a monetization strategy. Makers take ownership of their value creation process. A patron does not direct them on what to create. They co-create value with their customers on behalf of their customers. And they retain ownership of the services that they deliver.

The emergence of the sharing economy means that people are less likely to purchase goods or customer experience in perpetuity. For example, today’s customer would rather stay at a cottage listed on Airbnb rather purchase a timeshare or a second home outright.

What does this mean for maker movement?

There are some who believe that you have to belong to a makerspace to be a maker. For the sake of conversation, you say the makers have to belong to makerspaces is the “clubby” definition of being a maker. And you can view the one used on SubscriptionMaker.net as the expansive version.

It seems fairly obvious that the maker movement is better served by the expansive definition of what it is to be a maker. You could make the case that even if makers produce and sell their products it won’t significantly change America. Manufacturing is on course to become a two percent solution, which means that only two percent of the population is employed in the sector.

The hard truth is that America needs the maker movement to thrive well into this century. In other posts, we’ve talked about the binge and purge nature of transnational corporations. Companies hire when the economy is doing well and layoff when the economy softens. There are not signs that this is going to change anytime soon. So, we as a socieity are going to have to take ownership of our value creation process. 


Entrepreneurship and entrepreneur are vague terms that require a lot of care when being used in your niche building efforts. The term maker is better a choice for describing those people who want to take ownership of their value creation process. America will be better off for your efforts.

Zachary Alexander

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