In the past, entrepreneurs were the few people who took risks to start their own business. Sometimes they were successful; sometimes they weren't. In the 21st century, the definition of an entrepreneur has expanded to include people who create their own Internet-based businesses, home-based companies, and even freelance workers, who are predicted to compose more than 50 percent of the workforce by 2027, according to a report by Upwork and the Freelancers Union. Still, the basic idea of entrepreneurship hasn't changed dramatically since the Industrial Age dawned in the 1800s.

A person has an idea for a product or service that will fill a specific niche in a market. They gather the financing necessary to produce the product or offer the service, and depending on whether it's an e-company or one that requires a physical location, the company launches as soon as it has all resources and systems in place. While the rate of failure of new businesses is traditionally high (more than 50 percent fail after five years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau), with the advent of e-companies, which often require much less upfront capital, a growing number of people are willing to take the risk. Some entrepreneurs become business owners because they're looking to escape corporate life, and their goal is simply to earn enough money to live comfortably and retire. Other entrepreneurs seek to grow their companies over the years and become wealthy.

The most important ingredient to business owners is independence: They have the freedom and ability to make their own decisions, set their own working hours, and not have to answer to anyone else.

Entrepreneurships first started in the United States as colonies became cities and settlers needed to purchase goods to keep them clothed and fed. Retail store owners were the first entrepreneurs and were the most prevalent for many years. In the Industrial Age of the 1800s, entrepreneurs launched manufacturing facilities th...