Photo courtesy of Jon Savona

Talking about entrepreneurship, most of us imagine a long, though graduate climbing to success following structured patterns, playing by the rules established by generations of cutthroat dealers and ambitious dreamers.  But for those who managed to succeed, understand that being an entrepreneur is more than textbook knowledge. It may only be compared to an old-school gold mining – spending your whole life in constant search, hitting the Jackpot with a threat to lose everything at once, or years of fruitless search fueled with your optimism only.

The life story of Mikhail Panferov – an ambitious young man who never gave up on the way to this dream – is the case. Born in a small Russian town Dolgoprudny, he grew up in Moscow. But even the Megapolis that attracts millions of adventurous Russian businesspeople every year was too small for him. Eventually, in 2012 Mikhail has left Moscow following the ultimate thrill of numerous entrepreneurs – the American Dream.

When he settled in North Haven, Connecticut, Mikhail has started a life of a regular American teenager. He has attended The North Haven High School, played in a local soccer team, and got a part-time job as a dishwasher in a small restaurant. But seemingly fitting into the crowd, every day and night Mikhail spent searching for his unique path. The path that will bring him to success, and will open the doors to the world of big business and endless opportunities.

That was the time when the business started to discover the digital space. With the development of social media and online presence, the concept of branding became accessible not only for the cutthroat global corporations but also for private entrepreneurs who believed that the future of the business world depends on ambition and determination.

Since Panferov started to discover the possibilities and perspectives of building his brand, the road to success started to look clear. Since that moment, his life has divided into two parts – working hard at his day job, he spends all his free time learning about branding and private entrepreneurship. He spent hours researching success stories of fellow-dreamers, looking for his unique way – an original idea, a startup that will take him to the Olympia of the business world.

Once it seemed like he gropes the threat, Mikhail has quit his regular job to pursue the dream. That was the life turning point that has determined him as an entrepreneur for the rest of his life. The first business was a flop. But though Mikhail has wasted a lot of time and energy and lost all his money, he has preserved the main thing that eventually brings glory and success. His determination stayed with him. So even after one failure was followed by another Mikhail remained true to his dream to shake off the shackles of “normal” employment and hit the Jackpot someday.

But in a meantime, he went back to his regular job. Unlike many might suggest, this was not a retreat. Every working day became one more step towards the dream. While working hard, being a cog in a corporate wheel, putting money aside, Panferov was doing serious homework. He has spent this time analyzing his failures, inventing alternative solutions, and learning the rules of a rapidly developing market. To obtain his segment, he had to determine his niche, find its perspectives, and come up with original solutions. Among numerous startups appearing at that period, his brand had to be unique and powerful enough to be noticed among numerous competitors. But the dynamics did not leave too much space for the maneuvering and Panferov had to take a chance again. And the third time was a hit!

The story of Mikhail Panferov proves that being an entrepreneur is not about seed capital and powerful connections. It does not only require education, experience, and professional training. Millions of people who have it all from the very beginning end up under the bridge. Entrepreneurship is a constant self-development and seeing mistakes and failures not as pullbacks, but as educational opportunities.