The Ups and Downs of Being an Unconventional Business Owner

Elon Musk is an unconventional business owner. He doesn’t think or act like the average person or business owner. I was listening to a WSJ podcast about Elon’s shareholder lawsuit which didn’t want him to be paid $56 billion dollars in a pay package.

One of the things Tesla did to win shareholder approval, a second time, was to have a raffle.

They won the approval the first time, but per judge’s ruling they did the vote again. They did a raffle, so that everyone who voted could win a chance for a tour of a Tesla factory. This increased the number of votes. Voting in shareholder meeting is cumbersome and archaic, so most smaller voters don’t even vote. Only larger, institutional voters, often vote.

While being an unconventional business leader sounds “cool”, it’s not always that cool It can be lonely, people don’t understand you and many might hate you.

This got me thinking about being an unconventional leader or business owner.

In the world of business, convention often reigns supreme. Many entrepreneurs follow the well-trodden path, adhering to established norms and practices. However, some visionary leaders dare to be different. They embrace unconventional approaches and challenge the status quo. These trailblazers demonstrate that being different can be a powerful catalyst for success.

Breaking the Mold: Elon Musk’s Unconventional Approach

Elon Musk, the visionary behind Tesla and SpaceX, epitomizes the unconventional business owner. He thinks differently and acts boldly. Musk defies industry norms and pushes boundaries. He envisions a future where electric vehicles dominate the roads and humans colonize Mars.

Musk’s unconventional thinking has yielded remarkable results. Tesla revolutionized the automotive industry, making electric cars desirable and mainstream. SpaceX achieved what was once thought impossible, landing reusable rockets and reducing space travel costs. Musk’s willingness to be different has positioned him as a visionary leader and innovator.

Richard Branson: The Maverick Entrepreneur

Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group, is another example of an unconventional business owner. Branson built a diverse empire spanning multiple industries, from airlines to music to space tourism. He is known for his flamboyant style and risk-taking approach.

Branson’s unconventional methods have set him apart. He prioritizes fun and adventure in his business ventures. Branson has taken on daring feats, such as attempting world records in hot air balloons and kitesurfing. His willingness to be different has made him a beloved figure and a successful entrepreneur.

Arianna Huffington: Redefining Success

Arianna Huffington, co-founder of The Huffington Post, challenged conventional notions of success. She recognized the importance of well-being and work-life balance in a world that often glorifies hustle and burnout. Huffington advocated for the power of sleep and self-care.

Huffington’s unconventional approach led her to create Thrive Global, a company dedicated to helping individuals and organizations prioritize well-being. She redefined success, emphasizing that it encompasses more than just financial gain. Huffington’s different perspective has influenced countless individuals to prioritize their health and happiness.

The Benefits of Being Unconventional

Being an unconventional business owner offers numerous advantages. It allows for innovation and disruption. Unconventional thinkers identify gaps in the market and create solutions that others overlook. They are not afraid to challenge the status quo and introduce new ideas.

Unconventional approaches also help businesses stand out in a crowded market. When everyone else is following the same playbook, being different can capture attention and attract customers. It sets a business apart and creates a unique brand identity.

Moreover, being unconventional fosters a culture of creativity and risk-taking within an organization. It encourages employees to think outside the box and propose novel solutions. This mindset can lead to breakthroughs and a competitive edge.

Embracing Your Unique Path

As a business owner, embracing your unconventional nature can be transformative. It requires courage and conviction to go against the grain. However, the rewards can be significant.

Start by identifying your unique strengths and passions. What sets you apart from others in your industry? How can you leverage your differences to create value? Use your unconventional perspective to identify opportunities and solve problems in innovative ways.

Surround yourself with individuals who support and encourage your unconventional approach. Build a team that shares your vision and is willing to take risks. Foster a culture that values creativity, experimentation, and continuous learning.

Remember, being unconventional does not mean being reckless. It is important to balance innovation with strategic thinking. Conduct thorough research, assess risks, and make informed decisions. Being different should not come at the expense of sound business practices.


In the world of business, being unconventional can be a powerful asset. Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington, and countless other successful entrepreneurs have demonstrated the impact of thinking differently and challenging the status quo.

As a business owner, embrace your unique perspective and dare to be different. Identify opportunities, innovate, and create value in ways that others have not considered. Use your unconventional approach to stand out, attract customers, and build a thriving business.

Remember, success is not limited to following convention. The most remarkable achievements often come from those who are willing to break the mold and chart their own path. Embrace your unconventional nature, and let it be the driving force behind your entrepreneurial journey.

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