“9/11 was a huge wake-up call.”

To varying degrees, September 11, 2001, changed us all. For the individuals who have shared their stories here, it was life changing. That fateful day was the catalyst that motivated them to become entrepreneurs or, at the very least, altered the way they ran their existing businesses.

A dozen years after the Twin Towers fell, we asked entrepreneurs to reflect on that day and explain how it shaped their personal and professional trajectories. The responses, curated in this gallery, are in the words of the entrepreneurs themselves.

Responses have been edited for clarity and length where necessary.

“As a type A personality, it was easy for me to get sucked into the ‘workaholism’ syndrome. 9/11 was a huge wake-up call that shouted the reminder to me that we never know how much time we have left here on earth.”

Yoon Cannon

Business growth coach

Paramount Business Coach, LLC

Doylestown, Penn.

9/11 inspired me to completely change the business I was in. When 9/11 happened I was running three different businesses at the same time – a large performing arts center, a retail store, and a production company – with 35 people on my payroll. As a type A personality, it was easy for me to get sucked into the “workaholism” syndrome. 9/11 was a huge wake-up call that shouted the reminder to me that we never know how much time we have left here on earth.

No one ever says on their deathbed that they wished they worked more or achieved more. When we face death and tragedy we all evaluate the relationships in our lives. As a working mother with three children (two at that time), 9/11 inspired me to create instead a lifestyle business, so that my new business could be built around my family which would allow me to be available for them on their schedule. I didn’t want to miss out on enjoying my family and loved ones.

I ended up selling all three of my businesses and started my lifestyle business which is my coaching practice. The majority of my work is virtual, allowing me to be at home in the mornings to see them off to school and available for my kids when they get home at 3pm. I choose how much I want to work each week. I can work anywhere in the world, so when we decide to pick up and travel I can work around that no problem.

My lifestyle business also comes with the added perk of no overhead. I used to have a high maintenance- high overhead 5,000-square-foot building. Plus, my lifestyle business offers me a leveraged business model which allows me to work a fraction of the time while earning 10 times more than the traditional billable hours model.

I think the anniversary of 9/11 each year serves an important reminder for us all to prioritize and cherish investing in the relationships of our family and loved ones.

“We are grateful for what we have accomplished and what we have.”

“We were humbled by the way we approach our business, as we are grateful for what we have accomplished and what we have. We lost sight of that before 9/11.”

Tim Kerin

Author, speaker and consultant

Learning Lessons in Business Inc.

Damascus, Md.

Our business attitude changed after 9/11. We were humbled by the way we approach our business, as we are grateful for what we have accomplished and what we have. We lost sight of that before 9/11. We changed our attitude on business issues that it is not the end of the world when something happens, but a simple challenge to overcome. A challenge unlike the families that lost loved ones on my birthday….9/11. Today for me, September 11th it is not a day to celebrate but a day to be thankful.

Read more: http://www.entrepreneur.com/slideshow/228294#ixzz2eaWTsef1

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