Given the propensity of new firms to die, researchers have focused on what promotes new venture growth. Literature has already evidenced that a leaders´ influence over employees to cooperate and to act in an entrepreneurial way happens when they are perceived as role models. However, research exploring why employees identify with their leaders is still limited. As such, the purpose of this paper is to explore what entrepreneurs in high-growth firms actually do to be perceived as role models by their employees. Based on a longitudinal study along two years, we found that “self-giving” was the critical dimension to explain role-model influence. Defined as how entrepreneurs “give their selves” to the new venture making it grows, self-giving is composed of five dimensions: challenging purposes, resources optimization, self-sacrifice, life-mission and proactive search. Self-giving come out as an independent and distinct concept in the entrepreneurship scholarship. Implications for theory and entrepreneurship education are discussed.