Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson, Steve Jobs…
These names are synonymous with the word entrepreneur.
But who (or what) is an entrepreneur really? And how can you tell if you are one, or if you have what it takes to become one?
For starters, a moment of truth: If you’re an entrepreneur, you’re probably not reading a blog post wondering if you are because you’re too damn busy running your own business. On the up side, if you are reading this, you’re likely on your way to greater entrepreneurial glory because you’re eager to soak up every nugget of actionable info available to you.
Pro tip: having a profound interest in learning and growing is one surefire trait of an entrepreneur. In his autobiography Like a Virgin, Richard Branson writes “Entrepreneurs are innately curious people.” So, congrats, you’re well on your way!
Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur?
Like many of life’s challenging topics (trust, love, success…) entrepreneurship is a subjective concept.
The word entrepreneur is vaguely defined by Merriam-Webster as a person who starts a business and is willing to risk loss in order to make money. So, is an entrepreneur someone who opens a taco stand and then cliff dives to earn a few bucks? Clearly not.
Entrepreneurship shouldn’t be shrouded in mystery. In fact, entrepreneurs are positioned to be the real truth-seekers; the rule-breakers who defy the odds of the status quo to advance their mission, service, and product to deliver solutions. Think you fit this bill? If you match these traits, you’re moving in the right direction.
1. You’re a master of balance.
In a recent small business poll, an overwhelming percentage of business owners believe that the strongest entrepreneur is a well-rounded jack-of-all-trades.
Entrepreneurs wear countless hats — they’re marketers, accountants, customer service reps, and sales teams all wrapped up into a single person who achieve balance in moments of uncertainty and straight up chaos.
2. You know how to work hard to create opportunity.
Some of the most successful entrepreneurs (Andrew Carnegie, Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey) built their empires on little more than the grit and know-how to create opportunities where most overlooked. Entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuck, more recently known for his motivational rants and Snapchats promises that there are no business short cuts. “If you want results,” he says, “put in the work.”
3. You’re passionate about what you’re doing.
You must care deeply about what you’re doing because you’re going to be living and breathing it. All. The. Time.
Being an entrepreneur is no 9 to 5 gig; it’s a full-time lifestyle where you are your own brand. While risky, the good news is that according to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, “If you just work on stuff that you like and you’re passionate about, you don’t have to have a master plan with how things will play out.” So far, so good for him.
In the 2015 film Steve Jobs, Jobs is portrayed as an isolationist who’s quoted as saying “I’m indifferent to whether or not people like me” while Richard Branson speaks at length about solid communication and the power of teamwork.
At the end of the (work) day — likely more than 14 hours long for the entrepreneurial-minded — there’s no right or wrong way to be an entrepreneur. While certain personality traits may be more common in entrepreneurs than others, there’s no guidebook on how to be an entrepreneur, and we wouldn’t want it any other way.
Why is entrepreneurship important?
Gallup has shown that the world’s countries will need to add 600 million new jobs within the next 15 years. These numbers may seem ridiculous, but the fact of the matter is that these 600 million jobs will only allow the world to maintain current employment rates. These numbers seem staggering and that’s the truth. How on earth are we to manage this?
According to this same Gallup report, 64% of new private sector reports are being created by small businesses. The individuals that open their own small businesses are deemed entrepreneurs. What does this mean for you? It means that now is the time to start that small business you have always dreamed of.
Now is the time for you to sit down and write that business plan in order to determine what you will need in order to get your small business off the ground. Studies have shown that there will be no shortage of workers, and the fact of the matter is that these workers will need your business in order to have a job. They will be relying on you, much as you are relying on the company you work for to provide you with an income (or as you are relying on yourself, if you have a start-up for which you are the current and sole employee).
The time for you is now
Now is the time to work to develop your small business idea or work to further your start up. Now is the time to determine what you need in order to make your business grow, and now is the time to get started on that idea.
In order to be successful, your business will need to grow. You are just one person, and you can’t do it all yourself (much as you may want to). You need a support staff, working to assist you in bringing your vision to life. With the right foundation, the right setup, and the right product or service, you will be able to manifest your dream. Why? Because you are getting in at the beginning.
You have the foresight to know that now is when you will need to develop your business, so when the time does come, you will not only know what to capitalize on, you will be ready to capitalize on it. Your business will have been developed enough to need those additional employees, and your organization will be poised for growth. All you have to do is get started. Entrepreneurship is showing itself to be the wave of the future. Catch the wave before it crests.
What do you think it means to be an entrepreneur? Have any favorite entrepreneurial role models? Leave a comment! We’re always listening.
Henry Green is a freelance writer based in Austin, Texas who helps small businesses and entrepreneurs improve their online presence through marketing, social media, and website optimization.