As the years roll by I have been challenged by the seemingly unending spectrum of entrepreneur types. There are big ones, small ones, one-shot ones, bad ones, good ones, and sad ones. Some are exuberant sales man while others are unassuming, quiet, and reserved. This shouldn’t be surprising as no two people are alike so why would two entrepreneurs be alike. Seems silly now that I think about it. In any case this should be a word of encouragement for anyone wondering where they sit and if they have what it takes to be an entrepreneur.
The short answer is you do. What type of entrepreneur you will be I can’t answer but I do know if you have a desire for business and enterprise you will in some way manifest entrepreneurship in your life. What exactly is an entrepreneur you ask? Well according to my 1939 Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary an entrepreneur is: An employer as the person who assumes the risk and management of business. For reference it points us to “Enterprise”.
Enterprise is defines as: 1. An undertaking especially one which involves activity, courage, energy, or the like; an important or daring project. 2. The character or disposition that leads one to attempt the difficult, the untried, etc.
So, from this it reasons that an entrepreneurial effort could be considered any project conducted for the sake of business. Is that an over simplification? I don’t know. This does open the door to allowing any employee to define themselves as an entrepreneur. An employee exchanges their time for money after all. Can you have entrepreneurial employees within an organization? I believe you can and should. I would love to have an employee that assumes the management of running business through courageous activities which attempt difficult, important, and daring projects. To me that sounds like a key figure for any organization.
Does this mean entrepreneurship is not what you do but rather how you do it? Yes. It is the mindset, drive, and bravado that is in the heart of change makers. Ok ok ok. So does this also mean there are prominent business men and women that would not be entrepreneurs? Exactly. Unfortunately there are “business people” that hide behind their titles, their employees, or previous success and do not have the heart of an entrepreneur. This of course won’t allow them to swim long in a free market environment but they are out there.
When most people think of entrepreneurs they think of big name tech startup founders. This is an image of an entrepreneur but not the only image. Take the single mom working on a side business at night. Or, the college student who flips product on EBay. Both are entrepreneurs in their own right and will likely find themselves someday managing over their contemporaries that sat on the sidelines while they put in the extra effort to generate business.
Allow me to segregate the entrepreneur types that you might find. You will see this in your own journey as well as with your business associates. If you think of this as a normal distribution broken into 3 parts you would have roughly the first 16% of entrepreneurs are babies (getting started), 70% are adolescent (regularly practicing), and 16% seasoned. (This highly scientific conclusion is based on nothing more than my need for a frame work so please poke holes.)
Baby Entrepreneur (getting started)
The baby entrepreneur is the individual that is cutting their teeth in the business world. This brings to mind the lemonade stands, paper routes, and candy brokers commonly heard about in the early stages of countless biographies. It also brings to mind the working professional that has decided they want to subsidize their income with a side job or buys their first rental property. Baby entrepreneurs won’t necessarily self-identify as an entrepreneur but are in fact on the spectrum.
I would also put those of us that have sporadic sperts of ingenuity or creative problem solving. Evidence of this could be a project, an idea, an effort, or a tool. Any solution you have ever come up with that solved a problem is the seed of enterprise. They may not always be something that can be commercialized but is enterprising nonetheless. This spring of inspiration flows into the river of execution.
Adolescent Entrepreneur (regularly practicing)
I believe most entrepreneurs will find themselves under this classification. The adolescent entrepreneur is full of piss and vinegar. Ready to take on the world and all of its problem. Not yet emboldened by years of experience but also not at the starting gate. These would be the deal maker, opportunist, or small business owner that habitually makes money through their projects. This could be the firefighter that has a business that seals asphalt when he isn’t on duty or the teacher who paints houses every summer. They know the ins and outs of running a business but perhaps only in a single field. May have few or no employees and are regularly competing in the free market. They may not live solely on their entrepreneurial income but they see more cash flow from their efforts than the baby entrepreneurs.
Seasoned Entrepreneur (never stops)
The seasoned entrepreneur would be living solely on their entrepreneurial efforts. They may not be super wealthy but they do rely 100% on their own efforts to make ends meet. They would rather rely on themselves than anyone else. This means they have the most failures under their belt. Startups that flopped, deals that went south, and maybe even a bankruptcy or two. In short they have lived it. They are the ones who also have a track record of profitable ventures, habitually solve problems, and see the world through lenses of possibility. Likely have/had many employees and possibly active in many businesses. If they are aren’t still “in the game” they are probably on the board of directors for any number of organizations.
Are you an entrepreneur?
So, are you an entrepreneur? I bet you are, otherwise why would you be reading this? If you are a working professional that feels stuck or a full-time mom struggling to pay the bills you can be a SHY Entrepreneur on your own journey to build enterprise. Our desire is to bring you hope and confidence to take your next steps and add value to others in this world. Your unique perspective and approach to the problems you face is needed and I am excited to hear about the solutions you will bring.