What is an Entrepreneur?

Entrepreneur is a French word literally translated as someone who “enters into an undertaking” into business for themselves.

  • They must take legitimate risks to advance their organization.
  • A small business requires the same amount of consistent, steady maintenance as a baby.

Outside of parenting, a small business is the largest personal sacrifice a person can ever make.

  • The sacrifice will require at least four years of obsessive devotion, with the possibility of decades of retirement afterward.

Disposition

Almost everyone is capable of being an entrepreneur, but not everyone has the personality that they’d enjoy it:

They also must be stubborn enough to indefinitely face criticism, failure, obstacles, and the ever-present unknown.

  • It’s practically a requirement to adopt an abnormally high tolerance for social risks.
  • They’ll need to constantly seek out guidance from mentors and associates.
  • Typically, they’ll have a natural ability to see strengths where most people see weaknesses.

Most of them are inherently curious.

However, unlike philosophers or educators, they’re also extremely practical.

  • That practical approach means they’re typically antagonistic toward bureaucracy and large systems.
  • They’re fixated more on currently available resources than building large-scale systems.
  • Many of them will have a strange enjoyment out of finding ways to overcome, minimize or calculate risks.

Finally, they generally must be humble enough to accept what they don’t know.

  • If they’re older, they’ll need to follow the trends that younger people adopt, meaning they’ll have to change their ways.
  • If they’re younger, they’ll need to take the experience and wisdom of older generations.
  • They’ll have to touch many specialized domains, so they’ll need to learn when they must simply trust professionals.

Skills

They’ll have to learn a wide variety of disciplines where they had had zero experience.

  • While they can delegate some things (e.g., lawyer or accountant), the beginning stages of their business will require them to understand at least a general working concept of most parts of their organization.

Determination – more than anything else, they must be focused.

  • They will face against a plethora of opposition, ranging from existential (e.g., friends who don’t think they’ll succeed) to practical (e.g., much larger companies start trying to compete with them).
  • That determination, over time, will express as a type of relentlessness toward what they want.

Flexibility – against determination, they must be able to adapt.

  • Relentlessness alone isn’t useful, and they’ll get shut down quickly if they don’t pivot to where the opportunities are sitting.
  • Success porn like “don’t give up on your dreams” is foolish, since they’ll have to modify their dreams at a moment’s notice.

Imagination – they must be able to think creatively.

  • Intelligence counts because it defines how easily they can think of new ideas.
  • In many circles, their cleverness will be seen as mild insanity.

Deviance – they need to have a rebellious streak.

Friendship – it’s a huge advantage if they know how to get along with others.

  • Their ability to coexist and work together becomes much more significant once they have partners.
  • Irrespective of their social skills, an entrepreneur will be preoccupied with how they can fulfill others’ needs.
  • Many of them are also natural leaders, even if nobody follows them.

Independence – they’ll have to do almost everything themselves, at least at first.

  • Paying others for what you can do yourself will impede your ability to make a profit.
  • Building a business from the ground up requires a lot of toil, and is a dramatic exercise in self-improvement from all angles.

Purpose

Some motivations can’t sustain an entrepreneur’s drive:

  • If someone severely resents working for an employer, they’ll resent working with clients and will often alienate potential opportunities.
  • The desire to simply become rich is ill-placed in entrepreneurship, since most entrepreneurs are paid less than employees who do mostly the same job.
  • Wanting to please someone else won’t work, since starting a business is not an easy decision.

In general, self-employment is not as high-paying as an employee equivalent.

  • When you work as an employee, you’re typically in a much more specialized role, meaning people are generally more inclined to pay you more for that work.
  • You also don’t have to think about unrelated domains to your work (e.g., accounting, management, sales).

An entrepreneur must be driven by a self-determined purpose to achieve.

  • They typically have plenty of confidence in their skills.
  • They have to find meaning in their work, even when it’s completely unrelated to making money.

Entrepreneurs typically succeed when they want to build a community.

  • To accomplish the wide variety of tasks they’ll need to do, they will need to foster community with other people.
  • The prevalence of social interaction means they’ll have to find at least some meaning from working with others.

Lifestyle

The disposition of an entrepreneur means they tend to have a few lifestyle elements in common:

For several reasons, entrepreneurs are typically young.

  • They have fewer commitments, and therefore less to risk to the unknown.
  • They’re typically not bitter about most of society’s large systems.
  • Their mind is more prone to entertaining silly things which may become a good business idea.
  • They’ll have more enthusiasm toward a new idea from a general lack of awareness over future risks.

They typically won’t be inclined toward creature comforts and luxuries.

  • They won’t be fixated on money as much as what more money can do for them.
  • In the formative phases of a small organization, even small expenses can ruin its financial health.

Many disciplines parallel an entrepreneur’s, and most of them typically visit at least some of them:

Next: A Business Idea