One thing defines an entrepreneur – constructive action. Typically, they’re the salesman – doing *everything* to get people to buy their stuff. We all have the image in our heads; the “wheeler-dealer”, picking any opportunity to try and exploit (and other people) for profit. Indeed, the term “entrepreneur” seems to have drifted around the present lexicon – from “something you did” (typically to improve people’s lives) into a blend of “money mad hustler” and “someone who doesn’t ‘follow the rules'”.
The reality is the modern meaning could not be further from the truth. Entrepreneurship isn’t a vocation or job. It’s not a label which you apply to yourself in order to make yourself more endearing to a particular party, or clientele… it’s a way of doing things. Many “entrepreneurial” types actually have jobs. They’ll never admit they are “entrepreneurs”, although they exhibit all the traits of one. The question is what these traits are, and whether you – or someone you know – has them.
What Is An “Entrepeneur”?
Entrepreneur is a word derived from French – loosely describing a “problem solver”. Whilst its connotation has changed over the years, the premise persists – an “entrepreneur” is someone who creates a “widget” and has the ability to encourage other people to buy it. What this “widget” is can be a commercial product, service or idea.
It’s actually interesting… some of the greatest “entrepreneurs” of history actually had nothing to do with money. They were completely focused on the development of a particular “result” and committed themselves whole-heartedly to its realization. Whether this meant conquering the Persian empire (Alexander), developing the light bulb (Edison) or creating stable PC systems (Gary Kildall), conquering the Aztec empire (Cortez), the term “entrepreneur” really denotes someone who wants to build something. The BIG difference between “original” entrepreneurs and the swathes of new-age idiots (who typically aggrandize a hedonistic lifestyle + seem to have an infatuation for “crypto”) is that the former were typically committed to a single profession, and manage to “leverage” that through the development of increasingly ambitious “projects”.
These projects could be anything… but they all had a core “reason” to exist. This reason was what drove the originator to pursue the endeavour, and continue even when it was questionable whether it was even “possible” or not. Obviously, the reason we remember them is that they not only discovered it was “possible”, but entirely feasible… hence their success.
How To Tell If Someone Is One
The typical sign is they will do strange things…
- interest in esoteric ideas
- pursuit of interests not directly correlated to the accumulation of wealth
- strong displays of passion for particular subjects
- immersive nature with different ideas (trying to recreate historical events etc)
The point is that REAL entrepreneurs are not typically concerned about money at all. Their primary concern is the creation of a “thing”. What that thing is, is determined by either their character or interests… but in every instance of someone who’s achieved a large amount of success, they were completely and utterly focused on doing “their” thing no matter what. This is actually important. The modern world seems to have every 18 year old male wanting to be an “entrepreneur” – like it’s a badge of honour or something. If you’re not “growing”, you’re “dying”… right?
The truth is that our society has become so focused on convenience that the majority of these money-grabbing idiots have absolutely no business even considering themselves “entrepreneurs”. They have no experience, no skills and are only latching onto the latest “fad” in order to escape the mediocrity which has come to pervade the West’s consumerist culture. Entrepreneurship typically follows YEARS of interest in a particular subject. It typically follows HUGE investments of time & energy into the cultivation of a skill set, experience and “involvement” in a particular space.
Most importantly – entrepreneurship is about doing something YOUR WAY.
Stay Clear Of Modern Idiots
The BIGGEST problem I continually see from the hoards of idiots is they are ALL following a “book” or some other “rules” on “how” to be an entrepreneur. I see it all the time… guys reading all the biographies, neural studies, latest books from the big wealthy fat cat – all trying to discover the “secret” to massive success. What’s ironic is that all of this stuff just works on the “outside” of the issue – the same people who read all the “stuff” end up with the SAME questions… “what do I sell?”- “how do I know if I’m going to make money on a product?” – “what’s the secret to getting rich?”.
- If you have to ask “what do I sell”, you’re not an entrepreneur.
- If you have to listen to what a “successful” person has to say on a subject, you’re not an entrepreneur.
- If you have to consider all the “rules” put forward by others, you’re not an entrepreneur.
The point is that the modern world is chock-full of wannabe losers. Even the “successful” ones aren’t actually truly successful – they may have made a bunch of money, but what did they actually achieve? The answer is relatively little (or even nothing).
The truth is that if you want to “be” an entrepreneur, you have to get to work.
EVERYBODY has their own work. Some are models. Some are footballers. Some are computer programmers. Some are painters. The “trick” is to do ANYTHING in order to get moving forward in an industry; clean the floors if necessary. Once you start to gain some progress, the “entrepreneurial” stuff comes from leveraging any progress made within it – either to create & market a product, or to help a market better appreciate the potential of another device/product.
Traits Of “Real” Entrepreneurs
- Quiet (or at least reserved)
- Fully capable of embracing failure (indeed, using it as a spur to change/adapt)
- Working constantly on different elements within their “industry” (again, everyone has a place)
- Unafraid of social constructs (just because someone said it doesn’t make it true)
- Laser focused on what “they” want to do (you want to bring sustainable farming to Africa? This is the type of thing a “real” entrepreneur will actually do)
- Unafraid to give freely (most “entrepreneur” types are not attached to money at all… typically not having much until they find mercantile success)
If you haven’t worked it out, the core is purpose. The modern world has very little emphasis on purpose; rather it focuses on productivity. Nothing wrong with this, but it devoids most people of their passion. It’s good for GDP and McDonald’s – but bad for the creativity lying latent within a large number of people. If you want to adopt “entrepreneurial” traits, the key is to become attuned to a particular “purpose” – through which you’re able to invest your entire life. If you’re just looking at Ferrari’s and thinking that you “kind of want to become rich” – entrepreneurship is not going to do that.
It’s a very difficult road, with only the most persistent and enduring surviving. You need to get to work, and only then you will discover hidden opportunities into which you’re able to apply your expertise, experience or network to build something of real value to the world. This real value is then absorbed by the market, who’ll either pay handsomly for it – or reject it. This is pretty-much what determines whether someone could be considered an “entrepreneur” or not.
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