What is an Entrepreneur?

By Jordan Fabel •  Updated: December 10, 2021  •  8 min read  •  Business
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You might think an entrepreneur is just someone that starts a business. Maybe you think you’re an entrepreneur because you run a business. Answering the question, what is an entrepreneur takes more than just looking at a business owner.

Typically, a special type of person is cut out to be an entrepreneur. It’s not for everybody. There is certainly some risk involved, but most entrepreneurs are not phased by it. Let’s look at what an entrepreneur is below.

Dictionary Definition of an Entrepreneur

The official definition from merriam-webster.com is, “one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise.”

Some simply define an entrepreneur as a businessperson or founder of a business. Yes, this is true, but if you’re an entrepreneur, you know there’s more to it than simply becoming a founder of a business.

Common Traits of an Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurs are not all the same, but they tend to share common traits. Here are some of the most common traits you will find in entrepreneurs.

1. Passion

Entrepreneurs tend to be very passionate about their business. They will put in very long hours and often prefer to be working on their business than doing anything else. They have a passion, unlike most other people.

2. Confidence

Entrepreneurs tend to be very confident people. They not only have confidence in their business ideas but also in themselves. They handle rejection well and know how to keep going when things aren’t perfect.

3. Good Salespeople

While this trait doesn’t fit with every entrepreneur out there, most are very good salespeople. They know how to sell their business ideas, products, or services. Whether it’s selling to a customer or an investor, an entrepreneur is likely going to be very good at it.

4. Flexible

Entrepreneurs understand that not everything goes as planned. They know how to adjust and be flexible when things don’t go the way they had hoped.

5. Natural Born Leaders

Most entrepreneurs don’t have to learn how to be leaders, they just are leaders. While they might need some refining when it comes to leading, they already feel comfortable taking charge.

6. Decisive

People that don’t make decisions easily often don’t make good entrepreneurs. According to HBS.edu, an entrepreneur has to be able to make difficult decisions and stick to those decisions. They have to decide on how to fund the business and on the strategy for the business.

7. Willing to Take a Risk

One of the main reasons some people never become entrepreneurs is their unwillingness to take a risk. Opening a business comes with risk and entrepreneurs are willing to take that risk. Some are even comfortable with larger risks and thrive when everything is on the line.

8. Persistent

Entrepreneurs tend to be very persistent people. They might be told they won’t make it or a customer might say no, but they keep going. The passion they have helps them become even more persistent when they are trying to reach their goals.

9. Willing to Work Hard

Entrepreneurs understand it takes a lot of time and effort to build a business. They will work as hard as necessary to achieve their goal.

10. Vision

Entrepreneurs have a vision. They know what they want and they have the vision to get to their goal.

Not all entrepreneurs will have every one of these traits, but most successful entrepreneurs will have most of them.

Different Types of Entrepreneurs

While most will say a business owner or founder is an entrepreneur, there are actually a few different types including:

Each of these categories represents a different kind of entrepreneur.

Small Business Owner vs Entrepreneur

You might think a small business owner is the same as an entrepreneur. While an entrepreneur can be a small business owner, they are not always the same thing.

Entrepreneurs have a goal of working for themselves and changing the market they work in. A small business owner also wants to work for themselves, but they are usually more interested in adding to the market.

Entrepreneurs are more risk-tolerant than small business owners. They are often willing to take on larger risks to achieve their goals.

Typically, an entrepreneur has a long-term financial goal in mind. Small business owners tend to have more of a day-to-day focus on the financial side of things.

Another big difference is the type of business strategy each will have. A small business owner tends to have a simple strategy, while entrepreneurs have a very detailed and complex strategy.

How to Become an Entrepreneur

It might seem like entrepreneurs are simply born as entrepreneurs. While this is true, to some extent, you can develop the traits of an entrepreneur. It also takes a great idea people are willing to pay money for and a detailed plan to become an entrepreneur.

It’s not hard to become an entrepreneur if you have the right idea and plan. With a plan in place, you just have to be willing to put in the work to see your plan through.

Frequently Asked Questions About Entrepreneurs

How much can I make as an entrepreneur?

This is a bit of a loaded question. It’s hard to know how much you will make as an entrepreneur as most don’t earn any type of salary. Your income is likely going to be up to you and you will have to work hard to get to a point where you can pay yourself a salary.

According to Payscale.com, the average yearly salary for a small business owner is about $67K. The range goes all the way from $30K to about $132K, however.

Are all self-employed people entrepreneurs?

No. You can be self-employed and not an entrepreneur. Someone that is self-employed simply works for themselves. They might be a small business owner or a freelancer. However, an entrepreneur creates and operates a business or many different businesses.

What are the common types of businesses entrepreneurs are a part of starting?

An entrepreneur will likely start a small business, startup business, large company, or they will be a social entrepreneur. The biggest difference between the types of businesses is the size of each. You might start with a startup and become a large company, for example.

Which industries are most common for entrepreneurs?

Most entrepreneurs are found in newer industries or those seeing large transformations. They are very commonly found in the business, finance, and marketing sectors, as these industries are always changing. It’s also common to find entrepreneurs in computer science, technology, and communications.

How many hours will I work as an entrepreneur?

Your schedule is under your control when you’re an entrepreneur. However, most entrepreneurs are working all the time. An article from AllTopStartups.com details how long four different entrepreneurs work each week and the results included:

Another article from BusinessNewsDaily.com details how Grant Cardone thinks new entrepreneurs should work about 95 hours per week. Gary Vaynerchuck stated that he recommends working about 18 hours a day if you’re running a new startup company.

While the hours are long, for most, it’s temporary. After working long hours to get your idea and business up and running, you can likely hire people to help with the workload.

If you think you might want to be an entrepreneur, it’s important to understand what this is and how it works. Becoming an entrepreneur isn’t for everybody. If it’s for you, it’s time to develop the right skills and find your big idea.

Jordan Fabel

Jordan Fabel

Covering different 'paths' that people's lives can take. Creative, foster parent, ticket dismissal, you get the idea. Exploring the requirements, certifications, exams, and obviously, approved courses along each path. I, personally, am the high school dropout son of two teacher parents. So how did I get here? That story is coming soon!