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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Intraprenuer – This is a bit of a newer term and has to do with someone developing innovations inside an existing company. While they may not be taking on the financial risk of the innovation, they are trying to make something new inside an existing company.
- CEO – Another type of entrepreneur is the CEO. While this person may not have founded the business, they take on many of the same duties as an entrepreneur that did found the company. A CEO may not take on the same risk, but they are the head of the company.
- Founder – The most common type of entrepreneur is the founder. This person founded the business and made the company what it is.
- Home-Based Business Entrepreneurs – Someone starting a home-based business can be an entrepreneur. They might have a goal of running their business from home, but still have the bigger goals an entrepreneur has.
- Inventors – Not all inventors are entrepreneurs. However, many are, as they will take their invention past the idea stage and take the product to market.
- Serial Entrepreneurs – Another type of entrepreneur, a serial entrepreneur loves to start businesses and make them successful. However, they reach a point where they would rather turn the business over to a management team and move on to starting and building a new business.
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:
- Working from 9am to 11pm every day for the first two years
- Working 9-to-5, along with up to 20 extra hours as needed
- Running side projects on nights and weekends whenever inspiration hits
- Working from 7am to 7pm daily
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.