It’s one of the most written about words in business-related articles nowadays and it seems every other child wants to be one but what is an entrepreneur? As the definition from Google above suggests, an entrepreneur can be defined as a person who organises and manages any enterprise – usually a business – often with considerable initiative and risk to themselves personally.
Yet, whilst the term entrepreneur can be applied to many, the key element of an entrepreneur is that extra element of unique magic. Like a snowflake, no two entrepreneurs are ever likely to be exactly the same but it is possible to categories certain types of entrepreneur. Many have written about what makes an entrepreneur and this article is itself inspired by the book All-Time Essentials for Entrepreneurs: 100 Things to Know an Do to Make Your Idea Happen by Jonathan Yates which introduces some of the terms below and is a worthy read – but the subject is so far from generic that any ‘science’ is more hocus-pocus than proven theory.
Below is an attempt to highlight the pure breadth of different sorts of entrepreneurs, what makes them tick and why they are still entrepreneurial. There are some very interesting differences that affect the very substance of everything they do in terms of their business or project. So what sort of entrepreneur are you?
Used as a generic term but also more specifically used to describe those who make money out of an opportunity in the market, driven by a passion to make a profit. A wheeler-dealer, del-boy type who can often see “pound-notes” in almost everything they encounter. By their nature, their projects and business ideas are often short-lived and quick-fix solutions nipping in ahead of any competition.
Somebody looking for a change in lifestyle and for whom wealth is not the obvious factor. Motivated by a change in circumstance rather than change in bank balance, the altrepreneur sector has been flooded in recent years by many entering early retirement from their first career and finding they are bored. Also a key model for those seeming a work-life balance, possibly with young children
Another lifestyle-choice driven approach. Stay-at-home parents who look to use their spare time in-between their parenting commitments and the demands of their children, to start-up and build a business, usually home-based for obvious reasons. Craft-related business and marketing industries are heavily represented by mumpreneurs / mompreneurs / dadpreneurs with many creative types finding parenthood still leaves them with time and creative juice to spare.
Individuals, usually motivated by money, ego or both. Achievement, success and the ability to prove themselves on their own merit are often key to them looking to build a business. Usually have a great story to tell, but their balance sheet tells a different story. Often shunned by angel investors who fear the loss of that sole person also means the loss of their investment. By the nature of their business model, extremely hands-on, often at the expense of their social network, creating something of a spiral in terms of working alone.
Somebody excited by the prospect of running their own business but as yet hasn’t. Forever being seen in the hunt for a suitable project or perfect starting point. Probably has a bookshelf full of self-confidence books and biographies of successful business people. Often more in love with the idea of entrepreneursim than being one themselves. Usually to be found in a nice 9-5 role with 30 days holiday per year, private healthcare, season-ticket loan or company car and a whole host of other work related benefits that act as a powerful magnet to the ’employed’ world.
Sometimes seen as the do-gooders or the cardigan brigade, socialpreneurs have been working hard of late to shelve their rather negative image they certainly have amongst the business press. A socialpreneur is committed to using their entrepreneurial skills to remedy various social problems such as in areas of economic deprivation, high unemployment and low education. Ironically, their fantastic work in regions, communities and in nationwide initiatives actually show the great value entrepreneurship skills can provide to society. Many an ultrapreneur (see below) oftens turns towards socialpreneurship over time.
A serial entrepreneur who may build success and then reinvest that immediately into a new business. Not always solely for financial gain – although that helps – but often for the sheer enjoyment and adrenaline buzz of building a new business and the challenge of making it a success. Often much admired, although their constant happiness or desire to keep moving or doing new things can become an irritant to those close to them.
An entrepreneur who starts with nothing and grows a business from only that money that the company itself can generate, using free resources, in-built skills and often a wide-range of favours. Becoming a very popular model in terms of austerity, especially for those with ambitions of becoming an altrepreneur but constrained by existing commitments.
Of course each of those definitions can be loosely applied to almost each and every one of us reading articles like this and each ‘trait’ or ‘style’ has its own positives and negatives that affect how others perceive you. The important thing to note however in terms of entrepreneurship is that it is not a one size fits all career path. Certain characteristics are helpful but not essential even for top-line success. It is all about understanding the risks that being an entrepreneur brings – not only financially but also in your outlook on the world from this point forward. A true entrepreneur’s mindset is different from those comfortable in a routine job with a guaranteed regular pay packet. It’s not for everybody and everybody is certainly not for it, but the entrepreneur spirit it seems is here to stay and growing every day, especially in the online world.