This is my new series about entrepreneurship. Once a month (starting next week), I’ll be profiling creative and inspiring individuals who are building their own businesses. (Look over at my categories list–there’s a new category!)
Sometimes economic crises and personal circumstances come together to make entrepreneurship the best option for building a good life. My husband and I have been entrepreneurs for twenty years. But entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone, and it isn’t easy. It is, however, challenging, exciting and rewarding.
Through the stories of people who have taken on the risks and rewards of entrepreneurship, this series will offer information, inspiration and foresight to people who are dreaming of being their own bosses (you can see the first three of of those stories here, here, and here).
Do you know what makes an entrepreneur? Take this brief true or false quiz.
- Entrepreneurs are more willing to take financial risks than the general population of non-entrepreneurs.
- Entrepreneurs are more money-motivated than the general population.
- Entrepreneurs succeed where other people fail.
- Entrepreneurs are people who follow their bliss.
- Entrepreneurs find ways to avoid problems.
Answers: False, false, false, false, false.
There are many misconceptions about entrepreneurship, which is why 95% of small businesses go out of business within the first two years. If you’re considering being your own boss, this is what you need to know:
- A study conducted by Stanford and Princeton showed that entrepreneurs are more cautious than the general public about financial risks. It’s true that there are unavoidable risks to owning a business, but entrepreneurs practice risk management. They don’t bet/pay more than they can expect to gain; and they don’t pay/bet more than they can afford to lose. They possess well-developed critical thinking skills and they consistently use them.
- Money is not their primary motivation. Here’s what entrepreneurs value over money:
- autonomy and independence;
- personal fulfillment and personal growth;
- service–they want to make things better;
- challenges–they like to identify and solve problems!
- Entrepreneurs fail just as often, probably more often, than everyone else. They don’t, however, give up. So let’s talk about those 95% of new businesses that go out of business. The Stanford and Princeton study show that those people probably weren’t entrepreneurs. They went into business for the primary motive of financial independence (likely it was their only motive). To say that they failed, while the 5% succeeded, is to misconstrue the facts. In the first two years of business, everyone stumbles, falters, encounters seemingly insurmountable problems, and fails to make big profits. Failure and success rates are not the measure of an entrepreneur. Perseverance is. Non-entrepreneurs quit. Entrepreneurs stick it out. Why?
- Do entrepreneurs stick it out because they’ve identified their bliss and they’re pursuing their passion? No. Entrepreneurs do not chase after their own pleasure. They work while the general public watches television. They work because they are driven to develop their ideas. They work because they don’t want to be stuck in a boring job which won’t allow them to explore, discover and grow through life. But work is work, even for entrepreneurs. So what sets them apart from employees who merely put in their hours to collect a paycheck? Entrepreneurs make their work interesting, enjoyable and fulfilling, because…
- Entrepreneurs like challenges. They don’t see problems as “problems.” They see them as opportunities to invent solutions. They are motivated to solve problems because they believe they’re accomplishing something worthwhile. They believe their products and services will in some way make people’s lives better–easier, more rewarding, more fun, more prosperous, healthier or wiser.
Are you surprised about the character of entrepreneurs? And if you are one, what advice to you have to share with those who would like to be self-employed? Or if you would like to be an entrepreneur, what are your most pressing questions?