If you are successful in an established profession, people will put that down to years of advanced education and experience. If you are a great athlete or a great musician, they will put that down to natural talent and dedicated training. But if you are a successful entrepreneur, whose source of accomplishment is not particularly known to all, therefore you are often regarded with suspicion.
Making things happen, taking initiatives, and doing things ‘out of the box’ are the ways entrepreneurs think. The best way they portray their lives are in rather colourful terms. They prefer to be known as entrepreneurs and not business owners. They are employers who detest being employees, as they develop business(es) and business model(s). They are hunters; they hunt opportunities, they do not wait for opportunities to find them just as hunters do not wait for games to come to them. They are deeply immersed in their love for what they do and their determination to succeed at it, no matter the consequence that may be involved.
Entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes, religions, backgrounds, skills and qualifications. They are represented in every commercial and not-for-profit sectors. They are basically innovators but in a business sense. They are inspired, usually nimble, resourceful, quick to analyse and resilient, individuals who are always willing to work hard to achieve their goals as well as actualize their dreams. They are persistent, persuasive, innovative and, above all, courageous.
As entrepreneurs, many define themselves by what they think differentiates them from others. They see themselves as creative individuals who make a difference to the world around them. They are people with enormous passion for making things happen. They have obsession for creating new businesses/grounds. They crave to bring something especially distinct, to the marketplace. They enjoy bringing their products and services to the customers and clients. Their incentive comes from the fact that they created something that made a difference, employed people and made customers and clients satisfactory and in high spirits as well.
Entrepreneurs go into a business based on pure guts, instincts, passion and energy. For some, some ventures may work for a while and often they will sell them off and move on to their next big idea. When some of their other ventures fail, they simply put failure behind them and look around for the next novel idea. Some never do find a long-term venture but just keep moving from one business to another. Others finally do find what suits them and settle down just in time for the long haul. Some others find their feet only after a period of continuous searching.
There are other individuals who start their first venture(s) as an older person. They acquired experience as a corporate executive or through university education and often start a business by supplying goods and services into the same industry in which they were previously employed. Their motivation to go out on their own usually comes from seeing the opportunity to provide a higher quality product or service to customers. Sometimes they start their business because of the availability of business team that have worked or studied together with them in the same industry. Some get the opportunity to buy into the business they are in, while others buy into an existing business within their industry.
Some companies got started by corporate executives who got tired of being in the corporate life and yearn to do their own thing or to have more control over their lives. Often, they begin their entrepreneurial career through chance or because they see an opportunity and decide to jump out of their safe and secure job and have a go at it. You often hear of middle-aged executives who have been retrenched and given a hefty sum as their gratuity who start their own business. Some just fall into it.
More often than not, entrepreneurs do not necessarily see what they do as an occupation; they see it as a lifestyle. Some people work to live and others live to work; entrepreneurs belong in the latter group. They could choose to become corporate executives but most of them admit that they would not last at it. They could choose not to work so hard but most of them would not be satisfied with not putting 110% effort into what they do. Once they have had a taste of life as an entrepreneur, most of them would find it hard to stop.
They have great ability to easily see business opportunities. Some entrepreneurs have an uncanny ability to see a business opportunity in everything around them. It is as if they have a special radar device built into their senses that hones in on a situation where they can see a set of favourable circumstances. If you were also an entrepreneur you might see the same opportunity given the same situation, but often, opportunities are context-based and depend very much on the knowledge and skills of the person. This can make it even more difficult for another person to see how you reached your decision.
Entrepreneurs talk about business. They see their business as their hobby and they derive their pleasure from being in business just like others get pleasure from sport or going to a movie Entrepreneurs put their career and fortunes on the line and they are not personally responsible for the livelihoods of those they employ. It is the responsibility of the‘corporation’ but it is not that of the entrepreneur. Corporations are faceless. They have no personality. Entrepreneurs see themselves as the business and the business as part of themselves.
Thus, talking about business is just routine for them. Entrepreneurs are never unemployed; they are just between ventures! What you find when you are part of their community is that they will use every opportunity to get feedback on their new venture. They love to network and use their contacts to refine their business concepts and to move it to the next stage. The entrepreneur never leaves work mentally, even if they do so, physically. Sacrifice is not unusual in a start-up business and most entrepreneurs are prepared to undertake whatever is necessary to make the business successful. However, this comes at a price and often; it is family that usually pays the price. Although some relationships don’t get to survive the waiting on their breadwinner to catch some big break (i.e. become successful) experience, other relationships have become strengthened especially through perseverance of the family members.