If you don’t know by now, I’m huge on business education. I see (almost) everything through the lens of business. From return on investments vs. opportunity costs -- for things like going to the gym vs. binge watching 6 seasons of Private Practice.
The social media space is deviating away from some of the most critical concepts of business. I’m not suggesting we return stone ages and ignore any forward progression -- but some wheels do not need to be reinvented.
I market largely to “entrepreneurs” because that's the sexy buzzword being used -- rather than an always appropriate association. But since I have you here, I am going to teach you what it is for once and for all. In certain spaces the difference still matters, and I don’t want you to risk your credibility because social media set you up.
I’m here to help set a few things straight. Before we can work on what an entrepreneur is, let’s start with what it isn’t.
The real deal on Entrepreneurship
Most people would agree that an entrepreneur is a person who has started his or her own business. But that basic definition barely scratches the surface. The problem is all the media hype. Not only is entrepreneurship glorified, its glorification is rooted in a misunderstanding.
Myth 1. It’s used to disguise circumstances.
I'll just say it -- some people are in between jobs, and would rather cop to being a "self-employed entrepreneur" than disclose that they are currently exploring the job market.
Do you boo boo, but just be honest. While entrepreneurship is sometimes born of the most dire and desperate circumstances. It's not a fail-safe or face-saving claim. It is actually quite the opposite. In reality its risky business and sometimes your vision is so far ahead of its time, people laugh at you before taking you seriously.
Myth 2. Just because you are obtaining work outside and/or quit your 9-5 does not make it an entrepreneurial venture. These can be a little harder to catch.
Entrepreneurship is not equivalent to any of the following activities:
- Inheriting and/or running an existing businesses (family owned, co-owned)
- Working for other businesses or entrepreneurs for a salary
- Being a commission agent (presently manifesting itself in industries like health/wellness as Itworks, Herbalife, TLC etc.)
- Selling already available goods or services as a franchisee or dealership (drop-shipping etc)
DISCLAIMER: Before I go ruffling feathers. Just because these ventures do not fit the textbook definition of entrepreneurship, does not detract from their validity as a business venture. There is still a great deal of flat out business savvy that go into running all of these business. Although not entrepreneurial ventures, some owners even utilize principles of entrepreneurship to differentiate themselves and generate success.
It's still business. It's still valid. It still takes time, effort and energy.
Myth 3. Any business owner is an entrepreneur. This myth-busting needs a bit more explanation.
To keep it simple, lets start with the "Small Business Owner."
The small business owners drive is to solve a problem (a pain point) and provide this solution to their customers. Their goal is to be of service to customers over and over again. It’s not about finding job security; it’s about building something that creates it.
Sounds like what most consider an entrepreneur to be doesn’t it? That’s because it is an entrepreneur, less a few critical characteristics...
Defining an Entrepreneur
Let's try this one:
The capacity and willingness to develop, organize and manage a business venture along with any of its risks in order to make a profit. The most obvious example of entrepreneurship is the starting of new businesses. (businessdictionary.com)
While it may be hard to define exactly what it is to be an entrepreneur. It's easy to define what it takes. Entrepreneurs are visionaries.
- They are big thinkers who come up with solutions to customer problems that have not yet been tested or proven.
- They are willing to try new things and take on new challenges without immediate evidence that these are things their customers want or need.
- They often start small and scale big.
- They tend not to be "attached" to their ventures. Often moving on to their next disrupting idea, while seeking options to merge and/or be bought out of their current one.
So, which are you? Small business owner? Entrepreneur?
One of the most important things you can do is figure out what exactly what you are, and what you want to be. It's also fine to not know yet. If you are still not sure how to define yourself, here are some great articles for continued reading:
- Are You a Small-Business Owner or an Entrepreneur? The Difference Is Important.
- Entrepreneur or Small Business Owner: Which One Are You?
The Bottom Line
There really is no single definition to define an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurial ventures come a dime a dozen, full of variety and dependent on any number of external factors.
Despite this, one thing is for certain: while embarking on an entrepreneurial or small business career path of being your own boss is exciting – it takes work. But if its your calling, it's totally worth it!
Entrepreneur? Small Business Owner? Whatever you decide, get all you ducks in the row by visiting the Aspire Guides for the business plan outline. Get access now buy joining the Insiders mailing list below!