5 Common Myths About Entrepreneurs
I can remember hearing my grandparents say that it was some kind of special person who goes out and brings new products to market. They were under the impression that because they (my g-rents) were blue collar, uneducated workers. They could never go and do something like that.
They believed that those kind of people were born that way... just like a good salesman is naturally born to be a good salesman. It’s just the way some people see things. Of course, this brings me to the first myth.
Myth number one: Entrepreneurs are born, not made.
Let me tell you... Entrepreneurs are made. There have been hundreds of studies on the psychological and sociological makeup of entrepreneurs and they are no different than the average person. Whether or not a person becomes an entrepreneur is based upon the environment they grew up and lived in, their life experiences and simple personal choice. Now, entrepreneurs do seem to have certain traits and characteristics in common with each other.
Here is a quick run down of common traits and characteristics:
* Achievement motivated * Optimistic disposition
* Alert to opportunities * Persuasive
* Creative * Promoter
* Decisive * Resource assembler / leverager
* Energetic * Self-confident
* Strong work ethic * Self-starter
* Moderate risk taker * Tenacious
* Is a networker * Tolerant of ambiguity
* Lengthy attention span * Visionary
These traits are developed over a lifetime of experiences and social context. For instance, a person is more likely to become an entrepreneur if one or both of their parents was one or if a close friend became an entrepreneur.
It seems there is a connection between knowing one and becoming one. Apparently, having been exposed to the process of being an entrepreneur, it helps a person overcome the fear and ambiguity of becoming one themselves.
Myth number two: Entrepreneurs are gamblers.
Folks think that people who put everything on the line to bring a new product or service to the marketplace are big risk takers or gamblers. The fact of the matter is they are moderate risk takers, no different than most people.
I think the idea of gamblers comes from the fact that an entrepreneurs job isn’t always as routine as most other people’s jobs. There is a certain uncertainty to the work they do. Successful entrepreneurs calculate every risk they take, usually with research and help if needed. Gamblers go to Vegas.
Myth number three: Entrepreneurs are motivated primarily by money.
First off, everybody who works expects to make money. However, there seems to be this thing with true entrepreneurs and why they start new businesses. Entrepreneurs are builders. The thrill is bringing your ‘baby’ to life and guiding and helping it grow into a masterpiece they can be proud of and admire.
Entrepreneurs have a passion for their business and they have the belief that it will positively influence other people’s lives. Here is a great quote by Ted Turner, “ If you think money is a real big deal…. You’ll be to scared of losing it to get it.”
Myth number four: Entrepreneurs should be young and energetic.
Early stage entrepreneurial activity is usually between the ages of 25 to 34 years old. However, established business ownership peaks among those 45 to 54 years old. Of course it is important to be energetic, but strength is the real measure of an entrepreneur.
When lenders look at the characteristics of a person to lend money for a business start up, they look for experience in the area of the proposed business, skills and ability, a good reputation, a track record of success and a passion for the business.
These are all things that show strength and are generally found in an older person. In fact, a trend these days is early retirees going back to work by starting up their own business.
Myth number five: Entrepreneurs love the spotlight.
Ok... some folks do love the spotlight but for every famous entrepreneur you can name... there are hundreds, if not thousands that you can’t name. One reason for the lack of fame or notoriety is the fact that many of these people are working on proprietary products or services and would prefer to be out of the spotlight. Most entrepreneurs are primarily motivated by passion for the business and not fame and fortune. (ok... fortune may be a motivating factor. :-)
* Information and research for this article came from the text book… Entrepreneurship, Successfully Launching New Ventures, Second Edition 2008, Bruce R. Barringer, R. Duane Irland, Pearson, Prentice Hall Publishing.*
© 2010 Jamie Page
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