I don’t know about you, but I always imagine an entrepreneur being able to jump off the proverbial ledge and bravely leap into the unknown. No challenge too big, no cash-flow too evasive and success only at arms reach. This imaginary character is she/he real? Maybe. But for most people I speak to, the thought of becoming an entrepreneur can be scary and rightly so. Everything is unknown and failure is there constantly chomping at the heels ready to swallow an unsuspecting entrepreneur into ruin. This is what my students face when they decided to start their own business and become an entrepreneur.
The good news is that if you feel like this, then you really aren’t alone, being an entrepreneur is so many emotions and feelings rolled up to one. Therefore, spending some time exploring the characteristics of entrepreneur and seeing where you personally fall into the spectrum of entrepreneurial traits can help create some sense of normalcy for you.
This brings us to challenge #1 in our 5 week challenge to start your business
Week 1: Am I an entrepreneur?
If you are a person who wants to organize and operate a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so (definition: Google), than you my friend could be an entrepreneur.
Lamm wrote on Entrepreneur Inc. a piece that really challenged this definition – Stop Calling Everyone an Entrepreneur –They Aren’t . It stated that not every person deserves to be called to entrepreneur, he argued that people who were not disrupters by choice, and making millions after launch should not be labelled entrepreneurs they should be called small business. I get it, you want to create a scale of mega mover and shakers verse the tiny local guy. In my mind if you are risking millions or thousands it is all relative to your starting point and connections – who is to say one is better than the other? They are both equally valid in my mind and each deserve the title – ENTREPRENEUR.
What type of Entrepreneur am I?
An article by Zepeda and Brandal highlighted this dichotomy by labelling the movers and shakers as unicorns and companies interested in modest growth and building something long term as zebras . They point out that a lot of companies and their entrepreneurs are trying to become unicorns or at least, they think they should be (the companies that move, shake and make millions within moments of becoming alive). But what these clever ladies point out is that Zebra’s (the companies who have nice steady growth) have got a whole whack of amazing traits, like they tend to have values such as human rights, supporting the environment and good old empathy. And they suggest that we don’t all have to be unicorns. So, if channeling mythical and or real animals seems like a good way to differentiate your entrepreneurship than go for it. Realize, that there could be a whole wack of other awesome animals, minerals and vegetables that could channel your sense of entrepreneurship power.
Traits of an Entrepreneur
Irrespective of your power animal (mineral or vegetable), all amazing entrepreneurial women and men (that I have worked with or meet) have these four traits in common:
If these traits excite you, than the point of this jibber jabber, is go for it!
The homework for challenge one..
Take the questionnaire from BDC for 10 minutes and find out how you compare to other Entrepreneurs and when you are ready look to take my next challenge “Your Business Idea”. In my next challenge, we will look at exploring your business idea!
When you take the questionnaire look out for the note at the end after you take the test. I love the disclaimer/Note from the BDC website because it is very true….
“This questionnaire was prepared on the basis of research and observations of the characteristics of Canadian entrepreneurs in all industry sectors. On average, entrepreneurs tend to obtain overall results that are higher than those of the general population, and this for all characteristics. Granted, the mere fact of obtaining – or failing to obtain – results in line with those of entrepreneurs is not enough to indicate your potential as an entrepreneur. Many other factors come into play, including your personal circumstances, your milieu, your experience, timing, etc. What these results will do, however, is allow you to compare your answers to those of a group of entrepreneurs, and to note where they are the same and where they are different.”
Important take away from challenge #1
The truth of the mater is, that there other factors at play and timing can be everything. These test don’t tell you to quit your job they should be used to encourage you to naval gaze, day dream and spend a few hours a week on your business idea to make sure you can create a viable business model.
BTW I would love to know what power animal you would pick to represent your entrepreneurship and how you went on the test – leave me your comments!