Are you wondering what it means to be an entrepreneur? Asking that question to a bunch of people and expecting the exact answer is a little like asking everyone to spell entrepreneur fast and expecting the same answer…it’s not going to happen.
Even the Wikipedia page for entrepreneurs contains several different definitions of the word, according to others, over the past couple of centuries.
So today, I thought I’d share with you definitions from some of today’s most notable online entrepreneurs. I’m at New Media Expo this week, and I had the chance to do a one-question interview with several entrepreneurs.
Here’s their answer to the question, “what does it mean to be an entrepreneur”?
What it Means to Be an Entrepreneur
1. Pat Flynn
An entrepreneur is someone who takes control of the situation. Not necessarily just working for yourself but making your own decisions to help you progress.
Being an entrepreneur is not just about business and not just about money. But it’s about your goals and happiness, and life.
It’s about having the freedom to explore options you may not be able to explore while working for someone else.
2. Stephanie Sammons
To me, an entrepreneur is someone with passion, vision, confidence, and the willingness to constantly adapt to change to successfully serve his or her unique market.
3. Michael Pruser
An entrepreneur doesn’t want to put up with other people’s shit all day and wants to work for himself. That’s it!
4. Leslie Samuel
An entrepreneur, to me, is someone who creates something that can help others to accomplish their goals. And in turn, they are making it into something that earns an income for themselves and others.
So it’s someone passionate about helping others and creating opportunities for them to do something that helps them to accomplish their goals.
5. John Lee Dumas
An entrepreneur finds a niche that hasn’t been filled or finds space out there or a pain out there that hasn’t been solved yet.
And takes it upon themselves to solve that pain, to solve that niche, and to really create those products or services that they know they would want and that’s not out there yet, but they would want to see out there.
And when your passions align with that, it makes it all the more worthwhile to fill that pain, that niche.
6. Todd Tresidder
Two key characteristics define entrepreneurs.
- They are good at seeing how problems can be converted into profitable business opportunities.
- And they are very good at implementing that vision.
Many people have great ideas and are good at getting things done. The rare individual can do both, which is why quality entrepreneurs are handsomely rewarded.
There is a sense of “embracing the adventure” within them. Entrepreneurs are excited by their vision and see the business implementation process as exciting.
Entrepreneurs need that excitement to feel fully engaged, like a shark must swim to breathe. The box-like confines that define most traditional employment are suffocating to entrepreneurial creativity.
That is why most business innovation occurs outside the confines of large corporations.
7. Carrie Smith
An entrepreneur is a person who’s driven, beyond all rational or common sense, and dedicated to their purpose in life. They can see what others can’t and find ways to make it happen. They change the world through their beliefs, which are evident in the products and services they create.
8. David Winchell
An entrepreneur is something you do not call yourself. If somebody calls you an entrepreneur, you can then tell them why you are one. “Entrepreneurs” take risks that regular people can’t stomach because their risk tolerance is too low.
9. Jeff Rose, CFP
I believe an entrepreneur is willing to take risks and make opportunities for themselves by identifying their strengths and passions and how they can take those passions and create solutions for people and derive a revenue stream from them.
10. Caleb Wojcik
An entrepreneur is both a starter and a finisher. They aren’t afraid of putting themselves and their ideas out there, taking risks or moving forward. But an even more important attribute of a successful entrepreneur is the ability to finish (e.g., launching a product, quitting at the right time, etc.).
11. Jon Olsen
An entrepreneur takes control of a situation to help positively affect the outcome. Most people associate the term entrepreneur with business owners. Non-business owners can also be entrepreneurs.
For example, a member of an organization that doesn’t just follow the status quo but takes action to advance the organization further is an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs aren’t afraid to take risks and step outside their comfort zone.
12. Melanie Nelson
To me, an entrepreneur is someone who likes to create things. We can’t stop thinking of ideas — how to improve something, create something, and re-imagine something.
We stay up late because our brains buzz; we make voice notes on our phones so we don’t forget disjointed ideas that will come together later.
Entrepreneurs appreciate the fear and uncertainty of taking on a project that may not work and know that the fear and uncertainty make the successes meaningful.
13. Chris Ducker
Entrepreneur wants to stick it to the man and be their boss. It’s somebody that lives to create, to make a difference, and to build and start things.
For me, I’m generally a crappy manager. But I have excellent managers that I can work with. I don’t look at myself as managing my managers. I see myself working with them; they do all the heavy lifting for me.
What I genuinely enjoy doing is starting things up, marketing things, and building things. That, for me, is what an entrepreneur is.
It’s somebody who can’t sit still. Somebody that has an idea a minute.
When was the last time you had an idea for a domain name in the shower and stopped the shower mid-shower from going and registering? Someone that wants to create change and rock and roll.
The 3 Characteristics of Entrepreneurs
Those were some excellent and diverse answers. But three significant terms pop out at me:
- taking a risk,
- putting in the work, and
- solving pain.
An entrepreneur is what I call myself, and entrepreneurialism (yes, that’s a word) is something that I’m sure you guys understand as a way to fast-forward your progress in achieving financial freedom. That’s certainly been the case for many of these entrepreneurs.
So now I want to hear from you. What is an entrepreneur?