The common thread is usually boatloads of enthusiasm and optimism. And, believe me, both are absolutely necessary to succeed in one’s own business.
The Making of an Entrepreneur
An example of the “born to it” category are the neighborhood kids who knocked on my door a few weeks ago to ask if I wanted my car washed. They proudly announced that they were both entrepreneurs and inventors.
Charmed to see a couple of enterprising youngsters on my doorstep, I struck up a conversation with them about why they were doing odd jobs for their neighbors.
I learned that they call themselves the Two Musketeers. They were both enthusiastic and optimistic about succeeding & both had immediate goals.
One youngster is earning money to buy a GoPro so he can start his own Google video channel; the other “business partner” wants to upgrade his phone so he can invent video games. He proudly told me that he’s already invented one game, but he needs a better phone to do more.
As longer term goals, they are planning to add additional services like weeding & garage organization to their services list, so they already have expansion plans.
I thought those were pretty well defined goals for a couple of middle-schoolers and promptly hired them.
How Life Circumstances Foster Entrepreneurship
All of this started me ruminating about why people start their own businesses in the first place. I was an early entrepreneur – my neighbors hired me to mow lawns, shovel snow & wash cars when I was a kid and it absolutely helped make me more independent.
I didn’t know then that I would ultimately choose the path of a serial entrepreneur, but I did like the financial ability to buy things independent of my parents’ choices.
My parents were expecting me to be a doctor or a lawyer, so they probably didn’t think I’d be bitten by the entrepreneurial bug either but looking back I think there has always been a part of me that knew I wanted to be my own boss. And a desire for independence is another common trait of “born to it” entrepreneurs.
As a serial entrepreneur, I know why I started the businesses I did. But then I started thinking about commonalities of purpose that motivate entrepreneurs to take the risk of leaping into their own businesses.
I’m not talking about entrepreneurial personality traits. Rather what do entrepreneurs believe will be better in their lives if they are in their own business? What makes it worth the risk?
It’s one of the first questions I ask clients. I ask because in order to help them start or build their business, it’s important for me to understand what energizes them about being an entrepreneur and what motivates them to be in the particular business they own.
I came up with a few common threads.
5 Reasons for Being an Entrepreneur
Over the years I’ve received some interesting & heartfelt answers, but they mostly break down into some variation of these five:
- Independence – not answering to an employer holds out the possibility of being more in charge of one’s own destiny & schedule
- Finances – keeping more of the monetary benefits of one’s work can seem like a much better road toward financial security than working for someone else
- Flexibility – having flexibility in where, when and how one is working is extremely appealing in the very busy lives we all lead
- Necessity – a change in employment or personal circumstances requires finding a new professional path
- Legacy – being part of the next generation in an existing family business combines elements of both familial duty and the opportunity to build on an existing business foundation
Working with Entrepreneurs and Business Startups
There are as many variations and combinations of the above as there are entrepreneurs. I love what I do because I enjoy working with folks who are energetically and enthusiastically working toward creating & building their businesses.
Entrepreneurs embody hope for the future and embrace taking a risk for a goal that is important to them.
I’m grateful to have meet a lot of interesting business owners with a variety of perspectives. They are passionate about what they do and I’m never bored because I work in all types, stages and sizes of businesses.