What It Takes To Call Yourself A Real Entrepreneur

Like passion, entrepreneur is such a loosely used word. Nowadays, every madman with a proclivity for risk and affinity for ruling is fast to call himself an entrepreneur. I beg to differ. Entrepreneurs are the ones saving the planet, colonizing space or pledging millions to charity. But fear not, you don’t need to be a billionaire in order to be called an entrepreneur. In fact, you don’t need money at all.

The word "entrepreneur” comes from French, where the verb entreprendre meant "to undertake”. Going back further in time and studying the Sanskrit language, you have anthaprerna meaning "self-motivation”. These two root words are great for describing the entrepreneur: a person who self-willingly undertakes the responsibility of not only himself, but many others.

Definition Of An Entrepreneur

As I said, it’s not about having money or power. Entrepreneurs usually feel uneasy when they reach a certain level and they need to "boss” people around and move their office to the last floor. That’s because entrepreneurship is tied in with the "not having” paradigm: the lack of resources and the inevitable innovation that brings forth.

In fact, one brilliant definition of entrepreneurship comes from Harvard Business School Professor, Howard Stevenson:

"Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled."

So basically, entrepreneurship is like daydreaming about a Ferrari and never waking up from your dream until you get it. It’s about assuming your present conditions and envisioning a better future, regardless of how things are now.

That’s not to say entrepreneurs are selfish creatures and only think about themselves. Business Magnate Richard Branson put it best in his linkedin article:

"…to me, being an entrepreneur simply means being someone who wants to make a difference to other people’s lives."

So, the entrepreneur is also the person whose job it is to create a better overall quality and standard of life in society. What could be nobler than that?

Noble Career

An entrepreneur can do this by creating jobs, by advancing science, by coming up with solutions to the world’s various problems. A real entrepreneur is not the person seeking to fulfill his selfish goals. Every man aims to improve his life, but entrepreneurs, by creating businesses, knowingly or unknowingly, add value not only to their life, but also to the lives of many more human beings aside himself (or herself).

The Meta-Entrepreneur

While they do add value to people’s lives, spiritual leaders, inventors and philosophers are not entrepreneurs, per se. They add little to no value to the current world. Their advice is often theoretical, not empirical. As such, their work’s practical value isn’t improving the lives of others.

They are what you would call meta-entrepreneurs, offering guidance and information for the future generations of entrepreneurs. Their role is very important when analyzing the world through the ages. The Philosopher Socrates, working as a meta-entrepreneur, might have indirectly influenced far greater changes than any single entrepreneur could have.

A meta-entrepreneur is creating the informational platform for other entrepreneurs to draw upon and add real, practical value to others. But don’t mistake the two. An entrepreneur is the hands-on incarnation of merely theoretical principles offered by the meta-entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurship Is NOT A Job

It may be argued that any man, by doing his job thoroughly and diligently, is adding value to other people lives, improving the world. That’s correct. Professions such as doctors, healers, teachers and even politicians are inevitably creating a better quality and standard of life for society as a whole.

Nevertheless, no doctor, teacher or politician can be called an entrepreneur. None of them undertake the responsibilities of other people. They work within the confines of their jobs. They have a job. They follow rules – rules created by entrepreneurs or meta-entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurship is not a job. An entrepreneur creates the framework for improving his life and the lives of others. That’s a state of mind, not a job. I think Media Mogul Ted Turner summed it up nicely:

"My son is now an ‘entrepreneur.’ That’s what you’re called when you don’t have a job."

Are you an entrepreneur?

In depends… in what sense. Creating a family absolutely qualifies you (considering our definition) to at least be called a "social entrepreneur”. As long as you take care of your family and make sure its members are respectable and working citizens, you’ve created a brilliant nucleus for society’s advancement.

But in the more practical, economic sense, you are an entrepreneur only if you’ve created a business which adheres to at least one of these rules:

  • It creates jobs.
  • It adds value by selling good products or services.
  • It creates more wealth, not only for yourself.

And the worst part about it is that you can’t really call yourself an entrepreneur if you’ve had such a business in the past, but went bankrupt or sold it off. Being an entrepreneur is more than a job and it surely doesn’t grant you its title for life, like being a doctor does.

You either are one in the present moment or you’re not.

How To Be One

But if you’re not an entrepreneur now, what do you actually need to become one?

Well, according to billionaire Richard Branson, you just need to an powerful enough idea and a desire for fun:

"When making a start in business with Student Magazine, I didn’t even know what an entrepreneur was. All that interested me was starting a publication to protest against the Vietnam War – and having some fun along the way. If that meant becoming an entrepreneur, then that was fine too."

Can it really be that easy? Yes, absolutely.

Don’t Forget To Dream

Entrepreneurship is just a race to catch up with your dreams. I get called a serial entrepreneur a lot. I really don’t feel like one. I think the moment you call yourself an entrepreneur, that label draws power away from you. You stop being hungry.

As I said, entrepreneurship isn’t a job you get up and go to. It’s not a title. It’s a state of pursuit,, constant pursuit for your dreams beacuse you want those dreams to become a reality right? So you need to be an entrepreneur.

Lastly, I’ll leave you with this from the great Walt Disney:

All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.

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