Are Entrepreneurs Born or Made?

by Krantcents · 26 comments

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Are entrepreneurs born or made?  There are so many college classes teaching entrepreneurship, I thought I would ask the question.  See I grew up in an entrepreneur incubator!  Both my parents had thriving businesses and did not have the benefit of any college classes in entrepreneurship.  I think if you interviewed them, they would tell you they didn’t know where they got the skills.  They just followed their instincts and went for it.

Education/Experience

If you do not get the skills from education, you are left with experience.  In my parent’s case, they both grew up in entrepreneurial families.  Their parents either had a retail store, selling skills or manufacturing skills.  My father went to Paris to become a tailor.  He immigrated to the United States and eventually opened a ladies coat factory.  My mother followed him ten (10) years later to marry him and opened a retail store within a year after coming to the United States.  They never thought about failure.

Confidence

They did not spend a lot of time thinking or planning these businesses, instead they assessed the risks and did it anyway.  Yes, they were risk takers, but they knew that they were doing because of experience.  Not personal experience, but experience within the family.  Their parents were business owners too.  Another reason to raise the question is entrepreneurs born or made?  They told me there was so much opportunity in those days because of all the immigrants.

Timing

Demand was strong for products and services!  My father started his business right after World War I when the country was growing and we soon entered The Roaring Twenties.  My mother started her retail store at the worst possible time right after the birth of my older brother and during The Great Depression.  Some may say it was bad timing, but others would say it was the best time to start a business.  The business flourished because it was supported by the neighborhood and the business lasted about twenty-five (25) years.

Risks

Tolerance for risk is a key element for entrepreneurship!  Opportunities occur often if you are aware of them.  Your tolerance for risk determines what opportunities you are willing to take.  Personality traits such as determination, perseverance, and passion usually get you through the difficulties.  Are these learned or natural skills?  Can you learn to be a risk taker?  I think success encourages risk taking.  The more success you have taking risks the more you are willing to take risks.

Discipline/Determination

Many people are concerned about failing which in many cases stops you from trying.  Failure was not an option for my parents!  Before social media, you had old fashioned networking through friends and relatives.  There were a lot of people helping my parents succeed, but it was their hard work and determination that made them successful.  Work ethics or soft skills trump your fears!  They literally worked seven (7) days a week to make these businesses successful.

Passion

Passion is an overused word when it comes to entrepreneurship.  Do you really need to love your work to put in the extra hours?  I think you must enjoy what you are doing in order to be good at it.  You have to be willing to do whatever is necessary to make your business successful.  Success will ignite passion and who doesn’t like success?   My parents were successful!  Did they love what they did?  I know that enjoyed success and certainly parts of their business.  Did I love my businesses?  I enjoyed may parts of my businesses, but nothing is 100%

Final Thoughts

We can debate this, but most entrepreneurs have some of the basic characteristics or they won’t succeed in business.  Some of the most important are Discipline, determination, confidence and risk taker.  If you are missing these basic traits, you probably do not want to have your own business anyway.  Can you learn the other traits or skills?  I think you can learn accounting or how to cook!  You can also partner with people who have the missing skills or experience.  Consulting with professionals can bridge some gaps too. No matter what type of entrepreneur you are, you will be aware that cashflow is critical to your business. Get it right the first time with this handy guide to business finance from Hitachi Capital UK (PLC). If you really feel that your company has a true potential to grow enter the Inspired Cashflow competition to get access to business funding free of charge for 12 months.  Are entrepreneurs born or made?

Photo by:  dpstyles

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{ 20 comments }

Lance @ Money Life and More September 3, 2012 at 8:28 am

I think the fear of failure was the biggest thing that stopped me from trying to start my blog. Luckily I got over that and things have been going great since. I think there is a bit of both born and made depending on the person. For some reason I have always wanted to own my own business though so maybe mine was born?

Krantcents September 3, 2012 at 8:40 am

You can learn, reinforce or refine your skills, but you still need that inner desire to become an entrepreneur. I think fear can be alleviated if you take small steps.

maria@moneyprinciple September 3, 2012 at 1:01 pm

I believe that entrepreneurs ought to have features of character that are ones we are born with. But this is not enough – these have to be developed and given opportunities to blossom. I am not sure, however, whether ‘crisis’ enables already existing traits to become prominent or such to be developed.

Krantcents September 3, 2012 at 1:09 pm

I believe that entrepreneurs show their personality traits even when they work for others. They generally are self motivated, performance oriented, and require little or no supervision. They may be other skills or traits, but the entrepreneurial person does not need to work for someone. There can be a laundry list of what triggers the circumstances that pushes one into their own business. It could be job loss, product or service idea or something else.

AverageJoe September 4, 2012 at 1:11 pm

I think even those basic skills are learned….just not in school but from watching the examples of parents and influencers in the home. I think aptitude is overrated and believe can teach ourselves to become entrepreneurs.

Krantcents September 4, 2012 at 2:06 pm

I agree some of the skills can be learned , but certain skills such self-motivation, drive and entrepreneurial spirit must be present. Something has to ignite those characteristics or you won’t succeed.

Brent Pittman September 4, 2012 at 1:52 pm

An entrepreneur is someone who starts a new business or non-profit for that matter from scratch. I believe anyone can be taught the skills needed to start a business, if they are willing to learn. I do think some people have a natural tolerance for risk, which comes in handy starting a new venture.

Krantcents September 4, 2012 at 2:08 pm

I believe you can learn anything you really want to do, but you still need certain skills to be a good entrepreneur. Circumstances could stimulate someone to become one, perhaps with partners.

Kendra L September 4, 2012 at 9:26 pm

Being born and raised in an entrepreneurial family my thinking is its a mixture of both nature and experience, especially if your parents let you participate in the business as you are growing up. Some of my siblings had businesses and some didn’t. I had a business with my husband for about 5 years and then we closed it down and moved on to different work.
Kendra L

Krantcents September 5, 2012 at 6:49 am

Nature or nurture is certainly the question! I think certain skills is necessary such as drive or self motivation, but experience or training can bridge the rest.

Untemplater September 4, 2012 at 10:07 pm

I think there are certainly characteristics that are born, but sometimes the person may not realize they have the skills in them until they come across situations that are made.

It’s good that colleges are offering more classes on entrepreneurship. I don’t remember seeing any when I was in school.

Krantcents September 5, 2012 at 6:51 am

When I was in college everything was focused on big business. Entrepreneurship can be a major in many colleges now.

Roshawn @ Watson Inc September 7, 2012 at 1:33 am

It is hard to teach some of these character attributes, and some do seem more inclined to succeed as entrepreneurs than others. That said, I don’t know if I feel as if it is impossible to teach those character attributes, so maybe its both (noting that some are naturally better suited for entrepreneurship than others).

Krantcents September 7, 2012 at 6:53 am

How would you teach drive, self motivation or judgment? I think you can learn a lot of the necessary skills, but probably not those.

101 Centavos September 8, 2012 at 6:26 pm

No question that having good role models makes the process easier. Sure, there are examples of people that break through incredible hardships early on in life to achieve success, but better to have a leg up early on.

Krantcents September 9, 2012 at 6:50 am

Nature or nurture? If the role models are parents, is entrepreneurship genetic? Certain characteristics are natural vs. learned. Things like drive, motivation and self motivation have to be present to be effective.

Denise Gabbard September 9, 2012 at 4:03 pm

I vote for nature— having finally broken away from working by someone else’s rules, I knew I always wanted to. I remember being at work daydreaming about having my own business, especially after the Internet became so big. It took a while to figure it out, but it has been one of the best things I have ever done, and is getting better all the time:)

Krantcents September 10, 2012 at 8:45 am

Good for you! The internet has increased opportunities for many businesses. I see it as a low cost entry into a small business.

Buck Inspire September 13, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Just clarifying, you are saying entrepreneurs are born right? Drive, motivation, and judgment can’t be taught, but I believe everyone has some of this in them. In my case, these things are finally being awaken after being dormant all these years because I was playing it safe. I was the ultimate company guy, but am finally seeing the benefits of being an entrepreneur.

Krantcents September 13, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Everyone may have them, but not everybody uses them. I don’t think you can teach someone to find their drive or motivation. They have to find something that may make them to find them. I find that most people show these traits somewhere other than business first. It may be in academics, sports, personal life or somewhere.

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