What is an Entrepreneur?

I recently read a great article about entrepreneurship in GeekWire about entrepreneurship; featuring Chris DeVore, a general partner at Founders Co-op and the omnipresent Moz CEO Rand Fishkin.

The theme of the article is the common thread that drives entrepreneurs.  The implication is that these two entrepreneurs; whose driving forces are wildly divergent are after all quite similar. Ha, do you really believe that these two guys have any similarities, other than the fact they are business owners? I think not! One’s all about drive and ambition while the other is about worrying that he hasn’t done enough. I don’t see the similarities.

Where do I, as a business owner, fit?  I suppose I kind of was backed into being an entrepreneur. Sometimes we make the jump when there’s no net, when there’s no going back. Sort of like the Art of War. Either retreat or get murdered for abandoning your post or fight for your life. You guessed it, I chose to live; and you know what, it’s worked out pretty well so far. But believe me I’m never satisfied either. From experience I realize it can all go away as fast as it came. That fear is what drives me as an entrepreneur.

Bottom line, entrepreneurs are individuals like everyone else. As a member of Seattle’s Entrepreneur’s Organization (EO), do I feel all members have similar personalities and makeup? I’m sure many members do, but alas I don’t feel the commonalities. In fact, I’ve worked for many entrepreneurs in the past and I certainly didn’t have a lot in common.

Ok get it?  We’re different. What DO we have in common?  I think it’s about shared experiences. Most entrepreneurs can share stories about funding and cash flow worries, employee issues, families that have to deal with our lifestyles, etc etc etc. That’s what he have in common and that’s why I joined EO. Not to co-commiserate, but to help each other deal with issues we all have had common experiences with.

So perhaps you might ask what the qualities you need to be an entrepreneur are? I don’t think I could tell you, but I do think there are many entrepreneur’s out there who have no idea that they can be successful business owners. You just have to make that move. That’s the hardest thing to do. After that, if you make it past your first year you just may find you have the qualities. Or at least, you’ll know where you can find a support group.

Jon Lisbin About the author
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