Entrepreneurs are people who choose to create their own businesses, rather than work for other people's. This comes with significant risk, but also entitles the entrepreneur to all the rewards of their work and ingenuity. Starting a business offers the business owner a lot of flexibility and self-determination at the cost of increased responsibility. As most new businesses fail within the first few years, entrepreneurs are typically willing to take on more risk than the average person and often end up working significantly harder than an employee - especially in those crucial early years.
What is an entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurs do not fit neatly in any one box. They are free-thinkers and risk-takers, but beyond that their beliefs, values and personalities come in every shape and size. Often entrepreneurs create businesses that reflect their personality or life experience in areas that are of interest to them.
Anybody starting a new business without a fallback has to be willing to put their career and financial security on the line in the hopes of creating something great. For this reason, entrepreneurship requires passion and genuine interest in building a fantastic business.
What makes an entrepreneur successful?
There is not a simple answer to the question of what makes an entrepreneur succeed. Certainly, hard work is essential, as is a willingness to learn, to build a team and delegate responsibility. Most successful entrepreneurs are intelligent and demonstrate strong strategic thinking skills, but the role of luck cannot be understated. Many great business ideas have failed because they entered the market at the same time as a better funded competitor or they missed a crucial opportunity. Similarly, ideas that may not seem as compelling in their infant form have seen good luck in the early days that allowed them to survive until they could improve their product or service.
Who in the public spotlight are known as successful entrepreneurs?
Bill Gates: having founded Microsoft, Bill Gates often appears at the top of the Forbes' Rich List with a net worth higher than the GDP of a small country. Bill's early entrepreneurial efforts were in the infant computing market, which he eventually came to lead.
Steve Jobs: any mention of Bill Gates should be followed by his biggest rival in the computing industry, Steve Jobs, founder of Apple. While the two entrepreneurs started out competing in the same space, they eventually found their own areas to dominate.
Richard Branson: from his early days running a small magazine, to his efforts running a music label, and eventually establishing a global brand that handles everything from air travel to finance, Branson has had his fingers in everything. The archetypal risk-taker, Richard Branson embodies the spirit of entrepreneurship even today.
Mark Zuckerberg: from humble beginnings as a Harvard dropout, Zuckerberg has become a household name after founding the social media platform Facebook which has almost 2 billion monthly active users. Drawing a comparison between charismatic risk-takers like Richard Branson and conscientious subject-experts like Mark Zuckerberg gives a good idea of the huge variance in entrepreneurial personalities.