Entrepreneurs: Born or Made?

businessman born from an egg

If you’re asking whether you should become an entrepreneur, then probably shouldn’t become one.

This was the view of a serial entrepreneur I was chatting with recently. For her, entrepreneurs are born. They are born with an innate restlessness to create. Even if they are in a big, corporate job, they may have one or several side gigs. In our brief conversation, I realized she not only ran a for-profit consulting business, but she also started a non-profit organization and was trying to start a restaurant. When does she get time to sleep (and put on make-up)?

She makes a valid case. If you don’t have an incessant internal drive to start and own your own business, an undeterred sense of optimism, and rock solid persistence, then it’s very difficult to succeed. Entrepreneurship is a lonely journey filled with countless naysayers and unforeseen obstacles.

In this BBC article, a British entrepreneur and business coach even presents a subjective pie chart of entrepreneurship that it’s “70% born, 10% nurture, and 20% trainable.”

I find that a bit hard to swallow. How does entrepreneurship belong to a chosen group of people with special genes? Working with smallholder farmers and small businesses in emerging markets, entrepreneurship is often the result of circumstance. If a large employer is not present in your town / village, then you create your own jobs. If you’re frustrated with how things operate in your life, then you can create your own solution.

Professor / Entrepreneurship Expert Shane Scott shows that it’s not as clear cut. His team of researchers conducted studies on the entrepreneurial activities of 870 pairs of identical twins and concluded that entrepreneurs are 40% born and 60% made.

What does that even mean? Does that mean if you don’t have all the “entrepreneurship genes”, then you can train yourself on the deficient qualities? Does that mean some people may have a higher propensity to succeed at entrepreneurship, but others can achieve the same results with some hard work and training?

Whatever the magic formula is on whether entrepreneurs are born and made, I do think all successful entrepreneurs share a few qualities, which some you may be born with, some you can learn, and some you should just force yourself to have.

Work on your passionJeff Bezos, CEO of AMAZON, introduces new Kindle Fire HD Family and Kindle Paper white during the AMAZON press conference on September 06, 2012 in Santa Monica, California.  AFP PHOTO/JOE KLAMAR        (Photo credit should read JOE KLAMAR/AFP/GettyImages)

Bouncing Back from Failurequote-i-ve-failed-over-and-over-and-over-again-in-my-life-and-that-is-why-i-succeed-michael-jordan-97177

Never give upquote-i-m-convinced-that-about-half-of-what-separates-the-successful-entrepreneurs-from-the-steve-jobs-283988

Do something meaningful5064c6046cdf0166b0ba0235861caf4a

How to find and do work you love

What an inspiring TEDx Talk by Scott Dinsmore! It’s completely worth 18 mins of your time. 

1. Become an expert on yourself: Understand yourself. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, then you’re never going to find it.

2. Do the impossible and push your limits: People don’t do things because they tell themselves they can’t or other people tell them they can’t. Make incremental pushes to prove yourself and others wrong.

3. Surround yourself with inspiring people: “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn. Be with people that inspire possibilities.

Thanks to Everyday Power Blog for directing me to this.