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.