Are You a Wantrepreneur or an Entrepreneur?
After having a tremendous breakthrough in my mindset about my business this month, I thought I should write a post to help people figure out the answer to the question: Are you a wantrepreneur or an entrepreneur? But, I just realized that literally everyone and their dog has written an article on entrepreneurs vs wantrepreneurs.
So, why do I want to write this article, still?
Because a story is worth telling. I write a lot of listicles, and I was going to make this a listicle, but since almost all of the above links are to listicles, I think that genre has been overdone for the question: Are you a wantrepreneur or entrepreneur?
My Entrepreneurial Journey
I have embodied what many of these lists call a wantrepreneur for many years. I look back now and embrace it with passion. Because for me, being a wantrepreneur means that I try, I work, and I learn. But, things don’t always go the way I want them.
You can read more about my personal journey with multiple businesses on my LinkedIn Profile. Long story, short, I have done 13 different businesses or freelance-type work in my adult years. Add to that my 8 different jobs I have held, and I am one busy fella.
For the purpose of this blog, my consulting, and your own sanity, I have a simple definition of a wantrepreneur. If you are working on a business but making less than you would earn picking rock in the fields of southern Idaho, you are a wantrepreneur. Working includes the time you spend thinking about starting a business because thinking is often the biggest hurdle in business-life.
If you just say you are an entrepreneur but don’t even think about starting a business, you are just a want. Sorry.
It was not until this last year that I moved from my definition of a wantrepreneur to an entrepreneur.
Wantrepreneur: You Earn Less Than Burger-Flipping High School Dropouts
I remember interviewing for a McDonald’s job a couple of years ago and they asked me if I could handle earning minimum wage and I laughed at them. After working for overseas content mills at $4 an hour, I would be happy to work for $7.25 an hour. Delighted, in fact.
Sadly, I didn’t get the job.
Entrepreneur: You Start to Figure Things Out
Now, I know that there are plenty of entrepreneurs who set the standard for entrepreneur as someone who builds and exits businesses. While I respect their vastly superior build-and-exit experience to my scratch-for-sustenance experience, I disagree with their definition.
To get a little nerdy, entrepreneur was coined by a French economist, Jean-Baptiste Say, in 1800 in response to an omission he saw in the classic The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith. In this definition, Say crafted together the word to mean one who undertakes. He used it to describe the type of business person who undertakes a venture, assumes an unknown amount of risk, and hopes for a profitable return. (Investopedia)
These three parts of an entrepreneur mean that, by my definition, a wantrepreneur is also an entrepreneur. They just have not reached a point where their ventures are able to sustain them.
If you are actually doing something towards your business, have taken some amount of risk, and are hoping and working towards a return on that risk, then you are an entrepreneur.
Even if the only capital risked is the time you put into creating it.
So, to answer the question, are you a wantrepreneur or an entrepreneur, the answer is three questions. Because all the best answers to questions are more questions.
Have you started a business venture?
Have you taken risk for an undetermined outcome or result? This means you are not creating gadgets or raising calves. Those are easily determined businesses (manufacturing and agriculture). Now, creating new gadgets for raising calves faster is an entrepreneurial venture, because of the added risk of creating something new.
Have you a hope of profit? If your entrepreneurial ventures keep bringing low to no profits, consider yourself a wantrepreneur. And keep trying. If your entrepreneurial ventures are bringing more than you can earn in an American entry level job, then congratulations! By my arbitrary, etymological, historical, and contentious definition, you are an entrepreneur!
Thanks for reading.
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