How to Make It as an Entrepreneur

Combining an entrepreneurial spirit with business sense, a recipe for success.


By: Michael Capitano, Staff Writer


At least once or twice, we’ve all had that million dollar idea. Perhaps by chance, perhaps in a fit of inspiration, we identified a gap in the market for a product or service because there was nothing existing to suit our current needs; perhaps we even devised a crude strategy of implementation.

For most of us, all it amounts to is a wish that fades from our minds. No time was taken to develop the idea further, analyze its chances of success or see if someone is already doing it. And that’s okay.

But for some, a great idea can take on a life of its own until it is fully realized—and those people are entrepreneurs.

Can anyone be an entrepreneur? No. No matter how much education or training one receives, it takes a specific type of person with a mindset that is much better suited towards entrepreneurism than conventional employment.

“The age old ‘wisdom’ that entrepreneurs are school-hating, high strung, twenty-something, risk takers is just not enough when we want to understand entrepreneurship,” says Karen Southall Watts, professional coach and consultant for entrepreneurs and small businesses. “There are many accidental entrepreneurs who turn out to be very successful. Just as there are many bright, techie whiz kids who decide they would rather have a regular paycheck and hours. The economic changes since 2008 have led to the rise of legions of freelance and contract workers who are much more successful when they see themselves in an entrepreneurial light and spend less time coveting the 9-5 job that may never return.”

The question is: Is entrepreneurship right for you?

When I sent out the query “Does it take more than business sense to make it big?” to gather quotes for this article, I unwittingly ended up taking a survey of over 100 entrepreneurs. The resounding answer, after sifting through the myriad of responses I received, was that what entrepreneurs have that others don’t consists of a group of correlated factors: courage, resourcefulness, passion, optimism, perseverance, creativity, and so on. There was very little mention of business sense as a necessity.

The answers all point toward the importance of harbouring an entrepreneurial spirit. As we can see, most, if not all of the items listed tend to be inherent traits, rather than learned. In contrast, business sense—defined broadly as having keenness and quickness in understanding and dealing effectively with business opportunities and decisions—can be gained with experience.

Variance in intelligence and circumstances may separate the moguls from the middle of the pack freelancer and entrepreneur, but even small victories can readily be achieved. An entrepreneurial spirit, complemented by business sense, creates a potent combination for success.


What Sets Entrepreneurs Apart

Entrepreneurship has become an increasingly fashionable avenue of work. As such, many people believe that it is easier than ever to become an entrepreneur, and they would be right. It doesn’t mean though that it is the best option for most.

If someone chooses to pursue this path for the wrong reasons (to get rich quick, for fame, to avoid regular employment), failure is likely to ensue. That person is purely driven by external factors that are contingent on success, when there is no guarantee. In fact, entrepreneurs are bound to fail many times more than they are to succeed.

It is those who smile at failure as a step towards realizing their goals and those who give up at any sign of difficulty that marks the line between the entrepreneur and the wannabe.

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