What is an entrepreneur?
I’ve been writing about entrepreneurship for almost three months now, but the other day Amit said that he doesn’t really feel like an entrepreneur. So I started investigating – are we entrepreneurs, a small business, or just kids playing?
A definition of entrepreneurship that describes why it is so challenging yet at the same time so exciting comes from the Harvard Business School professor Howard Stevenson:
“Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled.” From Inc.com
This certainly describes the risk-taking behaviour inherent in entrepreneurship. It really feels like diving in the deep-end!
The best quote I found about entrepreneurship is by Dick Costolo, the CEO of Twitter:
“The key is to just get on the bike… and the key to getting on the bike… is to stop thinking about ‘there are a bunch of reasons I might fall off’ and just hop on and peddle the damned thing. You can pick up a map, a tire pump, and better footwear along the way.” From Rajesh Setty
We feel like we’re on that bike, peddling away, learning new things as we need them along the way. We know where we’re heading, but we’re not quite sure how many storms and hazards we’ll have to weather along the way.
My version: What is an entrepreneur?
An entrepreneur is someone who takes risks to follow their vision to a difference in the world.
That difference might mean making money for you, helping others through providing a new product or service, or starting a not-for-profit organisation.
There are many types of entrepreneurs, from the person that wants to provide water in developing countries, to technology start-ups, to a dry-cleaner. These entrepreneurs differ in the amount of innovation involved in their businesses and their size.
All entrepreneurs are driven by a desire.
The desire to make art that inspires.
The desire to be independent and provide for your family through your small dry cleaning business.
The desire to use your great programming skills to create something new in the world.
The desire to make a difference in the world, even if that is only to your neighbours.
It is all part of the entrepreneurial spirit.
The only difference between entrepreneurs and others is that entrepreneurs do things. They make things happen. They get off their couch, or away from their computer, and set foot out into the world, into unknown territory, and change something. They take risks – small ones and large ones. They invest their own money and time, they invest other’s money and time.
They need the love and support of those closest to them to get them through. They need courage and the ability to adapt to all the changing circumstances they experience. They need to work really hard. They need to hold on to their dream tight and not let go. They need stamina. They need to ask for help. They need to know that it is very likely they will fail, but they can always start again.
Are we entrepreneurs?
Our business Stick Around exists because Amit made it happen. He wanted to create something new. He wanted to help others learn his language in a fun way. He was inspired by my experiences here in Tel Aviv.
He asked for help from designers and friends, he stayed up till 3am after full days of work to write lists of words. He invested his own money, took risks, and created a new product. He has moments where he is very excited and sees endless opportunities. And he has moments when he feels he doesn’t know enough and he’s done everything wrong. But he keeps going, he dreams, he has new ideas, and he plans to make them all happen in time.
But am I an entrepreneur? I’m helping Amit where I can, all the time being inspired by his ability to follow his dreams till there are piles of Stick Around taking over our living room, as you can see here.
This is what entrepreneurship looks like!
I think his entrepreneurship is rubbing off on me – we are in this adventure together.