No disrespect to my friends at Alcoholics Anonymous but I’m thinking it’s time people like me had their own support group.
Hello. My name is David Noah and I’m an entrepreneur.
A friend of a friend recently asked me what I did for a living. I told her what I tell everyone: I’m an entrepreneur. “So you're in-between jobs?,” she asked without blinking.
I wasn’t offended in the least bit. That’s because I am an entrepreneur. We get rejected and discounted all the time.
This beautiful word that has been around for nearly a thousand years has somehow devolved.
It’s obvious the word is overused and misused. Like crazy. But so are words like “Christian” and “Muslim”. We use these words because, well ... they still have meaning.
You can’t be kind of pregnant and you can't be kind of entrepreneurial either. You are an entrepreneur, or you're not.
There’s nothing entrepreneurial about being entrepreneurish. Entrepreneurish people dabble. They pose. They like the idea of being an entrepreneur but shudder at the idea of covering payroll on their credit card.
Entrepreneurish people exploit the ideas of others while using other people’s money. Which clearly isn't entrepreneurship; it is opportunism at its worst.
Back in the 13th century, the root-word for entrepreneur surfaced as a verb. The word “entreprendre” meant the act of doing something. Not a bad start.
Three hundred years later, the word evolved into a noun and became commonly associated with people known for undertaking new business ventures.
By the 18th century, economists had a very specific idea of what it meant to be an entrepreneur.
The essence of the word became inextricably linked with two characteristics: (1) taking calculated risks of new, unproven ventures — without any assurances of ever deriving profits; and (2) creating value for others — by envisioning new forms of human progress through the repurposing of underutilized resources.
When I think of what it means to be an entrepreneur, I gravitate towards a few undeniable traits found in people that have built things from scratch with their own money and often without the moral, political or financial support of society.
Real entrepreneurs possess:
• A clear vision of what’s possible
• An intense passion for seeing their vision become reality
• A willingness to sacrifice their financial gain and social standing
• A track record for seeing the things they envisioned become reality
• A body of work that inspires other people to become entrepreneurs
Being an entrepreneur has been a bitter-sweet journey for me. I’m not sure I even had a choice.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur or not, leave a comment if you think I’ve missed the mark. If you agree with me, be nice to the next entrepreneur you meet. These folks are up there with school teachers and coaches in my book and we tend to leave the world better than we found it.
That’s doing something.