I don’t want to step on any toes here, but self-proclaimed entrepreneurs practically grow on trees these days. I can’t read a Twitter bio, a LinkedIn profile, or a blog post without seeing someone refer to themselves as an “[insert industry here] entrepreneur”! It drives me crazy. In my opinion, you don’t earn the right to use that title until you’ve actually accomplished your initial business goal. You shouldn’t toss it around just because you like the way it sounds.
Simply referring to yourself as an entrepreneur or an innovator isn’t going to cut it…and it doesn’t automatically make you one. Without evidence and/or a proven track record, you don’t have the option of calling yourself as such.
You’re probably not a genuine entrepreneur if you embody these three attributes:
1. You don’t have a business model or a single customer. If you’re armed with nothing more than a brilliant business idea, then you’re not an entrepreneur…you’re a person with an idea. Don’t get down on yourself, though; that’s not bad at all. Every industry pioneer started with an idea of some sort, so you’ll be on track if you work hard enough and develop that into a concrete business.
2. You refuse to take risks. By definition, an entrepreneur is a risk-taker. Do you know what happens when you shy away from every challenge? You get backed into a corner. It’s not smart to tackle every impossible feat, but you have to find that delicate balance between risks and constants if you want to survive. (It stinks, I know, but that’s just the way it is).
3. Your ideas aren’t even the slightest bit innovative. I don’t claim to have omnipresent knowledge of all industries, but I know a thinly-veiled ripoff when I see one. Whatever you do, don’t steal from established businesses. You can use their efforts as a jumping off point, of course, but the whole point of entrepreneurship is to build upon those existing efforts and make yours bigger, faster, and stronger!
Don’t get me wrong, being a wannabe entrepreneur isn’t terrible or shameful. If you aspire to be an innovative businessperson, then that probably means you’re thinking about the startup process and determining your future path. That’s one step closer to the real thing and one step further than most people get! Just don’t start scribbling “I’m an entrepreneur” all over your notebooks until you’ve earned it.
How badly do you want to branch out and make your business a reality? The world is brimming with wide-eyed hopefuls who want to make a difference, but will you be one of the successful ones? The choice is yours. Don’t be offended by this post or hang your head in shame: get out there and do something about your dreams!