Entrepreneurs: Born or Made. Does it matter?

entrepreneur_black.gifI was tagged by Vivienne Quek, who I truly believe is an entrepreneur. OK first things first let us find what exactly an entrepreneur is? The online encyclopedia Wikipedia defines it as “someone who establishes a new entity, to offer a new or existing product or service into a new or existing market. Entrepreneurs often have strong beliefs about a market opportunity and are willing to accept a high level of personal, professional or financial risk to pursue that opportunity”.

There are two schools of thought about what makes an entrepreneur. The first is that anyone can do it if they really want to, provided they put in the effort. The second is that you have to be a certain type of person and, if you are not that type, you are wasting your time.

This theory that anyone can become an entrepreneur is absolute nonsense. The ‘born or made’ question appears to be the basic argument between nature and nurture. Certainly if one is born with certain personality traits, they will assist in entrepreneurship. It seems fairly obvious that entrepreneurs are both born and made. Perhaps they also evolve.


I often have people saying they are going to sell everything and become an entrepreneur, and I say for goodness sake don’t do it. Very few people are wealth creators and it is really important that people realize where their strength lies. Certainly if you are a born leader, with a highly organized and competitive personality, and you are self-confident and prepared to work endless hours for an indefinite time, then you are on the right track.

“Many things trigger people to become entrepreneurs, but if you are not prepared to sweat and sacrifice to get the boulder out of the little hollow and rolling, you’re unlikely to succeed.” Would you be happy to forego short term success for a long term gain? Can you take risks and communicate your experience to others? Do you have a burning desire to be the best? These are all skills and attributes which are demanded from entrepreneurs.

In addition, you will have to have an inbuilt desire to achieve. It will certainly help if you are an optimist, and it goes without saying that you will need to accept that you are fully accountable for all aspects of your venture.

One theory believes that entrepreneurs emerge from the mixture of entrepreneurial opportunities and people who are in a position to take full advantage of them.

Therefore, the theory goes anyone who comes across the right conditions, may also become an entrepreneur. The secret seems to be to find a solution to a problem, or to fill a niche market, and to be the only person who can achieve this target.

So if you are aiming to become an entrepreneur, but so far in your life you have not managed it, there is hope. Maybe you were just waiting for the perfect idea, and the perfect time. Maybe that time is now?

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11 Responses

  1. Hi Robin
    Thanks for the kind words. Like the Chinese saying goes, the enemy is closing in and there is no escape route in sight. My only choice was to fight for survival via my own business.

    Totally agreed with you that “if you are not prepared to sweat and sacrifice to get the boulder out of the little hollow and rolling, you’re unlikely to succeed”.

  2. Robin Bal says:

    Hi Viv,

    Thanks for your comment. I meant every word of what I mentioned about you. No escape, you got to fight.

    And you really cant achieve much without sweat and sacrifice and vision and focus, the whole lot.

    Take care and cheers

  3. Now, I’ve been described as an entrepreneur, but I don’t think that I am.

    I have the ideas, the drive and the ambition. But I’m certainly not a risk taker. That’s not how I work.

    If the conditions aren’t favourable, I walk.

    I’ve been working on a business idea for years. But because of the project’s scale, I fall into a funding void, which leaves me and my ideas in a state of limbo.

    And as for the nature versus nurture thing, well, that’s misleading.

    I think it’s more a question of are you a half empty or half full person?

    If you see an opportunity where others see a barrier, you’re heading in the right direction.

    But who am I to talk? I’m no entrepreneur…

  4. Shane says:

    Robin, you’re right. Most people should be very careful of throwing everything they have into an entrepreneurial venture.

    Wayne said it best … seeing the opportunities is what entrepreneurs are all about. This is something I’ll be writing about soon.

    I used to think an entrepreneur was just someone without a plan. A very smart mentor of mine taught me that an entrepreneur is someone who’s willing to take risk. And to take that risk, you have to see the opportunity in taking it.

  5. Robin Bal says:

    Hi Wayne,

    GOOD comment mate.

    As for me I don’t know if I am an entrepreneur or not and honestly it doesnt matter, yeah I am a risk taker, I call it calculated risk. I like what you said about seeing the opportunities.

    Take care and cheers.

  6. Robin Bal says:

    Hi Shane,

    I will be looking forward to your post on this subject.

    Always good to have a mentor mate, takes me back to your post about Mentors, that was a good one. Risk and opportunity, yeah thats why I call it calculated risk.

    Take care and cheers.

  7. Evangelina Gab says:

    That’s so true Shivam. I would rather tell you exactly what it is and you leave, than make false promises.

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