How to become an entrepreneur is a subject that would be evergreen till the end of time. Human beings would want to work for themselves and create value for others, which is one of the ways of looking at entrepreneurship.
First things first. I am writing this post for myself. I have been self-employed for the last 6 years but as a freelancer. A freelancer is a romanticized term for a solo-entrepreneur, but I don’t think a freelancer is an entrepreneur in the real sense of the word, but the value an entrepreneur creates is created only through his/her own time.
What do entrepreneurs do?
Entrepreneurs create value through other people’s time and quite often through other people’s (investor’s) money. They do invest their own time and money as well to have skin in the game, but the game is simply so big that they can’t quite play it alone. They may not use other people’s money and bootstrap, but they certainly need other people’s time to build companies that solve the problems that they are trying to solve.
Entrepreneurship is hard, and that’s why most people in the world work for others. A lot of people make a lot of mistakes, and we can perhaps learn from others on which mistakes to avoid while starting a business. In fact, even freelancing is tough, and entrepreneurship is even tougher, because you don’t just have your responsibility, but also that of the people who work for you.
My attempt, here, is going to be to look at multiple facets of start-ups and entrepreneurship, so that anyone reading it, can have a better idea about how to become an entrepreneur.
In order to understand how to become an entrepreneur, it is important that we understand who is an entrepreneur and what do entrepreneurs exactly do.
What is the definition of entrepreneurship?
There is no one definition of entrepreneurship. As per Wikipedia, Entrepreneurship is the creation or extraction of value. However, this is only one of the definitions, and does not simplify a complex idea enough.
Entrepreneurship is solving human problems in order to make the world a better place though the medium of a start-up. The start-up is the medium or the vehicle through which an entrepreneur takes up the challenge of solving the problem he has started the start-up for. Yes, the start-up and the business if it succeeds will make a profit, and generate employment for many people, while making the entrepreneur wealthy, but to become wealthy is not the only goal of the entrepreneur.
He and the business he is building exists to solve a human problem. Start-up is a way to solve that problem profitably so the business doesn’t have to depend on grants to sustain itself. I have been using two terms interchangeably here- start-ups and business. They, however are not the same.
What is the difference between a start-up and a business?
Start-ups are the process of looking for a repeatable and scalable business model and companies are executing a repeatable and sustainable business model.
Therefore, a start-up becomes a company or a business entity, once the business model has been proven over time. For example, Facebook was a start-up in 2004, when it started, and now it’s a company or a business, since it has built a consistent business model, which has been growing over the years. Similarly, Google is not a start-up anymore, which it was, for the first few years of its existence.
Who is an entrepreneur?
An entrepreneur is the person or a group of persons who start a start-up to solve the specific problem they want to solve, that they believe would become a company in the long run.
What are some example of entrepreneurs?
Bill Gates, who started Microsoft is an entrepreneur.
Steve Jobs, who started Apple, was an entrepreneur.
Mark Zuckerberg who started Facebook is an entrepreneur.
Larry Page and Sergey Brin who started Google are entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurs are mission and vision driven
All of them had a certain goal that they wanted to fulfill with the start-ups, now successful multi-national companies, which have changed the world. Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
All great entrepreneurs have big missions with which they start their companies. They want to occupy leading positions in the industries, and pursue global leadership.
Yes, there are other kinds of businesses which do not have a long term vision, but we are talking here about entrepreneurs who start start-ups to change the world, and make a long term impact on human life. If one is going to start a start-up, it makes sense to do something big, and make the world a better place.
In order to understand how to become an entrepreneur, it does make sense to look at some of the most powerful entrepreneurship quotes or quotes on entrepreneurship by the leading entrepreneurs of the world.
They started start-ups and changed the world already in several different way. I am sure we can learn a lot from people who have already done it than all the theory available in business schools. Before we start-this course on how to start a start-up by ycombinator is a useful resource for anyone thinking start-ups.
Here are 30 quotes on entrepreneurship and business by entrepreneurs who have changed the world:
1. “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs
This quote should serve to us as a guiding light for our professional lives. We should not do work that doesn’t feel like great or our best work. The reason I am building this happiness blog, is because I think this is great work, and through this, I am not only trying to inspire myself to find my happiness, but also trying to help people find theirs. From a perspective of how to become an entrepreneur, this quote is important because it defines the kind of start-up one should aim to start-something that feels great work.
2. “I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying.”
-Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO Amazon
At the time of writing this, Jeff Bezos is the richest man in the world. But, he wasn’t when he started Amazon in 1994. He did something he believed in, and changed the world for the better, while making incredible wealth for himself, and generating millions of jobs.
3. “Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve.”
– Mary Kay Ash, Founder Mary Kay Cosmetics
Mary was 45 when she founded the company with a $5,000 investment from her oldest son.
4. “You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing and falling over.”
– Richard Branson, founder Virgin Group
5. “Failure is just a resting place. It is an opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” – Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company
6. “What good is an idea if it remains an idea? Try. Experiment. Iterate. Fail. Try again. Change the world.” – Simon Sinek, author.
7. “The fastest way to change yourself is to hang out with people who are already the way you want to be.”
– Reid Hoffman, co-founder LinkedIn
Reid Hoffman worked with PayPal in the early years of his career with Peter Theil and Elon Musk.
8. “Fearlessness is like a muscle. I know from my own life that the more I exercise it the more natural it becomes to not let my fears run me.”
– Arianna Huffington, president and editor in chief The Huffington Post Media Group
9. “Risk more than others think is safe. Dream more than others think is practical.”
-Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO
I highly recommend reading Schultz’s autobiography.
10. “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”
– Walt Disney, founder Disney
11. “Don’t be afraid to assert yourself, have confidence in your abilities and don’t let the bastards get you down.”
– Michael Bloomberg, founder Bloomberg L.P.
12. “There are lots of bad reasons to start a company. But there’s only one good, legitimate reason, and I think you know what it is: it’s to change the world.”
– Phil Libin, CEO Evernote
13. “Everything started as nothing.”
– Ben Weissenstein, founder and CEO The Entitled Group
14. “I never took a day off in my twenties. Not one.”
– Bill Gates, co-founder Microsoft
15. “So often people are working hard at the wrong thing. Working on the right thing is probably more important than working hard.”
– Caterina Fake, co-founder Flickr
16. “When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favour.” — Elon Musk.
17. “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”- Walt Disney
18. “Remember why you started.”- Unknown
19. “When I have fully decided that a result is worth getting, I go ahead of it, and make trial after trial, until it comes.”- Thomas Edison
20. “Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs”- Henry Ford
21. “Facebook was not originally created to be a company. It was built to accomplish a social mission– to make the world more open and connected.”- Mark Zuckerberg.
22. “I am not a tech guy. I am looking at the technology with the eyes of my customers, normal people’s eyes.”- Jack Ma, Alibaba
23. “Microsoft was founded with a vision of a computer on every desk, and in every home. We have never wavered from that vision.”- Bill Gates, Microsoft
24. “I have always respected those who tried to change the world for the better, rather than just complain about it.”- Michael Bloomberg
25. “Because software is all about scale. The larger you are, the more profitable you are. If we sell twice as much as software, it doesn’t cost us twice as much to build that software. So the more customers you have, the more scale you have. The larger you are, the more profitable you are.”- Larry Ellison, Oracle
26. “If you are changing the world, you are working on important things. You are excited to get up in the morning.”- Larry Page, Google
27. “Everyone has an idea. But it’s really about executing the idea and attracting other people to help you work on the idea.”- Jack Dorsey, Twitter.
28. “Build what you want to see in the world.”- Jack Dorsey
29. “No matter how brilliant your mind or your strategy, if you are playing a solo game, you will always lose out to a team.”- Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn
30. “Chase the vision, not the money; the money will end up following you.”
– Tony Hsieh, CEO Zappos
Although there are thousands of quotes on entrepreneurship across the internet, I have collected here some of my favourite one- the ones that currently inspire me the most. I may add more a little later. Some more great quotes on entrepreneurship, here.
So, how to become an entrepreneur?
Well, so far, to understand how to become an entrepreneur, we have looked at definitions of entrepreneurship and some great quotes on entrepreneurship by some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the current history of mankind. Most of them- Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Elon Musk are pretty much in the public sphere and continue to inspire people.
Have we answered the question- how to become an entrepreneur? I don’t know. I don’t think this question can be sufficiently answered.
Entrepreneurship can only be learnt by doing
Like Paul Graham, the founder of ycombinator, says in his essay, why to not start a start-up,
He is one such person who perhaps knows more about start-up founders than most people in the world, having raised and funded some of the most successful start-ups in the world. His advice is to go and do it. I suggest you read all his essays. They are not just start-up, but great life advice.
As it turns out, the only way to really learn how to become an entrepreneur is by being one.Tweet
Thank you for reading.
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