Job Council News

What Does it Mean to Be an Entrepreneur?


An entrepreneur is, by definition, someone who starts and runs a business, taking on financial risk to do so. But the word has become so much more than just a job title, especially as it has come to describe a way of thinking and being. It’s about passion, grit and the drive to bring ideas to life. The gig economy and the popularity of side hustles have further expanded what it means to be an entrepreneur, with people doing things as simple as selling merch for local bands or monetizing their TikTok audience.

The entrepreneur is often viewed as an essential part of a healthy economy, providing jobs and new products for consumers. But the path to entrepreneurship is not for everyone, and many entrepreneurs face challenges along the way. It’s not unusual for an entrepreneur to work 12-hour days, seven-day weeks, sometimes for months or even years before their business starts to take off. It can be emotionally taxing to watch plans and ideas fall through, funding disappear or customers go elsewhere. The stress and pressure can lead to mental health issues. Three-quarters of entrepreneurs say they struggle with stress and feelings of insecurity, according to a survey commissioned by BDC. And women entrepreneurs are at greater risk of suffering from these problems.

Successful entrepreneurs are highly confident and can envision their product as being successful. They are also able to identify a specific pain point or need within the market and are able to provide a solution. For example, they may be able to identify that patients are having difficulty making appointments with dentists, which could lead them to develop an online appointment system. This would solve a problem for many people and make it easier to do business with a dentist.

An entrepreneur is also able to recognize and take advantage of financial opportunities, such as a price change or an economic shift. This ability to act quickly can mean the difference between success and failure for a business. Lastly, an entrepreneur is able to communicate effectively, from conveying their ideas and strategies to potential investors, to sharing information with employees and negotiating contracts with suppliers.

Joseph Schumpeter and Israel Kirzner, two notable twentieth-century economists, refined the academic understanding of entrepreneurship. They stressed that entrepreneurship acts as a coordinating agent in a capitalist economy, helping to redirect resources toward new, potentially profitable business opportunities. They also emphasized that the introduction of new products leads to the demise of old ones, as seen in the emergence of the compact disc and the disappearance of vinyl records.

In addition to these skills, entrepreneurs must be able to gather the necessary financial resources to get their businesses up and running. Some entrepreneurs are able to do this on their own, while others need the support of venture capitalists or angel investors. An entrepreneur must be able to identify potential opportunities, assess the risk involved and then put together a business plan to convince others that their idea can succeed.