Job Council News

What is an Entrepreneur?

A successful entrepreneur can transform a hobby or passion into a lucrative business. Whether their business is in technology, healthcare or education, entrepreneurs have many of the same characteristics. Entrepreneurs are independent thinkers who take calculated risks to pursue a new idea, and they are often the sole person responsible for their ventures. They also have a strong sense of optimism and confidence in their ideas, but they aren’t afraid to change course when necessary.

The definition of entrepreneur varies widely, with some academics suggesting that anyone who works for themselves is an entrepreneur while others argue that the term should be restricted to individuals who create businesses based on innovation or unique ideas. While the exact definition of entrepreneurship may be debated, most researchers agree that the term encompasses both the individual and the venture.

Many entrepreneurs are self-employed, meaning they run their own businesses and pay themselves a salary without receiving any company benefits. Others work within large corporations but are tasked with finding innovative ways to solve existing problems. Still other entrepreneurs choose to focus on social entrepreneurship, in which they create products and services that resolve a specific problem or pain point in society while aiming to make a profit.

There are four types of entrepreneurship: social, technological, family and ethnic. Social entrepreneurship involves working to improve the lives of people in your community or your immediate social circle. Technological entrepreneurship is a similar concept that focuses on creating technologies that can benefit society and has the potential to change the world. Family entrepreneurship focuses on understanding how people from the same family or extended family network help each other’s business ventures. Ethnic entrepreneurship focuses on understanding how cultural factors influence a person’s desire to start and grow a business.

Aside from defining entrepreneurship, it’s also important to understand the challenges associated with this career path. One of the main concerns is financial security. Entrepreneurs may not always have steady income streams, and they often put their personal assets on the line to fund their businesses. This can cause stress, which can lead to mental health issues. According to a study commissioned by BDC, three-quarters of entrepreneurs report that they struggle with financial insecurity and overwhelming stress. This can impact their work and relationships, especially if they are women or young entrepreneurs.

It is critical for people interested in becoming entrepreneurs to consider the implications of their decision on their own mental well-being as well as that of their families and friends. For example, a study involving women entrepreneurs found that they are more likely to experience emotional distress than men and were twice as likely to seek mental health treatment for their symptoms. The good news is that it’s possible to reduce the risk of these negative effects by preparing thoroughly in advance, seeking support from others and building a solid team. Try the BDC’s free Entrepreneurial Potential Self-Assessment to find out if you have the traits needed for success.