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12 Entrepreneurs Explain If Entrepreneurship Can Be Taught

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Entrepreneurship is more than a popular buzzword. It is a way of life. There has been an ongoing argument about whether entrepreneurs are born or made so we asked entrepreneurs and business owners if someone can learn to be an entrepreneur. So we asked some entrepreneurs whether you can teach someone to be an entrepreneur.

#1 – Born With or Acquired

I whole-heartedly think Entrepreneurship is EITHER something you are born with or something that is acquired through business experiences in life. The amount of perseverance, dedication, and motivation it takes to build a company from the ground up is incredible. It just is not for many many people. I know, as I am building my 2nd company. It is not easy by any means, but it is impactful personally. It helps you figure out your strengths and weaknesses and really tests your inner drive. I LOVE IT. I suggest people try it out. If you even have an inkling you want to start a company, the amount of resources out there to raise money, prove your concept, build an ecommerce store, and more have never been greater. They are at your disposal with the click of a mouse. GO! You only have one life to live.

Thanks to Braydon Moreno, ROBO 3D, INC!

#2 – A CEO but Not an Entrepreneur

You can teach someone how to run a business, but you cannot teach someone to be an entrepreneur. A CEO knows how to operate a company, and this can certainly be learned with enough experience. But being an entrepreneur is much more than operating a company. It’s having a deep-seated love for risk, and this cannot be taught. If someone has to be taught how to be an entrepreneur, they probably won’t survive very long.

Thanks to Brandon Baker, Loveletter Cakeshop!

#3 – You Have It Or You Don’t

There are two sides to being an entrepreneur. First, is your mentality, such as willingness to work long hours, work for no pay, risk of losing everything, drive to succeed, vision, etc… In my opinion this cannot be taught, but is something you are born with. you either have it or you don’t. Then there’s the business side of being an entrepreneur, which can totally be taught and learned. This includes learning how to properly hire, structure equity, how to make sales and all other business functions.

Thanks to Tim Nguyen, BeSmartee!

#4 – Magical X Factor

Impossible to teach someone to be an entrepreneur. It takes guts. You have to move through fear, resistance, failure, set backs and a never end stream of issues that can pop up on a daily basis. To push through that your mission has to to be firmly rooted in your heart. There are books that try to teach logical steps to being and entrepreneur, leaning this from a book or some kind of logical plan would be like learning to write and play a song like Bruce Springsteen by reading a book. I can learn how to play a Bruce Springsteen song from a book, but there’s nothing that can teach me what flows through Bruce’s heart when he’s writing and performing. That’s why we’ll pay $200-$300 a ticket to see Bruce with 50,000 other people, but wouldn’t pay $10 to see a cover band play his songs in a bar. It takes a magical X factor.

Thanks to Paul Reddick, MillionDollarGym.com!

#5 – Doesn’t Have to Know It All

Entrepreneurship can certainly be taught. The biggest fear people have when it comes to learning how to run a business is in thinking that they have to know everything about the business before starting one. They also believe that they have to perfect every skill needed to run the business. Having all these things in place before starting a business is great but it is not an absolute requirement. An entrepreneur does not have to know it all. If you surround yourself with the right people and structure, you can be successful. You should learn as much as possible but if you wait to know it all, you will never start the business.

Thanks to Idowu Koyenikan, Grandeur Touch, LLC!

#6 – Can Be Taught

In my former post, I developed & managed online curriculum for adult students pursuing private health coaching practices. Many students were leaving traditional 9-5s & intended to work for themselves with maybe only a small team of supporting contractors/VAs. From that experience, I’ve decided entrepreneurship CAN be taught to someone who is not naturally inclined to pursue that risk. It is a lot more inner work than the natural entrepreneur, but it can be done. Natural entrepreneurs get excited at risk, at figuring things out in the middle of the unknown, & have a natural curiosity. This natural drive to look forward to jumping into the unknown is where an unnatural entrepreneur may struggle the most. Having a coach can help alleviate the overwhelm, keep you focused, & distinguish the difference between the “this is wrong” fear & the “whoa this is exciting” tingle. Excitement & fear are the same emotion. The same feeling. How we interpret its presence is our decision. Natural entrepreneurs are more likely to interpret the “tingle” to be excitement.

Thanks to Jenna Edwards, Institute of Integrative Nutrition!

#7 – Only a Better Entrepreneur

I do not believe you can teach someone to be an entrepreneur. You can only teach someone to be a better entrepreneur. I’ve found that there are generally three types of entrepreneurs. First are the ones that are born that way. They probably sold lemonade, magazines or newspapers as a child. They may have moved away from entrepreneurial ventures from time to time, but they generally come back because they are called to create. The second type are those who who make a discovery. They see something that others don’t and then they scramble to put the funding, technology, and/or team together to make it a reality. For this group it is more likely to be an isolated incident. They tend to be focused on the payday and their exit strategy where most lifetime entrepreneurs would already be thinking about their next endeavor. The third group are those that finally got sick of working for the man and decided they wanted to take control of their own fate. They may struggle more than the first two groups, but they are driven by pain more than pleasure. They are initially moving away from something more than they are moving towards something. They may gravitate towards passions and interests that they have developed over time – writing, yoga, running a B&B, a small vineyard, massage, etc. They don’t always have a plan, but they know they want to do something different. For this group the new lifestyle is the endgame. Regardless of what type of entrepreneur you are, it’s important to surround yourself with like minded people to the extent possible. Listen to podcasts, talk to others that have done it, read books about entrepreneurship, and get a coach that can help you move in the direction you want to go. Learning from people who have been there, will help you get there faster. They say we should learn from our mistakes, but I would say it’s better to learn from other people’s mistakes.

Thanks to Robert Longley, Intuaction!

#8 – I Learnt How

I graduated from the Wolff Center of Entrepreneurship at the University of Houston in May 2014, and opened my deli in October of the same year. My degree/area of concentration is entrepreneurship.
Growing up, I never thought about owning my own business. My parents always worked a corporate job and so did most of my family. In college, I came across the entrepreneurship program, and decided to take the introduction class. Fast forward two years, and I am now a small business owner. Personally, I learnt how to be an entrepreneur- I learnt how to do market research, I learnt how to make customers happy, I learnt how to forecast sales and expenses, I learnt how to do accounting. The most important thing I learnt was how to apply what I learnt. For example, I was taught how to do market research in school. Now that I own a business, I use market research to help me develop my marketing plan. In school, I learnt the importance of networking. Today, I am a member of numerous meetup groups around town, including the chamber of commerce. After all, the true entrepreneur never stops learning.

Thanks to Rashmi Bhat, Bonjour Texas!

#9 – Teaching It’s Possible

Entrepreneurship can definitely be taught, in fact my business The Fashion Class teaches a children’s fashion entrepreneurship class. Teaching entrepreneurship is not about instructing on the “right” way to create a product or how to go about coming up with an idea and creating a business – it’s about teaching that it is possible to turn an idea into something tangible. My class, though for kids, emphasizes creativity in developing products while also teaching the basics; wholesale and retail price, marketing etc. Some of our students (they range from 6-12 years old) still run their small businesses complete with Etsy shops and Instagram accounts!

Thanks to Kerri Quigley, The Fashion Class!

#10 – Like So Many Other Things, It Can Be Taught

Entrepreneurship, like so many other things in life, absolutely can be taught. An individual doesn’t have to possess any super powers, special skills or any particular experience to be an entrepreneur. All that is needed is a strong belief in your product or service, a passion for what you’re doing, a relentless “never quit” attitude, and the desire to make a difference in the lives of others.

It’s actually amazing what you can accomplish as long as you have the above things going for you. The skills needed for someone to accomplish their goals can be taught when someone wants to succeed badly enough and is willing to put in the necessary time and effort to do so.

Thanks to Tali Raphaely!

#11 – Entrepreneur is Entrepreneur

You can teach an artist what are the techniques on the canvas, how to use the pencils, mix the colors, etc. but at the end the artist is artist because he has some skill. Same with an entrepreneur. You need to be good at marketing, trading, leading, reasoning and making the correct decision. You may not excel in all of them, but for that you have a team. To me an startup fails only due to 2 reasons: they do not do their homework (clearly explained in many books likeThe Startup Owner’s Manual, Lean startup etc etc) or they do not accept the results of the homework. The leader need to accept that he is selling what customer wants, not what he would like to. If you want to find out if you are an entrepreneur, simple check with yourself if you are an auto-leader and you are willing to take risks.

Thanks to David Trallero, Look I was There!

#12 – Anyone Can Develop

I firmly believe enterprising traits can be developed in anyone. The key is in understanding that entrepreneurship is all about an attitude and a mindset, not just teaching people about profit and loss; the practical side of business. Children who grow up with enterprising role models in their family are significantly more likely to grow up and start a business later in life; they grow up believing anything is possible and they are the masters of their success. Instilling the key traits of successful businesspeople like creativity, endeavour, independence, resilience and positivity in a child is much easier than in a young adult who has already developed career expectations, an aversion to risk and a negative attitude toward stress and other challenges. Yes, we can ‘teach them business’, but that doesn’t make them an entrepreneur. A grassroots approach is vital.

Thanks to Ben Cook, The Clever Tykes Books!

 

About Gresham Harkless Jr.

Gresham Harkless is a Media Consultant for Blue 16 Media and the Blogger-in-Chief for CEO Blog Nation. CEO Blog Nation is a community of blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners. Started in much the same way as most small businesses, CEO Blog Nation captures the essence of entrepreneurship by allowing entrepreneurs and business owners to have a voice. CEO Blog Nation provides news, information, events and even startup business tips for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners to succeed.
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