Can You Learn to be an Entrepreneur? [ANSWERS]

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. Below you will find responses from a community of entrepreneurs and business owners.

You Can't Teach Risk Taking

Photo Credit: Michelle Kulp

Many years ago I taught a popular class at a local adult education center called “How to Quit Your Job and Follow Your Dreams” The class inevitably drew people from all walks of life — lawyers, engineers, government workers, etc. I remember this one attorney who said to me, “Michelle, I would love to leave my 6-figure corporate job to follow my dream of starting a film studio on the beach in Florida, but I'm just not a “risk-taker” like you are.” Being an entrepreneur is really about risk-taking just as being a full-time, corporate 9-5'er is about wanting security first and foremost. Yes, anyone can learn the skills or techniques to starting their own business and being an entrepreneur, but you really can't teach someone to be a risk taker. If you're an entrepreneur at heart, then you naturally take risks and understand there are no guarantees on this path. There are a lot of unknowns and it's more of a a roller coaster ride (not a Ferris Wheel) when you're an entrepreneur. Non-entrepreneur's number one need is security above everything else. Therefore, they are unable to take the risks necessary to becoming an entrepreneur. Non-entrepreneurs want assurance, guarantees, stability, and most importantly a steady paycheck. I believe you are either born with the entrepreneurial spirit or you're not. Yes, I can learn how to ice skate, but I'm really not that good with balance, so I'll never be successful in that endeavor. The same is true with being an entrepreneur, if you're not a natural risk taker, you'll never be successful.

Thanks to Michelle Kulp, Become a 6 Figure Woman!

It's A Combination of the Two

Photo Credit: Aaron Murphy

I think entrepreneurism is a combination of the two, being born with it and being taught. I think it can be taught, and should be taught, in the sense that you should be sure if you are “going it alone” you surround yourself with other successful people. Mentors, coaches, mastermind groups and the like are essential to your survival, let alone your success. Robert Kiyosaki said it best when he stated (paraphrasing) “Once I'm the dumbest person in the room, I know I've assembled a great team”. You shouldn't try to be the master of all trades related to running a business, but you'd better be one in your specific business skill set and trade. On the flip side, I absolutely think there is something inherently “born into you”, and if you don't realize it at first, you grow into the realization that there is only one way you'll be happy. For me that occurred at a commercial architecture firm at about 30 years old, when I'd gotten my professional licensing (8 years and 36 hours of exams) and wasn't given any more responsibility or income to reflect it. That part I think is genetic wiring. Realizing that your own happiness is going to be brought to fruition only by tackling the world with the plan to change it for the better, and doing so “on your own”, as a business owner and a true entrepreneur.

Thanks to Aaron Murphy, ADM Architecture!

Yes, It's As Simple As A Mind Shift

Courtesy: Lisa Henson

I think anyone can learn to become an entrepreneur. It is as simple as a mind shift. Move from follower to leader, employee to employer. The greatest tip I can give anyone who wishes to become an entrepreneur is don't allow yourself to be blocked by your fear of failure. You will fail. Get over it and move on. When I decided to invent a new baby product I didn't have a clue. I took it one step at a time and in a few months I was awarded the 2012 Huggies Mom Inspired Grant $15,000. That wouldn't have happened if I allowed my fear of failing or “not knowing what to do” stop me. Now I mentor women entrepreneurs teaching them how to make money, live inspired, and change the world. You can do it. One step at a time.

Thanks to Lisa Cash Hanson, Snugg Wugg!

Yes to Those That Seize the Moment

Photo Credit: Earle Martin

What separates entrepreneurs from others is self-confidence and the desire to control their own work priorities, schedule and success.  Many people suppress this drive and are comfortably dependent, working for others and following the rules in what they consider to be a safe and reliable environment.  But the drive to build and create is a core component of the human spirit that is available to everyone, simply awaiting opportunity.  The entrepreneurial spirit is about motivation, not what you know, and is available genetically to anyone ready to seize the moment.

Thanks to Earle Martin, NDA Partners LLC!

The Innate Spirit Can't, But Strategic Elements Can

Photo Credit: Catherine Delcin

The innate spirit of entrepreneurship itself cannot be taught, however, the strategic elements required for success can be taught. In fact, they must  be taught. Otherwise, the true potential of the innate talent, creativity and aspiration for entrepreneurship will never be fully actualized. Teaching entrepreneurship is akin to teaching an eaglet to fly, having wings is just not enough. The parent eagle must hover over the nest flapping its wings to teach the eaglet to do the same. Otherwise, those wings would never reach the height of the sky as they were meant to.

See also  How Social Media is Destroying Productivity [INFOGRAPHIC]

Thanks to Catherine Delcin, Delcin Consulting Group!

Yes, It Is Learned Philosophy & Skill

In my opinion, entrepreneurship is a learned philosophy and skill. Those who grow up with entrepreneurial influences and opportunities are more likely to take the risk because they have seen it done before. Living an entrepreneurial life is also a philosophy because one must believe that the only way out is through when tough times hit. Most people will quit after a few setbacks. Making good business decisions comes from getting good counsel from someone who has been through it before and has wisdom and
insight to offer.

Thanks to Tina Chan, Powbab!

Some Things But Not All

Photo Credit: Maureen Daniek

You can teach someone a lot of the tools to build a business i.e. creating a business plan, partnership agreements, employee handbooks, marketing plans, exit strategies, stock agreements, and the particular skills in creating a product or service delivered by the company. I don't believe you can teach someone to be a risk taker, a visionary, or an inspirational leader who is focused, confident, and a great promoter.

Thanks to Maureen Daniek, Radiance Coaching and Consulting!

Absolutely One Can Learn

Photo Credit: David Zahn

Absolutely one can learn the skills of entrepreneurship.  Be it Finance, Marketing, Sales, or any other discipline.  What cannot be taught as easily is the emotional needs required to be a business owner.  That is part of one’s DNA and cannot be trained or taught.

Thanks to David Zahn, ZAHN Consulting, LLC!

They Are Born

Photo Credit: Adrena Martin

I believe that entrepreneurs are born. It takes a strong and different type of person to become an entrepreneur. I am a 23 year old recent college graduate, and I started my business a few months before graduation. In our society today, the norm says that we should go to college, make good grades, graduate, get a good job and make good money. Entrepreneurship is not something that I feel is encouraged enough to my generation of peers. That is why I said that it takes a special type of person to go against the norm and embark on this endeavor.

Thanks to Adrena Martin, CreationZ From A Dove!

No, but Anyone Can Learn It

Photo Credit: Evan Beard

I don't think you can teach entrepreneurship, but that it's learned only through doing it. I also don't think entrepreneurs are born,
though at first appearance this appears to be the case, as entrepreneurs seem inherently more risk tolerant than the average person, and risk tolerance is probably something you're born with (first borns, for example, have been shown to be more risk adverse than later-born individuals). But I think entrepreneurs aren't actually more risk tolerant, they just believe in their own abilities more and are willing to fail. And I think this belief in yourself is something that can definitely come from within a person, and can be learned. So though I don't think entrepreneurship can be taught, I think anyone can learn it by doing it

Thanks to Evan Beard, ArmourHub!

Yes, But Not Without Effort

You can teach entrepreneurship, but it's knowledge that is most practical and efficient if taught with a hand-on approach.  Just like highway driving won't teach you to parallel park a car, business experience will never materialize into entrepreneurial skill without effort.

Thanks to Nick Angelis, The Grecian Garden!

Definitely, But It Depends

You can definitely teach entrepreneurship to people, though like with all career fields, a lot depends on the person’s experience and willingness to apply the skills. It is essential that one has experience working in the business world before considering learning the ways of entrepreneurship. Teaching someone how to be an entrepreneur from scratch would be incredibly difficult; it would be much more reasonable for the entrepreneur-to-be to have some sort of knowledge and experience to work with coming in, such as communication skills and the ability to think on their feet. That’s why many business schools require applicants work for some time before furthering their education. With so much information available today, like case studies and profiling, schools are responsible for preaching the proven working trends, the brainstorming methods, and the philosophy along with planting the seeds of inspiration and physically training budding entrepreneurs with hands-on activities that reflect real-world scenarios. However, the classroom environment alone is simply not enough. In order to teach entrepreneurship, you need the student have some prior experience working in the field.

Thanks to Ian Aronovich, Government Auctions!

Yes, Because It's A Skill

Entrepreneurship is a skill, not an instinctual reaction. Just like other skills such as playing a piano or running a marathon, entrepreneurship can be practiced and it can be taught. The idea of being a “born entrepreneur” started when the majority of citizens held career jobs for a lifetime as a way to explain the few exceptions of wealthy individuals who took “extraordinary risks” (ie. they didn't hold a normal career job) and in return amassed extraordinary wealth. Now that entrepreneurship is becoming more of a mainstream path, you only have to look around your local ecosystem to see that entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes. They aren't just loud sales people, but introverted engineers, and ambitious single moms. I have had hundreds of students go through my entrepreneurship courses, and while each of them are not guaranteed to be successful entrepreneurs, I can guarantee that each of them has an exponentially increase their chance of success for having trained in the discipline. A lot of being successful in a new business is avoiding the mistakes that have been made before you, and that can absolutely be taught.

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Thanks Terry Beech, HiretheWorld.com!

Yes, of Course You Can

Yes, of course you can teach someone to be an entrepreneur, especially if you have undergone the ups and downs of entrepreneurship yourself. Like all learning, there are steps to the process. And, once those steps have been identified, you can take the entrepreneurial-wannabe through each of them. Pitfalls have to be identified, research has to be conducted (especially marketing research to ascertain if the entrepreneurial endeavor is even worth pursuing), and systems have to be put in place. But it's my belief entrepreneurship can be taught. If I'm wrong, then major and minor universities in America are ripping students off when their offerings of courses in entrepreneurship.

Thanks to Dr. Marlene Caroselli!

Yes, If They Want It

Yes, you can teach someone to be a CEO if they want it bad enough it will happen.  A person who has the desire and a good mentor will set this as a goal that they want to accomplish.

Thanks to Cathy Harkless, Yhtack in Stitches!

Yes…If They're A Self-Starter

Photo Credit: Megan Andrus

I think you can teach someone the values of entrepreneurship, but they have to already be enough of a self-starter to do it on their own. I have had several friends ask me about wanting to go into business with me, so I test them and say, “ok, well let's start researching this and that” so I give them sorta an assignment to see what they come back to me with and I also do my own part to research. Usually I get nothing back from them, or if I gave them something to look at, they end up not even reading it. That's how you know that they're not serious about starting a business with you they really want you to do all the work and then let them do the fun stuff. No thanks! Basically, I think you show someone the ropes of what it takes to do it on their own, but without that drive to do it on their own, they'll always be an employee. Working for people in the beginning showed me how to later do it myself.

Thanks Megan Andrus, My Accessory Business!

In Short, Yes You Can

Photo Credit: Wale Ilori

The short answer is yes, you can teach someone to be an entrepreneur. Is the entrepreneurial lifestyle, as a means for earning a living or creating wealth, for everyone? No. Everyone has the ability to create, lead, pitch, sell, retain, manage, and accomplish in a field or across several fields. However, some find safety in allowing an independent contractor or a company to manage the operational aspects (finance, marketing, legal, information systems/technology, and HR) of a business. Some also find comfort in having someone else manage risk and rewards. Realty Check: No one person knows everything about entrepreneurship, especially not at the onset, but everyone can learn what it takes to be successful. Being successful should be a primary goal. Being successful may be realized as an entrepreneur or intrapreneur. Either way, you’ll still work for someone (clients vs. company). You’ll still have to sell something: good or service. You’ll still learn on the job. You’ll still manage risk and rewards (yours or someone else’s).

Thanks to Isha Edwards, EPiC Measures, LLC!

With Experience, Perseverance & Luck, You Can Be An Entrepreneur

Photo Credit: Sam Caucci

Being an entrepreneur is a full contact sport, and like any other sport you might step on the field with certain tools that immediately increase your likelihood of success. However, over the long haul entrepreneurship is definitely a learned skill. With experience, a good amount of failing and getting back up, and a certain amount of luck, aspiring entrepreneurs that possess an intense passion for making their mission come to life can absolutely grow into the thought leaders they aspire to be.

Thanks to Sam CaucciSales Huddle Group, Inc.!

Skills Can Be Taught But Not Enthusiasm or Willingness to Persevere

I have many years experience helping business owners or would be owners by consulting/managing businesses. I think that the skills of running a business can be taught but not everybody has the innate enthusiasm and willingness to persevere. There are those who have some enthusiasm and try and start a business but later the innate anti-enthusiasm kicks in in face of obstacles and they revert back to unwillingness to be a business owner.

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Thanks to Michael Gross!

Yes, But Only With Passion & Desire

We believe someone can be taught how to be entrepreneur, but it also requires passion and desire. Some people are able to be entrepreneurs based on teachings and learning lessons and some people are born as entrepreneurs.

Thanks to Joseph Bostic, Jr., Retention Frontiers, Inc.!

No, If You Get It, You Get It

Photo Credit: Julie Northcutt

No. And why would you want to? It is not always an easy road. I am not sure why people who are not made this way would want to be an entrepreneur. If you get it, you get it. And you just do it. And you figure out everything you need to know along the way. But we need all types of people in the world and all types for a business to run so it is just fine that not everyone has the good-crazy gene – thank goodness. Trying to teach someone to be an entrepreneur is as silly as using the term “serial entrepreneur”. If you are an entrepreneur – if you are born this way – then it is exactly because you have ideas all the time and that has been happening since you were a kid and all your friends and family know this. And hopefully, they have come to appreciate this about you and accept it. Nobody has to teach you anything about it – that is why I call it the “good-crazy” gene.

Thanks to Julie Northcutt, Caregiverlist!

Yes, If You Have A Coach & Mentor

Photo Credit: Dr. Madeline Ann Lewis

Yes, you can teach someone to be an entrepreneur. Keep in mind the most successful entrepreneurs are life-long learners. The important thing to remember is do not try and convince yourself that you are capable of doing something that is not your calling. It is also imperative that you stay within your area of excellence. No one can do everything. We all have areas where we will excel or where we will fail. But if you have someone who can coach and mentor you through your strengths and weaknesses it is possible to become an entrepreneur.

Thanks to Dr. Madeline Ann Lewis, Deline Institute for Professional Development!

Either You Have It or You Don't

Photo Credit: Eula Young

There are certain skills that you can teach people to run their business. Running a business and being an entrepreneur takes a certain kind of trait either you have it or you don't and no amount of teaching can provided those traits. A person needs to be able to focus on that business, be able to not let the word stop them from moving their business to the next level. Being an entrepreneur you need to find a way to make a way. If the door is closed, then open a window. If you can't get in the front door, go through the back door. A entrepreneur needs to be creative in making that business a success be able to think outside the box, be capable of wearing more then one hat and wear them well, know when to delegate work and when to do it themselves. Have the innate ability to learn your industry inside and out while running that business and learn the marketing behavior for your target market, that takes determination and drive and that you can't teach.

Thanks to Eula M. Young, Griots Roll Production!

Yes, Skills, Techniques & Procedures Can Be Taught

Photo Credit: Patrick McFadden

Yes, I believe you can teach someone to be an entrepreneur. I believe that skills, techniques, and procedures, are readily easy to teach. The books you read, the thoughts you think, the TV you watch, the conversations you participate in, the people you associate with, and the music you listen to combine to create your future. Teaching entrepreneurship really means that you want to teach someone how to build a business bigger than themselves, so if they wanted to go on their yacht for four weeks, the business still makes money while they sleep. That an entrepreneur builds something that he or she could sell one day, or take public one day if they choose

Thanks to Patrick McFadden, McFadden Coaching!

Yes, If You Have A Vision, Desire & Work Hard

Photo Credit: Liz Updike

I believe that there are certain qualities a person must have to be an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur must have a vision and a desire to create something that is their own and not be afraid to take risks, Second, an entrepreneur be willing to work hard, must not be afraid of failure and must also be willing to adapt and change with changing markets. An entrepreneur must have the desire and discipline to show up each and everyday to do what is necessary to succeed. Entrepreneurship is not a 9 to 5 job, so it is not for everyone. I do not believe that everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur but one certainly can be trained.

Thanks to Liz Updike, LIZ Enterprises!



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  1. Realistically, anyone can start the journey to be an entrepreneur. But, it takes someone with drive and the knack for business to become successful; and also, one more element: the ability to act upon an idea instantly. Richard Branson is a prime example.

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