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23 Entrepreneurs Debate if You Can Learn to be an Entrepreneur

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

#1-I believe entrepreneurs are born.

I have been pursuing entrepreneurial ventures since I was a child. There is an inner drive to create, innovate, and do it without the constraints of an employed or corporate environment that, in all of the entrepreneurs I know, is impossible to ignore. I have been spending more and more time advising and mentoring people with ideas for a business. What I have experienced is that within a few minutes I can differentiate the idea people from the true entrepreneurs. There is an undeniable energy and intensity that entrepreneurs exude that I believe stems from their core temperament and personality, and is what leads them to success.

Thanks to Andrea Paul, Board Vitals!

#2- It’s all about the unwillingness to give up

Photo Credit: Kamyar Shah

There is no single path to entrepreneurship; some are born that way, others are made. The nature vs. nurture discussion is pointless. Much like anything else in life everyone’s path is unique because everyone journey is unique. The one common factor though is the unwillingness to give up; most  entrepreneurs are not successful by the first attempt. That unwillingness to give up is what leads to success.

Thanks to Kamyar Shah

#3- It’s the entrepreneurial talent that matters

Photo Credit: Keri Yang

Today it is very easy to start a business, so anyone can do it with 100$. But I believe that in the end the ones that turn this business into a long-term successful one are people with a true entrepreneurial talent. Of course talent is not enough and you also need to work hard to get where you want to be. But when the amount of effort is the same, the ones who are born with this entrepreneurial spirit will always win. It is the same in any other field, from sports to art and business.

Thanks to Keri Yang

#4- Made and at the same time born

Photo Credit: Miki Agrawal

I think entrepreneurs are born thinking outside of the box and with a level of fearlessness to act on things. I think they are made by their surroundings and choose fields based on their environment. –

Thanks to Miki Agrawal, TUSHY!

#5- Similar to leadership, must have the drive

Photo Credit: Dave Lane

Like all leaders, entrepreneurs are made. The desire to create something new and share it with others is intrinsic, but the ideas and aspirations that lead you to start a company are developed over time. Your sense of purpose—the belief that you are the best person to bring this new thing into the world, and that the world needs it—is driven by your personal experiences, values, education, and professional skills. The majority of entrepreneurs fail, not because they weren’t natural-born business leaders but because they don’t have the drive to do what must be done to make their business succeed.

Thanks to Dave Lane, Inventiv!

#6-In my own experience, my entrepreneurialism was made, not born.

Photo Credit: Lauren Milligan

On both my mother and father’s side, I come from a long line of employees. I started  ResuMAYDAY in 2001 and for the first five or six years, my parents were extremely vocal about how much more comfortable they would be if I got a ‘normal job’. To them, job security happens when someone else signs your paycheck. On one hand, their unconditional support would have been appreciated, but on the other hand, I’ve always done well when I’ve had people doubt me. I get a ‘just watch me’ jolt. Seventeen years later… they might be getting used to the idea that their daughter is a business owner, with her own employees. (*I* sign the checks!) My husband is a musician, so we’re both highly risk-tolerant when it comes to our careers. We’ve always fully supported each other’s decisions, and have helped each other immensely with our respective businesses, figuring out clever marketing strategies, solving customer issues, etc. His support has contributed to the entrepreneur that I am today.

Thanks to Lauren Milligan, ResuMAYDAY!

#7- It’s generational

Photo Credit: David Pressler

Growing up with a father who rarely worked for anyone mostly out there making it on his own from tree trimming with me and my brother to owning an ice cream store with me and my brother holding mops and brooms to running a roach coach, first in South Florida back in early 60s and landfill developer in North Miami, Florida. Interrama landfill site is where Harry Huizenga approached my Father to invest $10,000 into his soon to be on the stock market trucking business, he said no. By hands on and osmosis through life I too became a person that constantly sees a business opportunity and have personally encountered the lows and highs.

Thanks to David Pressler, DRD Enterprises Inc of Davie!

#8- Situations change our view about it

Photo Credit: Jeremy Ellisor

I am a second generation business owner. Originally, I would have told you that entrepreneurs were made through situational responses to different seasons in life. Having children has changed my view. My son is 10 years old and is the proud co-owner of a golf ball reclamation business with his sister who is 8. He also is about to launch a YouTube channel, Getting Hooked to teach kids how to fish. Tonight during dinner, I asked him why he likes creating businesses and his response was priceless, Bottom line, I just don’t like to be told what to do, and if it is my business, then I am in charge. Guess it runs in the blood.

Thanks to Jeremy Ellisor, Convergent Financial Group!

#9-Talent is Born. Hard Work is Made

Photo Credit: Shaan Patel

In short, these are my thoughts on the general question is an entrepreneur born or made? Genius is often recognized as effortless success but how often is that actually true outside of the examples that are touted in the media. Personally, I’ve met brilliant people who have had little to no direction in their personal or professional lives. On paper, they should fit the characteristics of a successful entrepreneur, but where are the results? I think the truth is, successful entrepreneurs have a seed or spark of creativity, or at the very least, desire and through persistent hard work figure out their pathway to success. Sometimes it’s an easy journey, more often it’s a struggle; but without that grit to believe in what you’re doing and the flexibility to make adjustments when necessary, it doesn’t matter if you have all the natural born talent in the world.

Thanks to Shaan Patel, Prep Expert!

#10-The Art of the Hustle

Photo Credit: Nicholas Christensen

I was a young entrepreneur who sold leftover donuts for 10¢ each from a school bake sale to earn $1.50. Do I attribute this to some genetic predisposition from my father’s side? Nah. I was hungry and my weekly allowance was never enough to buy a glazed donut so I simply asked for the leftovers. All the PTA moms were happy since they didn’t have to pack everything up and I had a booming side business. A win-win for everybody. Did I hustle the moms? Well, it’s a fine line between entrepreneurship and hustling. If you’re passionate about your business, have a blinding desire to succeed and tend to swat risk factors away, you’re doing the hustle.The road from selling semi-stale donuts to running businesses was paved by practice, patience and perseverance. And the best is yet to come.

Thanks to Nicholas Christensen, Lottery Critic!

#11-Combine the right traits

Photo Credit: James Dimovski

I believe that I was born with the underlying drive to become an entrepreneur, having a side business since I was about 9, but I wouldn’t have pursued this path if it wasn’t for various factors around me, including the people that I surround myself with. I believe that my peer group has had a large impact on my path in life, since it’s been said that you’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. In saying that, I recently found out that my great grandparents were entrepreneurs, but the entrepreneur “gene” seemed to have skipped my grandparents and parents. So, it isn’t enough to say being born with entrepreneurial traits will make you an entrepreneur, you need the right combination of both core traits and the proper surroundings/influences throughout your life.

Thanks to James Dimovski, Gallant State!

#12- Achieved by doing

Photo Credit: P. Brendon Lundberg

I believe that being an entrepreneur is both something someone is born with and which is learned, it is the same as the argument about nature vs. nurture. In fact, being an entrepreneur, similar to being a parent is the human experience magnified, because it requires so much of you and all of the feelings, stresses, joys, failures, triumphs are all heightened. I think certain people are hardwired to want to be an entrepreneur, but being an entrepreneur is about learning, growing and expanding into the vision that you’re creating into reality. This can only be successfully achieved by doing, and the doing makes both the person into an entrepreneur and the business into a real thing. For me, my business growth really began after I focused on my personal growth. I also think that the key to successful entrepreneurship, is the willingness to live through the discomfort, uncertainty and risk associated with building a business is necessity. When something bigger than you, bigger than money is driving you, it increases the necessity to rise up, to grow, to learn and expand in the ways the business requires of its founder. I think anyone can be an entrepreneur when they feel that call, when they feel that necessity to put the effort in and when they’re willing to grow along with it. For me, my personal growth is one of the biggest unexpected rewards of being an entrepreneur.

Thanks to P. Brendon Lundberg, Radiant Relief!

#13-I believe that entrepreneurs are made

Photo Credit: Ashley Rector

You are made during childhood when you watch your parents struggle to fight for their dreams, you are made during high school when you start to formulate your own ideas on how to change the world, you are made during college when you realize a traditional path isn’t for you and you are reborn an entrepreneur everyday of your business when new experiences humble you and your ideas pay off. I don’t think you are born an entrepreneur I think your circumstances and time make you one.

Thanks to Ashley Rector, Harness Magazine!

#14- Entrepreneurship is about nurturing the right skills

Photo Credit: Syed Farhan Raza

Problem solving, salesmanship, passion, risk-taking and extroversion are the necessary skills and characteristics required for entrepreneurship. Anyone can nurture them, start a business and make it profitable but the real entrepreneurs are born and prove out their DNA with hard work. Made entrepreneurs are good, but born entrepreneurs are great. The first can never beat the later. What researches say? The research by Scott Shane, a professor at Case Western Reserve University shows that most entrepreneurial traits are genetically heritable and it increases the likelihood of becoming an entrepreneur.

Thanks to Syed Farhan Raza

#15-In my opinion, entrepreneurs are born

Photo Credit: Tammy Sorrento

I waited until I was 48 years old to create my business. As a single mother of two children, I played it safe and made sure I was employed by a company with good benefits. Now that I am an empty-nester, it is my time to take risks and I built a service that protects consumers – this endeavor fulfills my passions.

Thanks to Tammy Sorrento, Fireball Approves!

#16- There’re so many self-made entrepreneurs

Entreprenurs can definately be made! We see self-made successful leaders everywhere, a few examples being Oprah, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson and J.K. Rowling. They were not born into wealth or success, but they had the passion and dedication to create and define their own successes. But, in order to make it as an entrepreneur, it’s crucial to be able to withstand difficulties and disaster, because entrepreneurship is fraught with both! You need to train yourself to become exceptionally resilient and develop a high pain tolerance. I see so many people starting their businesses who get one or two knockbacks then deciding it’s all too hard. So many people start their businesses and get one or two knockbacks then decide it’s all too hard. I’ve had more knock-backs, disappointment, and rejection than the average person has had hot lunches. The reason why I’ve achieved this success is purely because I’ve gotten up just one more time than my competitors did.

Thanks to Amber Renae

#17- Recognise you’re different

Photo Credit: Glenn Davis

It’s both. People that use the one-or-the-other approach when assessing if they can start their own business will become stuck. Those who find success in their own business usually do so because they naturally think differently 98% of everyone else. However, they also continually sharpen their attitude and focus. Successful entrepreneurs do not have the I’ve arrived so let’s retire attitude. They know they are different than everyone else and thus they keep making themselves better.

Thanks to Glenn Davis

#18-They are born. However..

Photo Credit: Teresa Kay-Aba Kennedy

Some people are simply born with an enterprising nature. They are the ones with the early lemonade stand or who buy candy and then resell it for a profit while their friends are playing games. They don’t seem afraid to try different things until something works. This leads them to be innovative as an adult and have the fortitude to be an entrepreneur. However, I do believe that others can become entrepreneurs through exposure, encouragement and hard work. If you are around business owners and/or influenced/inspired by an entrepreneur you may decide to follow that path. With determination, you can still be a success. I grew up with a mom-preneur who ran her global marketing consulting company out of our home. That allowed me to see what was possible as a woman. After a corporate career, I became an entrepreneur.

Thanks to Teresa Kay-Aba Kennedy, Power Living Enterprises, Inc.!

#19- It starts from childhood

Photo Credit: Carlyon Christian

After years of interacting with both entrepreneurs and employees on a regular basis, I’m firmly of the opinion that the majority of entrepreneurs are born and NOT made. From what I’ve seen, entrepreneurs are seldom satisfied with the status quo. No matter what they’ve accomplished in life (ex. a nice house, car or million dollar company) they are always striving to accomplish something greater. When I talk to these business owners, they usually showed that kind of behavior from childhood.

Thanks to Atlanta Green Maids!

#20- It’s nearly impossible to separate nature and nurture

Photo Credit: Brock Blake

I get asked this question a lot, as four of the six kids in my family are founders, CEOs or presidents of companies. Were we born ready to start companies or did our influential parents set us on a path to entrepreneurship? Modern psychological research points to the fact that it’s nearly impossible to separate nature and nurture. Our genes influence the way we experience our environments, and our environments and experiences influence our natural tendencies. There’s obviously something unique about people who succeed as founders of companies, but I would say there’s no single characteristic (either learned or inherited) that guarantees entrepreneurial success. It takes all types of strengths and individuals to drive innovation, change and revolution. I truly believe that entrepreneurial success is about a steadfast resolve and refusal to quit. Entrepreneurship is enduring long hours and late nights and uncertainty over making ends meet. It’s risk-taking, mistake-making and change-embracing.

Thanks to Brock Blake, Lendio!

#21- It can be sparked by the rough side of entrepreneurship

Photo Credit: Gautam Rao

Entrepreneurs are made, not born. Entrepreneurial personality traits such as tenacity, comfort with ambiguity, passion and vision can only be acquired through professional and personal experiences and setbacks. For instance, to use my particular case as an example – no one in my family has any ties to business. Working members of my family have been at the same company their entire career. I did not grow up with innate business sense nor did I start businesses as a teenager. What sparked my journey into starting 3 tech startups in the last 5 years was a series of failures that have helped me develop some resilience and made me realize just how much I wanted to have an impact, and being an entrepreneur is a wonderfully effective way of having that impact on your terms.

Thanks to  Gautam Rao, Pursuit!

#22-Nothing is preordained.

It is up to the individual to build the life they want. While each individual does have certain talents, skills and interested they have when they are born, it is up to the individual to follow their inner voice and make a life best for them. We all know individuals who are talented individuals who utterly fail. We all know individuals who are blockheads, yet they succeed wildly. Doing certain things in certain ways ensure success. It it not a birthright.

Thanks to Andy LaPointe, Traverse Bay Farms!

#23- See an opportunity and snatch it

Photo Credit: Libba Durrett

I think a lot of entrepreneurs fall into it and that’s a great path for many. There are some people that are born leaders; you see them excel from early schooling and into adulthood, always leading class projects, sporting teams, and so on. Those are obvious candidates for leadership in business, but a lot of us, like myself see an opportunity and snatch it. For me, I hosted my own wedding and saw how fun sparklers were for my family and friends. Once I realized there wasn’t a place selling them easily online, I opened a website from my house and almost two-decades later I’m still kicking with success. Granted I’ve grown my business and my entrepreneurial skills since then, but it just kind of happened. I think there is a lot of innate ability that’s a factor, some people learn how to lead, and others are just opportunists who strike at the right time.

Thanks to Libba Durrett, Sparklers Online!

Are entrepreneurs born or made? Why? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below. Don’t forget to join our #IamCEO Community.

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