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20 Entrepreneurs Debate if You Can Learn to be an Entrepreneur

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-Entrepreneurs are definitely made

Photo Credit:
Janice Wald

I’ve worked for four years to improve my knowledge in the areas of blogging, graphic design, SEO, social media, productivity, business, 
marketing, and technology that will improve online productivity. I’ve read articles recommending books that will boost my knowledge in those areas and I’ve read those books. I look forward to reading more. Two of those books are Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People and the Huffington Post’s Guide to Blogging. I attend webinars to improve my knowledge in these areas whenever I can. As a result of these efforts, I am  the entrepreneur I am today. I am also able to turn people into  entrepreneurs through my coaching services. If entrepreneurs were born, they wouldn’t need my services. Entrepreneurship consists of skills we learn, not skills we are born with.

Thanks to Janice Wald, Mostly Blogging


#2- Made and grown

Photo Credit:
Rebecca Lockwood

Entrepreneurs are made, or more specifically I believe they are grown. From as young as I can remember my mum would tell me stories of how she would live her life if she was a millionaire and what she would do with the money. The elaborate stories of how she would build a house and be able to have an amazing lifestyle became the making of a decision that I would shape my life around. I never knew at the time but as I grew into a young teenager I told myself that by the time I was 30 I would be a millionaire, and this is where my entrepreneurial spark came from. 

Thanks to Rebecca Lockwood, The Female Entrepreneurs Network


#3- We’re all entrepreneurs but…

I believe that we’re all entrepreneurs but that something needs to happen in order to awaken that spirit. Some find it early in life, others find it later, and some not at all. But if the right environment or experience is presented it could spark that entrepreneurial spirit to come to life. As I look back in my life I know for a fact that I didn’t have it in me when I was growing up even though my Dad was a successful serial entrepreneur. I had no interest whatsoever in entrepreneurship But after I graduated from college I couldn’t find a job and found myself being presented with a unique opportunity – buying a surf shop. I had no idea what I was doing when I bought the shop and got into retail but I was learning something new everyday and that is what I can point to as an experience and a random opportunity that sparked my 30+ years of my entrepreneurial journey. I’ve started numerous businesses and helped many others start their businesses and I continue to be drawn into the startup lifestyle. I can’t ever see myself working for anyone and I constantly find myself sharing experiences with others who are looking to find their place in entrepreneurship and that’s why I believe that we’re all born with an entrepreneurial gene and you never know when lightening will strike to fire up that spirit of adventure into entrepreneurship. 

Thanks to Vipe Desai, HDX


#4- Made by their upbringing and environment

Photo Credit:
Dennis Bartel

I believe entrepreneurs are made by their upbringing and environment. An entrepreneur is a risk taker and creative thinker, willing to make the 
necessary sacrifices to achieve independence. For many entrepreneurs, these traits come from growing up in a supportive family, where they were allowed to explore and encouraged to dream. However, some entrepreneurs are motivated to take risks and better themselves for the opposite reason — because they started in an extremely difficult or traumatic environment. Entrepreneurs like Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry had nothing to lose, which drove them to put everything they had into succeeding. Whether upbringing or environment, an entrepreneur will make the necessary sacrifices and risks to achieve independence or help others by solving problems. 

Thanks to Dennis Bartel, BizText!


#5- Born with the spark

Photo Credit:
Christine Perkett

I think that ultimately, entrepreneurs are born with the spark in their soul to take risks and do things differently. It’s a passion that is inherent – school and life (and good mentors) help bring it out in the entrepreneur, but the spark is there from the beginning. Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart, so even if you could be “made” into one, if you don’t have that drive, it won’t last. 

Thanks to Christine Perkett, Mindfull Marketing!


#6- It’s about the practice

Photo Credit: Gabriel Shaoolian

As Thomas Edison once said, “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” This general theory can be applied to whether or entrepreneurs are born or made. Talent helps. Being smart helps. But success is going to come from effort and how much heart you put into it. Those items will have far more impact than just having a natural edge or a higher IQ. Let’s look at Michael Jordan. Of course, he has an edge over most people in becoming the one of the best basketball players ever. He’s taller and likely has better hand-eye coordination than the average person. But it’s the amount he practiced and how much heart he put into his effort that made him successful. He wasn’t just born a great basketball player..  Similarly, being a great leader doesn’t happen overnight. Building a successful company takes time and a lot of perseverance. In fact, it’s more about learning to overcome challenges than it is about bringing your idea to life. A person may be very talented or highly skilled at something. But that doesn’t mean they’ll be a great entrepreneur. Being a great entrepreneur means knowing how to work and how to motivate others, having the strength to overcome constant rejection and taking feedback to improve your company service or product. 

Thanks to Gabriel Shaoolian, DesignRush


#7- Entrepreneurs are born, not made

Photo Credit: Steve Iskander

Education can help one polish skills, but it cannot change the predetermined genetics. I believe you are born with a greater potential for entrepreneurship, but without hard work and practice, knowing many entrepreneurs fail their first time, nothing will come. Some people are born with the risk tolerance, courage and audacity needed to fail once, get back up and keep striving for success. I think of entrepreneurship as similar to being musically, creatively or mechanically talented. All three can be taught to an extent, but those who are truly successful are born with the underlying ability. 

Thanks to Steve Iskander, DriverReach!


#8- Independency, Interest and Instinct make an entrepreneur

Photo Credit: Andrei Vasilescu

No one can claim that he or she had known about what he or she would become today. Hence, no one can be born as an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs are made of three ‘I’s – Independency, Interest and Instinct. A person’s independent attitude drives him or her to do something on his or her own for living. Then that person shows interest in entrepreneurship unless he or she wants to be an artist or a sportsperson of any sort. Now the person’s instinct helps him or her to decide what kind of business that person will run and how to run own entrepreneurship.

Thanks to Andrei Vasilescu, DontPayFull


#9- You become one

Photo Credit: Rune Sovndahl

Entrepreneurship starts with hard work and perseverance. In addition, I can assure you it is not for everyone. It can either be the best thing you ever do, or the hardest thing you ever do. You can start from the bottom and really make it, as I did. Success does not come easy, and you will have to work really hard for it. You need to have the will to keep pushing, and you need to learn to balance your work and personal life. I took a look at my story, as well as other entrepreneurs’ stories, and what I noticed is that very few had a definite path from the beginning. All we had was a path which we shaped for ourselves in the process of growing. To summarize, I believe that you become an entrepreneur rather than be born as one. 

Thanks to Rune Sovndahl, Fantastic Services!


#10- It’s a mix

Photo Credit:
Cassy Aite

I think this is a mix; I don’t think people are born with a genetic mutation that makes them more entrepreneurial, but I do think the 
circumstances you are born in have an impact on your ability to become an entrepreneur. The country you are born in, the mindset of your guardians that raise you, and your family’s financial situation are all factors of the hand you are played at birth. I will point out though that many of the greatest entrepreneurs showed incredible examples of defeating the odds coming from backgrounds that were discriminated against, at risk, impoverished, etc. I have an incredible amount of respect and admiration for these people.

Thanks to Cassy Aite, Desk Nibbles!


#11- Partly born and partly made

Photo Credit: Ketan Kapoor

I think an entrepreneurial bent of mind perpetuates from an eternal faith in one’s own capabilities that is conditioned through various experiences that a person go through in his initial years. A lot of attitudes related to experiments and innovation are formed in the formative years through upbringing, and some others while being on the job- that’s how both the ‘being born with’ and ‘being made’ part is covered. There are huge risks involved in entrepreneurship and the self-doubts take the best of you. I needed resilience more than anything else in my journey of entrepreneurial oceans. Starting from nowhere and building Mettl from the ground up into a steady state just wasn’t easy. Some of such habits are learned while others are intrinsic. While going through various professional commitments, building networks, and learning multifarious skills, many attitudes are internalized which give rise to a belief in starting one own’s venture, establishing a name for oneself, and the satisfaction that comes with creating something new. 

Thanks to Ketan Kapoor, Mettl!


#12- You’re born with the ‘DNA’

Photo Credit: Ollie Smith

I am a firm believer that entrepreneurs are born and not made. In my opinion, as a successful entrepreneur, I believe that you are born with the 
‘DNA’ required or you are not. Entrepreneurs are leaders, not followers. We are innovators, not doers. What is obviously around the corner to us is 
usually not even visual to others. We are not afraid of risks or challenge, in fact we welcome it. We are different to everyone else, bound together by that aforementioned ‘DNA’ – something that simply cannot be made. 

Thanks to Ollie Smith, ExpertSure!


#13- Both ways are paths to being an entrepreneur

Photo Credit: Paige Arnof-Fenn

There are successful entrepreneurs like Michael Dell and Mark Zuckerberg who were clearly born that way but the majority of entrepreneurs like me I think get into it after working for others earlier in their careers. I was always trying to bend, break and change the rules earlier in my career so looking back I am guessing the ones who are made can see signs of being entrepreneurial in their previous lives so maybe there is a little part of it you are born with but the rest can be cultivated when you get inspired by the right idea.

Thanks to Paige Arnof-Fenn, Mavens & Moguls


#14- Made out of failure and capacity to learn

Photo Credit: Nate Masterson

Obviously, no matter what you decide to do with yourself, it requires some talent, and entrepreneurs are certainly creative and talented. With that 
said, talent is learned more than it is natural. If you practice creativity long enough you get good at it. So what exactly makes an entrepreneur? Failure, and the capacity to learn from those missteps. Every entrepreneur fails a dozen times before they succeed, it’s just a question of whether 
you get discouraged and if you learn to do things differently. 

Thanks to Nate Masterson, Maple Holistics!


#15- Skills are learnt along the way

Photo Credit:
Tom Malesic 

I have worked with small business owners helping them grow their businesses for the last 22 years. Because of this experience, I believe entrepreneurs are made and not born. They all have a few traits in common like the passion for what they are doing and the belief that they can run their business. Everything else are skills they need to learn along the way. We aren’t born knowing how to hire people, manage money and market our business. We learn it over time. The small business owners who succeed are the ones who spend the time to learn what will make them successful. 

Thanks to Tom Malesic, EZMarketing


#16- Born that way

Photo Credit: Jameson Sharp

As a successful Business Owner, I feel entrepreneurs are born that way. I come from a background of adversity, witnessing poverty so bad that you have no choice but to get out and hustle to survive. So I learned at an early age you need to keep trying to find something that will pay you to lift you out of poverty. Some times you when other times you get used to adversity and push past the pain til you make it work in the end. I did. 

Thanks to Jameson “Doc” Sharp, BlackBeardsMedia!


#17- Can be either and needs two things

Photo Credit:
 Jonathan Barnett

So nature or nurture? It can be either of them, because every entrepreneur needs two things. First is drive, a willingness fail again and again as they pursue success. Second is the wisdom to accept those failures and adapt accordingly. Now, some folks are born with one and not the other, some have both from the get-go, and others have to cultivate those traits. 

Thanks to Jonathan Barnett, Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning


#18- Anyone can be a successful entrepreneur

Photo Credit:
Nicholas Scalisi

I believe entrepreneurs can be born or made. For example, if a certain individual was born into a lifestyle with the right resources and 
opportunity to become a successful entrepreneur I would consider this a born entrepreneur. Then there is a made entrepreneur that might of not had the initial resources as others but made a choice to learn and put them self out there to take a risk in any particular venture and become successful. Long story short, I do not think there is one type of entrepreneur, born or made. I believe anyone can be successful at this as long as they truly want it, believe in it, take the time to learn it and last, just putting themselves out there and not afraid of failure. 

Thanks to Nicholas Scalisi, Atlantic Blue Aquariums


#19- It’s about believing and mindset

Photo Credit: Jacob Dayan

Personally, I don’t believe that anyone is born an entrepreneur. I think it’s simply a mindset you you’re in. It’s a matter of believing in yourself and your product. And having the courage to stick it out and continue to push towards achieving your goals. There’s a lot of philosophical debate about being born as a blank slate or having some genetic disposition, but I’ll spare you the debate. It’s pretty interesting and worth looking into for those who are interested! 

Thanks to Jacob Dayan, Finance Pal


#20- Made, but formal education makes it hard

Photo Credit:
Manny Vetti

I feel the reason why many people would love to be an entrepreneur but never do become one is merely that of their education and surroundings. I went to business school thinking that I was going to get prepped for starting my own business and I’d be able to hit the ground running. This thinking was far from the truth. Even in business school, you are taught to fit into an organization and complete everyday tasks performed in businesses. Let’s face it, schools are geared towards the majority, and the majority will not be entrepreneurs. The mindset of someone who wants to be an entrepreneur needs to be changed after conventional schooling. For me, after business school and working years in a corporate environment, I read countless books about startups and entrepreneurs. Over the years my mindset shifted and was able to identify markets and successfully try new things with minimal investment and risk. I found a niche I loved and was able to leave the corporate world and have been on my own building business until I was ready to leave the corporate world.

Thanks to Manny Vetti, Backtaxeshelp.com!


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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