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 one can learn to be an entrepreneur. Below you will find responses from a community of entrepreneurs and business owners.

#1-Yes, but not really

Photo Credit: Simon Hansen

Despite there being numerous findings on entrepreneurship being something you’re born with, I still believe that being an entrepreneur is a skill that you nurture and hone through time. True, ceratin genetic qualities may make you more determined and inclined to love risks more, but being an entrepreneur is so much more than that. Entrepreneurs are made through failure, successes, and multiple tries. The most skilled entrepreneurs are those that are tested and strengthened through time.

Thanks to Simon Hansen, Home Brew Advice!

#2- Circumstances bring out the entrepreneur in you

Photo Credit: Lisa Parmley

I've been an entrepreneur primarily focused on digital training for the last 19 years and I definitely was not born this way. I went through school focused on my academics and trying to figure out the right profession for me. I finally settled on science and went through a Master's degree, still thinking I would make a good employee somewhere.  When I finished college I had 1 … 2 … 3 different jobs in my field all within the first year and a half. I had a wonderful boss at that third job, living in the city I had hoped to live in when it hit me like a ton of bricks. Having a job just was not for me. It felt more like a prison sentence. So I started looking for other options and finally realized I should start my own thing. Fortunately, my first go at it worked out.  Many of the entrepreneurs I meet have a similar story. Unless your parents own a long-term business, becoming an entrepreneur doesn't seem to meet anyone's list of top professions. It just gets swept under the rug until you are forced to sort it out.

Thanks to Lisa Parmley, CourseMethod!

#3- Born… and made

Photo Credit: Dana Humphrey

I used to make cards, birthday cards, xmas cards all kinds of cards and sell them in front of my house around age 7. I think that entrepreneurs are born… and made. You are asking the question of nurture vs nature and I believe it takes both. I was raised in a home that regarded money and success highly, so I was interested in those things from an early point. I started babysitting when I was 12, I made flyers, took a CPR class and promoted my new babysitting business to all the neighbors and I quickly had clients. I now own and operate a marketing and PR firm in NYC as well as two other businesses. I saw hustling and making money as a way to getting what I wanted and continue to pursue that.

Thanks to Dana Humphrey, WhitegatePR!

#4-Has to be a combination of both

Photo Credit: Hilda Pere

This question comes up a lot, particularly in this age where gig/freelance entrepreneurship is growing exponentially, CNBC reported there are close to 57 million entrepreneurs that fall into this category. That being the case, I believe the answer has to be a combination of both. Being a successful entrepreneur requires a specific set of hard and soft skills, a recipe of passion and resilience sprinkled with a sense of adventure. These are attributes that we, as humans, all have. They manifest in each of us in unique ways and nurture dependent on the environment around us. Take entrepreneurs groomed to take over family businesses that may have had access to a wealth of resources, being trained by the top echelon of managerial consultants or those that, through necessity, launched companies to tackle an injustice or problem they saw in their community, quitting their 9 – 5, with little experience, for a greater good. These two entrepreneurs still embody these set of skills. The entrepreneurial spirit is the human spirit, and the path to unleashing it can be innate and taught.

Thanks to Hilda Perez,Salud!

#5- Made but made differently

Photo Credit: Jesse Rio Russell, PhD

Entrepreneurs are made, but every entrepreneur is made differently. In all entrepreneurs there is a drive that comes from a history of hard work–all entrepreneurs believe in the value of working hard and building something. But for all entrepreneurs, the path from hard work toward building something is unique. Each entrepreneur goes on an individual journey that leaves them at a set of important decisions. Do I have the assets I need? How much risk should I take? What is the potential return? What would I do otherwise? These questions can shape the decision to start something new, and they are common to many entrepreneurs. But how you get to them, from working a long career before the scales tip, to starting young and building over the years, to being part of a team on a creative startup, to seeing less and less value in the stability and certainty of steady wages and seeing more value in the uncertainty of a new venture. Each path through life is different, a path that turns a person into an entrepreneur. And at the same time, there is that constant, that belief in the value of hard work, the commitment to build and to grow.

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Thanks to Jesse Rio Russell, PhD, Big Picture Research and Consulting!

#6- Entrepreneurship qualities are innate

Photo Credit: Allison Dundovich

Entrepreneurs generally have to be, among many qualities, flexible, creative, risk-tolerant and independent. Many of these are innate qualities that parents would tell you their kids had since childhood. Of course, a person can also learn these qualities, but for many, it's the personality type they were born with. I can't imagine working a traditional 9-5 job with limited vacation days and I think that's part of who I am at my core. I like the independence and flexibility of being an entrepreneur, even though that means I have to make sacrifices elsewhere in my life.

Thanks to Allison Dundovich, BLOOM Mindfulness!

#7- It just takes an open mind

Photo Credit: Michelle Person

One sunny morning in 1501 a large slab of marble was delivered to an artist in Florence, Italy. Prior to its delivery, the marble had sat in the studio of another artist untouched for over 10 years. The new owner worked diligently on his new slab of marble, making small changes every day-carving .a bit here and grinding an angle there, until, at the end of two years of continuous consistent deliberate labor, Michaleanelo had created David, which would become one of the most famous sculptures in human history.  Most entrepreneurs, myself included, are created similarly with the ups and downs of life slowly carving and polishing our skill sets, refining our visions, and fueling our drives. Much like the slab of marble, we did not start out as entrepreneurs, but with an open mind, the right tools, we can each become a thing of beauty.

Thanks to Michelle Person, Just Like Me Books!

#8- They're by definition, self-made

Photo Credit: Jenna Miller

At its core, entrepreneurship is extreme problem-solving. It requires being solution-oriented and buoyant. And, it requires learning from failure instead of taking it personally. No one is born with these qualities; they're developed over years, with patience and practice. In my opinion, entrepreneurs are, by definition, self-made.

Thanks to Jenna Miller, True Wine!

#9- It's all about the choice to persevere the financial trials

Photo Credit: Chad Hill

Personally, I believe that neither your genes nor your environment assures the likelihood of you being an entrepreneur. Your genes or your environment might lead you to be predisposed to certain traits that are important, even essential, to entrepreneurship. Being risk-averse, or having an eye to identify business opportunities or simply being extroverted and sociable are good traits to have, but these traits per se will not make you an entrepreneur. It always boils down to the choice of the individual to use these traits they've picked up either from their genetic makeup or their environment to become an entrepreneur. It is just as easy to think that people with these traits would choose to work in a company and climb the corporate ladder by using these traits or skills. It is generally not possible to predict who will be an entrepreneur simply by how they were raised or what they're made up.

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Thanks to Chad Hill, Hill & Ponton!

#10-An entrepreneur is born

Photo Credit: Andrew Taylor

I believe someone who has what it takes to really make a business idea work has natural traits and drive that isn't drilled into someone over the years. There are two kinds of motivators. Internal and external. Many of us use external motivators to push us to where we need to go, but internal motivation is what will make the difference. An entrepreneur, with the drive to work longer than necessary, sleep less than average and think beyond what is expected is much more likely to come out on top than someone who loves to live and lives to love.

Thanks to Andrew Taylor, Net Lawman!

#11- Some people are naturally gifted

Photo Credit: James Dyble

Anyone can become an entrepreneur, I have seen this time and time again. However, it is fair to say that some people are naturally gifted with ability. Nevertheless, that is true in any subject. But, with constant learning and commitment, novices can become some of the worlds best entrepreneurs. Lets face it, was Mark Zuckerberg born with the ability to create the worlds biggest social media platform? Of course not. Everybody, is born the same. Therefore, anything is possible.

Thanks to James Dyble, Global Sound Group!

#12- Entrepreneurs are made

Photo Credit: Andrew Cunningham

I’m a firm believer that entrepreneurs are made and not born. Anyone can be an entrepreneur – and not just a selective few we think are “born” with what it takes to become one. All the essential skills and characteristics that are needed to be an entrepreneur only require one’s commitment to learning and development.

Thanks to Andrew Cunningham, DailyPest!

#13-For some it comes naturally, for others it is their calling

Photo Credit: Nikunj Madhogaria

I think the surroundings in which we are brought up largely affects which skills we choose to pursue. So many times you must have seen children pursuing the same skills as their parents. A musicians' daughter has a far better chance of pursuing a career a music than that of a engineer's daughter. The same goes for entrepreneurship too. A business owner's son will most likely succeed in his ventures because he can always take examples from the successes and failures of his father. However, there's another breed of entrepreneurs that emerge because of their calling. They feel that they don't belong to their current job, or entrepreneurship is their only way out of financial burden, or they might be seeking financial freedom. Hence, I would say that entrepreneurs are both born and made.

Thanks to Nikunj Madhogaria, DealTohPagalHai!

#14- It's about having the right mindset

Photo Credit: Louis Schoeman

The most important mindset for any Entrepreneur is to be internally driven. If you want to succeed in life you need to push yourself. You need to stay dedicated to your plan and keep moving forward, even if it negatively effects your income. Being internally driven can also keep you going when you have already achieved a certain goal and maintaining that success. Being internally driven means that you are driven by your passion to meet a certain goal. You should focus on pursuing a social change or aim to change someone else's way of thinking rather than immediate wealth.

Thanks to Louis Schoeman, SEOPros!

#15- There are a million shades of grey in between

Photo Credit: Joel Thomas

Great question. I don't believe it's as black and white as born or made. I suspect there are a million shades of grey in between. Here's my story… Just out of college, I was dating a girl who was an executive assistant to a successful guy here in Orlando. He asked her to help him book a private jet, so she contacted me to see if I knew of anyone who could help. I connected her with a local guy and we put the the trip together. On the day of his flight, Dad and I went down to the airport to see the plane and get to know the guy who helped with the charter. After they departed, my dad told me something that I’ve never forgotten. He said “Son, you can build a better jet charter company than this.” That moment, those words he spoke to me changed the course of my life. I had a good job as a Financial Advisor, but I wasn’t passionate about it. I loved aviation and dad believed in me. So, at 25 years old, I quit my job and started Stratos Jets. That was back in the fall of 2006. Ever since, I have set out live up to that charge from my dad and continue to build a “better jet charter company”.

See also  30 Entrepreneurs Explain The Essential Skills One Needs To Be a CEO

Thanks to Joel Thomas, Stratos Jet Charters, Inc.!

#16- It's a little of both

Photo Credit: Krista Nerestant

As an entrepreneur and business owner on multiple ventures, the guttural grit and committed drive to creating and executing an idea into a success is essentially born within. However, I grew up as young as eight years old, exposed to working under multiple family businesses. Due to that life experience, the work ethic required for success was instilled and so I believe I was also made to be an entrepreneur. It's not enough to be born as one,you have to be humble enough to learn from successors before you who can help propel you to higher heights.

Thanks to Krista Nerestant, Self-ish Lifestyle!

#17- Made based on work attitude and ethics

Photo Credit: Scott Watson

To say you are born anything in life doesn’t make sense to me and sticks us in a box and puts limits on what we can achieve. To say “you either have it or you don’t”, is not true in my opinion. I've seen many talented entrepreneurs not fulfil their full potential because they're not willing to put in the hard graft or effort to succeed, however I have seen many people who wouldn't consider themselves entrepreneurs, work hard, find a business mentor, be coach-able and build a successful business where they can now call themselves entrepreneurs. So in my opinion Entrepreneurs are not born they are made based on the attitude and work ethic of the individual.

Thanks to Scott Watson, Wickfree Candles!

#18- It's about two things

Photo Credit: Chane Steiner

There's no question that not everyone is made for entrepreneurship. It's a hard, stressful job that demands much of your time and your life. If you aren't prepared to give up pieces of yourself for your business, you probably aren't made for it. That being said, there isn't one type of winning personality that makes you a successful business person. I would break it down into three main things that create an entrepreneur: Passion that might be perceived as confidence, determination that translates to hard work, and a lot of luck. You can find those first two no matter who you are, if you want it bad enough. But luck is something you can't bank on; it either strikes you or it doesn't.

Thanks to Chane Steiner, Crediful!

#19- Visionaries are born. Entrepreneurs are made

Photo Credit: Kevin Gyolai

They are made through the crucible of education and experience, no matter how or where they occur. They are made through collaboration and partnerships, obstacles and issues, failures and setbacks. They are made through the lifestyle they have chosen, which few understand and even fewer want. They are made through the entrepreneurial journey itself.

Thanks to Kevin Gyolai, Goylai Consulting!

#20- Entrepreneurs are born and can be made

Photo Credit: Tan Ah Long

There are people who are natural entrepreneurs. They started selling at an early age. To them, it seems easy and fun selling things to people.  There are those who are made entrepreneurs. They are usually in adults age about 30 years old onwards. They learned about the trade from the company they worked in then they venture out on their own. I am a made entrepreneur who ventures out when I was 33 years old. The reason is that I want to build my company and have flexible time with my family.

Thanks to Tan Ah Long, Kudos CAS Consultants Pte Ltd!

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

Mercy - CBNation Team

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(, podcasts, ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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