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25 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- They're definitely made

Photo credit: Michael Hammelburger

In my first year of business, achieving a work-life balance was extremely difficult because I had to focus on talent acquisition, cash flow issues, overtime work and a host of other problems as an entrepreneur. However, all things are difficult during the first time, as they say. I tried working with mentors who have become very valuable in my journey of becoming a successful entrepreneur. I would never be where I am today had it not been for the valuable mentorship that I have received from them. I was nurtured to become who I am as I learned to navigate the corporate world.

Thanks to Michael Hammelburger, The Bottom Line Group!


#2- It's a mixture of both

Photo Credit: Corilynn Bailey

I do not believe that entrepreneurship is taught per se, but growing up, I saw movies where people made their own way; I was very acutely aware of “if I work and create something of my own, then I have something of my own.” I think oftentimes, it is the entrepreneurial spirit that comes from the heart and soul of a person, but they are not in a situation where it is “try this and see if it sticks.” It is a real want to have something that you cultivate and create. So, it is definitely a strong mixture of both; you have that spirit, but you are constantly putting in the effort to learn. It’s mind over matter.

Thanks to Corilynn Bailey, Be Fearless You Foundation!


#3- DNA makes an entrepreneur

Photo Credit: Nancy Duitch

I am firm believer entrepreneurs are born with a fire in their belly to succeed and accomplish goals without any regard to time or lack of money. That fire is non-stop. For those successful entrepreneurs, failure becomes a learning experience in order to not repeat the same mistake again and there is no absolute with rejection as we are built to not take rejection personally. I have found those who put on the blinders and surround themselves with people who are successful in their areas of expertise make the most successful entrepreneurs. Dreams do not make an entrepreneur; DNA does.

Thanks to Nancy Duitch, Sera Labs!


#4- No one is born an entrepreneur

Photo Credit: Tony Mariotti

For years creating RubyHome, I was just an entrepreneur relying on my belief in my vision and working tirelessly toward it. I believe entrepreneurs are made. No one is born knowing how to start or run a business and it’s not easy to get one off the ground when an idea transitions from being a thought to reality. Entrepreneurs aren’t islands either, as a lot of hardworking people make RubyHome possible, for instance, and the success of the company is thanks to people from all parts of the process including the positive reaction and community of the clients along with the agents.

Thanks to Tony Mariotti, RubyHome!


#5- Anyone can be one if they want

Photo Credit: Oscar Hedaya

This is the modern-day “nature vs nurture” question. Simply put, entrepreneurs are made. But, I think there is more to it than just that. Anyone can be an entrepreneur, yet not everyone is willing to do what it takes to be one. Fear of failure, risk of the unknown, lack of funds or a way to find them…these are the top reasons most people will never be entrepreneurs. It is important to understand that I believe anyone can be one if they want, even if they start at the age of 45, by taking the skills they have acquired and applying them accordingly. There are people who are born with certain personalities, attributes, and privileges that give them the opportunity to become thriving entrepreneurs. The road may seem easier for them, but the hours still need to be put in. Unless you are willing to work all day long on your project and do whatever it takes to succeed, you will struggle as an entrepreneur. Whether you are ‘made’ or ‘born’, if you hunger to make it, you will. Remember, every President has a Vice President, so if you feel you don’t have what it takes to do it alone, find someone who can complement your skills. Making billions of dollars isn’t a requisite for being an entrepreneur; for some, being happy on their own schedules and making a decent living is enough to start their own business venture.

Thanks to Oscar Hedaya, The Space Safe!


#6- Entrepreneurs are made, so they need nurturing

Photo Credit: George Krueger

Like all large groups of people, entrepreneurs come in many varieties. A small percentage are born. Think Elon Musk. The overwhelming majority of us are made. Entrepreneurs need to be nurtured. They need to learn how to evaluate opportunities. They need to discover how to reduce the downside risk of a potential business to an acceptable level. Then they can move forward on a business opportunity with no fear of loss!

Thanks to George Krueger, BIGG Success!


#7- Both but needs conditioning

Photo Credit: Sue Delegan and Kim Hehir

We believe entrepreneurs are made and born – they’re born, yet a big part of it after that is conditioning. Being an entrepreneur takes a certain mindset. You almost have to be hardwired for it, otherwise you’ll just give up early on when things get tough. Then comes the conditioning; for us, our dad played a big role in influencing us to get to where we are today. He encouraged us to work for ourselves and helped build us up mentally. Our past work in the corporate world played a role too, teaching us not to panic under pressure and the importance of pivoting and problem solving. All of these things combined with a drive we were born with is what created the entrepreneurs that we are now.

Thanks to Sue Delegan and Kim Hehir, Brutus Broth!


#8- No one is born as a certain “something”

Photo Credit: Snow Qu

From my experience, I’ve learnt that entrepreneurs are made. The theory that entrepreneurs are born is nothing but a mere myth. My reasoning behind this is simple – you learn things with experience, and hence no one is born as a certain “something”. Yes, you do possess certain qualities and are born with them. However, with time as you grow, we all evolve as a person. Our nature, qualities, and personality traits get polished. We develop new characteristics and certain skills, which are all a result of one’s personal experience.

Thanks to Snow Qu, Linking News!


#9- Our life experiences are what drive us

Photo Credit: Isaac Y. Addae

I truly believe that entrepreneurs are made. While we’re all born with certain qualities that are commonplace among entrepreneurs, I believe that our life experiences are what ultimately drive us toward entrepreneurship. The incessant drive to pursue an idea or opportunity and mold it into a venture that provides value for customers is linked to something within us. At our core, our entrepreneurial drive is rooted in self-expression based on something we’ve experienced or overcome.

Thanks to Isaac Y. Addae, Pivot Technology School!


#10- Entrepreneurs are born, not made

It's something that you have to have a feel for, a passion for, a gut instinct for. That being said, it does not mean someone cannot work hard and become an entrepreneur. But how successful they will be is really dependent on their ability to learn and assimilate some of the mindset of successful entrepreneurs. Working, studying, and observing other successful people who have created thriving businesses from scratch can help them to become more in touch with what is needed to succeed. Also, even if you are not an entrepreneur by nature, you can always partner with people who are and together create something great!

Thanks to Craig Wolfe, CelebriDucks!


#11- Everyone has the potential to be an entrepreneur

Photo Credit: LauraDi Franco

People wonder if they’re entrepreneur material and decide they do or don’t “have it in them.” Which means they must be born that way, right? I believe the entrepreneurial journey is for seekers who are passionate about personal development and growth. They get to that point by uncovering who they truly are. Everyone has the potential to be an entrepreneur. The matter is more whether or not you’ve adopted a practice and discipline of awareness and self-discovery, and how intent you are on understanding the essence of who you are as a divine-human being. Then it’s about how and who you want to be in the world from that day on. Entrepreneurs reveal themselves when they’ve gotten so suffocated by the tight box they’re in they have no choice but to seek alternatives to that pain. They are uncovered, layer by layer, in a process of healing and revealing what they're on the planet to do; what their true purpose is.

Thanks to LauraDi Franco, Brave Healer Productions!


#12- They can be created out of circumstance

Photo Credit: Stephanie Schwartz

I never thought I would be a business owner. I wanted the security of working for someone else. But over time I began to feel bogged down and disappointed in my role at a large bureaucratic organization. That experience spurred me to launch my own firm and become a small business owner. In my case, my entrepreneurship was created out of circumstance. But, I suspect that I wouldn't be a business owner if I wasn't goal-driven, hungry, and curious. Sometimes the circumstances can spur us forward but you have to be wired a certain way – born that way – to make it happen.

Thanks to Stephanie Schwartz, Little Bean Group!


#13- A true entrepreneur is born that way

Photo Credit: Drew Mann

One could argue that life experiences could compel someone to become an entrepreneur. They may also feel inspired by others and want to do the same. But in reality, this inspiration comes from money. They see the flashy cars and homes that some successful entrepreneurs acquire and want the same. They chase the money. This is setting them up for failure. A true entrepreneur thinks of freedom, not money first. They see themselves working when, where and how they want, without the shackles of an employer. This is why I feel it's a trait you are born with.

Thanks to Drew Mann, Drew's Review!


#14- I believe there is a bit of both

Photo Credit: Nikolas Zetouni

As a biologist, I can affirm that our genes play a role in defining certain behaviours. Let's use risks as an example. Being able to take and withstand risks is something inherited from our parents and a good trait to have as an entrepreneur. Think of it as our fight or flight response. Good firefighters or soldiers have a tendency of fighting more rather than flighting. This is what we like to call being gifted. Whether entrepreneurs are born or made, the most important part of being successful is to continue learning about the trade and adapting to the environment. And that is also a trait that people can be born with or learn. Rinse and repeat.

Thanks to Nikolas Zetouni, Coded Minds Canada!


#15- They're made through deliberate practice

Photo Credit: Nick Loper

Entrepreneurs are made through deliberate practice, not by some lucky stroke of the genetic lottery. Just like riding a bike, nobody's born knowing how to do it! And that's actually a good thing because it means the necessary skills can be learned. Still, if you've been a life-long employee, it can be hard to shake that identity and the habit of waiting for a boss to tell you what to do. In that case, it makes sense to start small, practice an entrepreneurial skillset, and go from there.

Thanks to Nick Loper, Side Hustle Nation!


#16- It's all about willingness and desire

Photo Credit: Tamara Loehr

I believe being an entrepreneur is in your DNA. I get asked by a lot of aspiring entrepreneurs what it takes. I recommend they start with a quick assessment to ensure they are ‘who’ is takes. There’s a great quiz in the book ‘Entrepreneurial LEAP’ which I recommend to startups. I love that entrepreneurship is on the rise, especially with women as we need to work on the gap. it’s important that we don’t glamourise it. You loose more than you win. If however, entrepreneurship is not in your DNA, then you need willingness and desire. After all, if its been done before, its doable.

Thanks to Tamara Loehr, Beusail!


#17- They possess the ability to change things

Despite the overwhelming evidence that you accrue leadership qualities based on your life experiences, I fundamentally believe that entrepreneurs are born, not made. In my experience both as an entrepreneur myself and as a business journalist who has interviewed hundreds of startup founders, the quality that all entrepreneurs possess is the ability to question the status quo, and change things. I myself remember having very early memories of wondering ‘why' and questioning things that didn't seem to make sense, and many founders I've profiled over the years have echoed this sentiment. As an entrepreneur, you're innately unhappy with the way things are, and want to make them better. This isn't a feeling that can be ‘made' – it's either in you or it isn't.

Thanks to Teigan Margetts, Ethicool!


#18- The environment molds us

Photo Credit: James Bullard

It is not our blood that makes us entrepreneurs but the environment that molds us. I believe that the things around us are the ones that guide us to our aspirations to be entrepreneurs. As a music enthusiast, I never knew that I would be in the field of business and use my passion to build my own business. At first, music was the only thing I was focusing on, but upon the mentorship and assistance of those people around me, I was encouraged to pursue this path of entrepreneurship.

Thanks to James Bullard, Sound Fro!


#19- Indeed born with the drive

Photo Credit: Adam Truszkowski

I believe that certain people are indeed born with the drive to create and lead. They are constant dreamers. But not all of them make it as entrepreneurs because they lack the ability to follow through, or build teams that can do the follow-through for them. In other cases, especially in today's connected and option-filled world, there are people that spend decades mastering their crafts and eventually dip their toes in the water of the self-made / side hustle life only to have it eclipse their current lifestyle. It really comes down to having that spark and being willing to take action towards it. Success or failure, you'll learn more about yourself along the way, and the fire will be lit… it will only be a matter of time once you get a taste of being a creator.

Thanks to Adam Truszkowski, Painted Brick Digital!


#20- Entrepreneurs are made. Self-made to be exact!

Photo Credit: Randi Levin

Someone can be born into a family business, or become a founder at a young age, yet their success factor over time is based on personal growth and expertise acquired either prior to owning their own business or learned by being on the job itself. The art of being an accomplished entrepreneur is predicated on recognizing and leaning into ongoing personal and professional development based on all that an individual brings to their business from the start coupled with their ability to respond to the twists and turns of daily change and renewal. Creating a company is a creative work in progress and an opportunity exists in this space for anyone who has a belief, a vision, and a voice to lead and build upon their dreams.

Thanks to Randi Levin, Randi Levin Coaching!


#21- I believe they're made, and that is awesome!

Photo Credit: Eropa Stein

We are made by the life experiences we go through and role models exposed to us. Never in the history of humanity has it been so easy to start your own business. With the internet at our fingertips, we can literally test ideas and target markets without a budget. If that doesn’t excite you, if seeing other founders’ successes doesn’t get you pumped, then maybe we are made differently. I knew from when I was 6 years old, creating and selling my Dr. Seuss paintings to parents at the scholastic fair, that I was going to be an entrepreneur.

Thanks to Eropa Stein, Hyre!


#22- It's a magical blend of the two

Photo Credit: Allison Emmerich

I believe that entrepreneurs are a magical blend of being born an entrepreneur and being made into an entrepreneur. From a very young age, I've had the entrepreneurial spirit: from my obsession with garage sales to my insatiable hunger for freelance gig after gig, I knew that I was born to build a company. Before I even knew what an entrepreneur was, I was driven to be one. There is no question that I was definitely born an entrepreneur. But, it's so easy to be born an entrepreneur and lay dormant. You need to make yourself into an entrepreneur through an impenetrable work ethic and an appreciation of taking risks. Otherwise, you'll be stuck working for someone else and never evolve into the entrepreneur you were meant to be.

Thanks to Allison Emmerich, Emmerich Events LLC!


#23- You are born an entrepreneur not made

Photo Credit: Christine Hansen

I stem from an uber traditional academic family with no entrepreneurial background whatsoever and only having met other entrepreneurs by building my own companies and networking I can confidently say: you are born an entrepreneur not made. Every successful entrepreneur I have sparked with has something in common with myself and other entrepreneurs I know and cherish: a very special kind of resilience, nestled between courageous, romantic and sometimes even crazyness. Non-entrepreneurs don’t understand this kind of thinking in my experience. Which is also why it is important that entrepreneurs get support from people who help to keep them grounded. That is the best mix. But truthfully, when as an entrepreneur you meet a soulmate aka other entrepreneurs it is like meeting another unicorn in a world of horses.

Thanks to Christine Hansen, Christine Means Business!


#24- You acquire the entrepreneurial traits

Photo Credit: Matt Bertram

Entrepreneurs need to know how to sell, as you can’t run any business without this skill. Entrepreneurs need to understand what customers want and how to capture their attention. Most importantly, entrepreneurs need to have the hunger and determination to keep grinding away until they make it. I didn’t have these qualities when I was born. I acquired them in later life. So I believe that if you want it badly enough, you will develop the necessary skill set to succeed at being an entrepreneur. You can learn at any age, it’s never too late.

Thanks to Matt Bertram, EWR Digital!


#25- A little bit of both, but more of being made

Photo Credit: Cody Crawford

While I firmly believe that resilient entrepreneurs build themselves up from scratch, it's hard to deny the fact that many entrepreneurs have a shared zeal within them that's hard to ignore. Sure you can learn all the entrepreneurial skills out there but there's something that sets successful entrepreneurs apart from the rest. And it's usually a mindset to overcome every obstacle in their path and transmute it into something better. I guess you could say entrepreneurs are like your modern-day alchemists, in a way.

Thanks to Cody Crawford, Low Offset!


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

Mercy - CBNation

This is a post from a CBNation writer. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue 16 Media.

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