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The Secret Entrepreneur: Stop calling yourself an entrepreneur!

The word ‘entrepreneur’ has lost its meaning, says our covert boss, and it’s time to set the record straight. So what are you?

Entrepreneur is a much misused term these days. It seems that every reality TV show wannabe calls them self an entrepreneur, when they’ve no track record to point to. It’s time to set the record straight.

If you’ve moved from working for someone else to doing the same job but working for yourself, then congratulations, you’re a sole trader – but you’re not an entrepreneur.

If you’re running a lifestyle business, getting by making enough to earn a comfortable living but not working to grow something substantial – congratulations, you’re a small business owner, but you’re not an entrepreneur.

If you’re talking up your non-existent venture just to get yourself 15 minutes of fame – you’re not an entrepreneur. If you’re talking up your non-existent venture to try and get some traction for your business though, you probably are.

Being an entrepreneur is about taking a (calculated) risk to create something bigger than yourself. It’s about having a vision of something you believe in and which you can build into an entity with a life of its own. Something which creates positive change and which you’re totally committed to making happen.

Being an entrepreneur is about seeing what others don’t, and acting on it. Identifying the opportunity that lies behind the risk and having the guts to go after it, even when everyone else thinks you’re crazy. Getting things done, not just talking about it, is crucial.

Success isn’t a defining criterion. Picking yourself up after each failure, learning from it and starting again is. Entrepreneurs don’t give up when they hit an obstacle, they find a way over, under, around or straight through.

Being a great manager isn’t a required characteristic – in fact most entrepreneurs I know are crap managers. But they know this and hire people who are good managers. This goes for most skills in fact – entrepreneurs know how to get a team in place to make up for their weaknesses and deliver on their vision.

It’s making their vision a reality which matters to them – not the glory of being in charge or being the one who does everything. Delivering the result is what counts.

I’m not even convinced that anyone has the right to call themselves an entrepreneur, I think it’s a title best bestowed upon someone by other people with a more objective view. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who’s introduced themselves as an entrepreneur and I’ve agreed with their opinion of themselves…


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