My theory is that you can’t really teach kids how to be an entrepreneur if they don’t know what it is. The hard part is defining what an entrepreneur is! If you Google “What is an Entrepreneur”, you will get 149 million results in a matter of seconds.
The first one listed is the dictionary definition:
noun: entrepreneur; plural noun: entrepreneurs
- a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so.
Here are a few more of the definitions that came up as some of the first search results:
Entrepreneurs know you need to be both a leader and a manager… in that order. They always start with a leader, and then find a manager. “What is an Entrepreneur?” by Ken Krogue, Forbes July 3, 2013
An article from Inc.com entitled “What is an entrepreneur anyway?” by Justin Bariso (Nov 28,2014) includes several definitions of an entrepreneur including his personal favorite (which happens to be my favorite of the article also): Rory MccGwire (founder of The Marketing Donut): “An entrepreneur is someone who, rather than working 8 hours a day for someone else, would prefer to work 18 hours a day for [him or herself]. (And one can then embellish it with half-the-pay, twice the stress, but ten times the fun, etc.)” The article also discusses whether or not if all business owners are actually entrepreneurs which I tend to think they are.”
One of my favorites is from Entrepreneur.com: Who is an Entrepreneur by Juan Jose de la Torre on April 29,2015; He includes many traits but ends up with I think is the real key: “Passion is the real drive:There is another element that really dwells at the center of any entrepreneur: passion! An entrepreneur possesses an interior fuel and stamina that drives his or her actions; this superior energy helps to overtake and surpass the different challenges and it injects strength to continue pursuing goals when difficulties arise. Anyone can be an entrepreneur and behave like one- regardless of whether or not they happen to be an equity holder. Ultimately, it’s all about the attitude when running the show.”
This is a great start but since there are 149 million results it tells us that it is not quite that easy to define! That is why “What is an Entrepreneur” is what I start with when I’m teaching young entrepreneurs – how can you teach them to be one if they don’t know what an entrepreneur is.
To introduce what an entrepreneur is and does, I use a short video from Grasshopper (a virtual phone company) entitled Entrepreneurs Can Change the World: http://grasshopper.com/idea/ The video includes many points about being an entrepreneur and provides a great base for a discussion of what an entrepreneur is and does. Some of the points in the video include:
Entrepreneurs can be anyone
Anyone can change the world
One person can make a difference
They may start with little or nothing except a brilliant idea
Entrepreneurs Work hard
They see opportunities
They think about how life can better and make it better
Entrepreneurs change the way we see the world
They are innovators, thinkers, doers
Entrepreneurs take risks
They create jobs and fuel growth
Entrepreneurs find new ways to solve problems
In addition to the points in the video, I emphasize that passion and purpose are extremely important (to keep you going when times are tough) and then we go into a discussion of choosing an idea that they can use their own unique talents and skills (I’ll save that for another blog post).
Being an entrepreneur is not just about learning the business skills to run a business (anyone can learn those skills); it is about what an entrepreneur mindset is. They must be able to see opportunities and have the ability to come up with creative solutions. They also need resilience and so when they fail, they can keep on going. In a future post, I will talk about the new Entrepreneurial Strength Finder by Gallup – based on research they state that there are 10 Entrepreneurial Strengths necessary to become a highly successful large scale entrepreneur. I believe that anyone can become an entrepreneur (or I wouldn’t be teaching kids) and that if kids can learn about the possibilities before they even reach high school they will be much more open to learning what is an entrepreneur, developing those entrepreneurial strengths and creating an entrepreneurial mindset so that they can become successful entrepreneurs.
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