What makes an entrepreneur?

What makes an entrepreneur?
There are many people out there that are happy working the hours for a weekly pay check, and if they’re happy doing that then I’d say good for them.

There are also a fair few folk wanting or yearning for their own business, but it just never seems to happen for them. They know they want to leave the grind but the perfect opportunity has never presented itself.

To me the big difference between the entrepreneur and Joe Bloggs (no pun intended) is nothing to do with education, skills, background, contacts or being born with a silver spoon up the arse it’s far simpler and more even keeled than that I’m pleased to say.

I’m fortunate to know a few people both online and in “real life” that I would call entrepreneurs and I’ve read a fair few biographies of many more. So by learning from others and using a bit of common sense these are the essential entrepreneurial traits I’ve picked up on:

Everybody has at least one great business idea in their life, most people have more than one. Yet the majority of people have the idea, think it’s too big, too hard, not the right time, too risky, too boring, too what f’in ever and don’t pursue it. The difference with the entrepreneur is they follow through and put it into action.

There aren’t many problems that can’t be solved by a bit of good old fashioned perseverance. So you first web site bombed, build another. Nobodies reading your blog, do another post. You’re not getting enough search engine traffic, get another link. Keep taking action.

Fear of Failure
Nobody starts out planning to fail yet many will on the way. An entrepreneur doesn’t want to fail but isn’t scared of it. When a business fails it’s a great learning experience and provided you can pick your self up and start again (see persistence) fear of failure should never put you off doing something (see action), if you don’t do it you’ve already failed anyway.

Everybody has those 3 characteristics but it’s only the entrepreneur that chooses to take action on them. I reckon the most difficult part of being an entrepreneur is spelling it.

About Al Carlton

Al quit the 9 to 5 rat race in January of 2007, before then he was a software engineer and systems architect of financial system. Nowadays Al spends the days running his various businesses and experimenting with different ideas and opportunities.
Al can be found on twitter at AlCarlton.


  1. I always tend to type it wrongly as entreprenuer, I think the Oxford dictionary should revise the spelling, great post for a Friday, I certainly have had failed websites & ideas, few people are going to get it right first time so a failure can be a stepping stone to success.

    • Hey Scott -> If you’re not falling down, you’re not trying hard enough. 🙂 (my site slogan..heh) Seriously though, all great entrepreneurs fail and try again, and fail and try again, and success, and try again and fail and try again and success and ect ect. Even the most rich and powerful entrepreneurs fail now and again. It’s just part of the process.

    • Not to mention, I admit I, too, has a problem spelling entrepreneur. (The other word which I found spelling it difficult is “bureaucracy”).

  2. A lack of persistence is probably the most important reason why so many new business owners fail at the early stages.


  3. Great post. This is one area I look at most when friends come to me with ideas. It bugs me to death when they text or call me with the latest “cool” idea. Suddenly their idea was the last email I got about it and it soon is forgotton about.

    Action is the ultimate key to success. If you dont act on an idea then there is no point having the ideas and there is no point learning the skills needed. Whats the point thinking of things if you wont do anything with them? 🙂

    If you have the habbit to act on things and your ideas suck then things will still work because you will act on that problem and fix your bad ideas and turn them in to good ideas.

    Likewise, if your skills suck then your action will make you learn skills needed.

    I do think there are genuinly some people out there who dont act as much because the fear of failure is greater then the desire to succeed. Sometimes people just need a little shove and encouragement and they too pick up on it.

  4. When someone believes in a way that will change how they live their life then they are more likely to be an entrepreneur rather than another person miserably trading time for money behind a desk they dont want to be at.

    Im still trying to make a dream come true… found out about affiliate marketing 3 years ago and read enough about it to keep me interested for plenty of time to come.

  5. Very nice post. One quality I would add to the list — the ability to sacrifice.

    • You could switch that phrase around and say “The ability to be sacrificed” 🙂 Luckily I have a good supportive wife who pushes me to work on these things. I know of some who’s wifes probably would want to sacrifice their husband though. LOL.

  6. I’d actually add another attribute, the ability and bottle to take a risk, however calculated that risk maybe.

  7. So many people who want to be ‘entrepreneurs’ don’t take action and therefore are always doomed to aspire for their entire lives. Just as you say, if this is what you want then you need to take the risk and take action.

  8. I’ve had a failed business and thought it’s the end of my world. But I knew what I wanted from life so I picked myself up…less than a year later I became a huge success only to leave that business because of differences with a partner at the time.

    Because I believe in myself I keep going and that makes a huge difference as an Entreprenuer! (having the desire).

    I love that word so much (I’m so proud of what it means to me) and what makes me laugh is the people who hate it! - society in general are scared of what they don’t understand and that’s just ignorance.

  9. World´s ours.
    We just have to get up on our feet and start walking.

  10. Once again some great and inspiring information. I’ve became a dedicated reader of your blog and just want to say thanks for sharing so much helpful information with us.

  11. Your right about being afraid of failure.
    I am not afriad to lose,
    A domain might cost $7 and it could be a flop.
    I always taking that risk. In fact I have many dead domains collecting dust becuase there were all just flops. But the risk is always worth it becuase I have also come stroke gold a few of them.

  12. Tony Robbins said it very nicely .. “The most successful people aren’t the smartest or hardest working; they’re the ones who can cope best with frustrations”

    Best wishes,


  13. Very true. I would say Persistence is crucial. You won’t progress unless you persist. For me, fear of failure has always been a big hurdle to overcome.

  14. Your description of the entrepreneur is right on. I think it comes down to the entrepreneurial mindset — just as you described — one that is committed to the vision, courage to take risks and consistent in taking action. Without the perseverance to succeed in light of challenges businesses fail.

    And yes, one of the biggest challenges is spelling — entrepreneur!!

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