These next two posts arose from a conversation I had with one of my daughter’s friends (and we’ve known their family a long time). She was talking about what her and her sister had in mind to do when they graduate high school. They both said that they wanted to be an entrepreneur. So, I asked. How do you know that you want to be an entrepreneur? What do you think they do all day?

In fairness to our friends, it may be easy to see how that might be appealing. We see YouTubers, the radio DJ’s of our time, supposedly getting rich off of posting videos (for the record it’s not that easy). It is also brought up in “career development” classes now taught in many schools and on TV through shows like Shark Tank. But, what exactly is an entrepreneur other than a buzzword for someone who is young, rich, hip and upwardly mobile? How do you know if you are one?

Though I know it’s more complex than this, I tend to think of an entrepreneur as someone who develops a solution for a problem that they see in the world and supports themselves doing it, or should. The last part should be a requirement but really isn’t. Most true entrepreneurs embrace the altruistic nature of the problems they solve and getting paid for it is a big bonus, but they would do it anyway because it’s in their nature. The difference though between an entrepreneur and a philanthropist is the former expects and hopes to get paid for what they do, but most businesses you will find are a solution to a problem. So how do you know if you could do that sort of thing?

An article from Inc. Online Magazine attempts to address this. In “12 Signs You’re Destined to Be an Entrepreneur”, author Sujan Patel tries to lay out characteristics of these people that everyone now wants to become. Entrepreneurs like reaching for new achievements, taking risks and being in control as you might expect. These leaders take action and are tenacious when they do. They like to make their own money and are good stewards of it. They are also confident, curious and see the big picture. All of this seems to be the stereotypical small business owner or entrepreneur for sure.

There are some traits I took issue with from the article though. The author says that entrepreneurs don’t feel like they fit in which is largely true but not always. They see problems differently. Also, entrepreneurs are supposed to be introverted. While some may be introverts, I know many who are extraverts in every way. No matter where you land on that spectrum, these people are always thinking, always looking for the next problem to solve. Some do it on the outside as much as others do to themselves.

If any of this fits you then consider looking for unaddressed issues in your world and come up with a viable solution that no one has thought of yet. If you are willing to see it through in spite of what others say, and have concrete reasons to continue championing that solution, then you might just be an Entrepreneur.