Jeff Bezos, Oprah Winfrey, Elon Musk, Beyonce, Mark Zuckerberg. Aside from being ridiculously rich and world-famous, they all have one thing in common: they’re all successful entrepreneurs.
They started life as ordinary mortals, but took their ideas, aims and ambitions and made them big.
While the majority of entrepreneurs aren’t in the same league as that rarified group, many of them will share some of the same characteristics: determination, persistence, and a willingness to call on outside help where needed.
Let’s take a closer look at what being an entrepreneur means, how many types there are swimming in the business pond, and what makes them different from each other.
What is an entrepreneur?
According to the dictionary, an entrepreneur is a person who “sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit”.
The truth is, defining an entrepreneur is more complex than that, because it depends on a combination of characteristics which can change depending on what business you’re in.
That said, there are some hard-and-fast qualities that entrepreneurs ought to have.
A passion for your project is definitely a must (have you ever met anyone who was half-hearted about their business and successful?), having a good amount of creativity and imagination.
Entrepreneurs also need to be driven and patient – not always the easiest mix – be eager to learn, have a good sense of timing and be willing to accept and take a few risks. Which brings us to our next question…
Are there different types of entrepreneur?
Absolutely, though they’re not mutually exclusive, and some entrepreneurs may find they fit into more than one category.
However, understanding what sort of entrepreneur you are can help you identify any strengths and weaknesses, and whether you need our help to plug a skills gap.
Arguably the easiest and cheapest way to enter the business world is via a solo side-hustle.
Thousands of people have discovered their hobby or craft appeals to online markets and created Etsy pages or their own small websites.
These solopreneurs are more often than not a one-person outfit with no desire to quit their day jobs or scale up, but who enjoy earning a little extra revenue doing something they love.
However, if they suddenly find sales going through the roof, a change of business model and an extra pair of hands may be in order.
Many solopreneurs make the leap from plugging away on their own to building a team around their product or service, expanding as demand requires.
While they don’t lose their entrepreneurial spirit, they are considered a small business – though the label applies to companies with under 500 employees, so it’s quite a large category.
Like entrepreneurs, small business owners have to juggle several tasks, and often rope in family and friends to get an idea or product off the ground and keep it there.
Every entrepreneur has at least one good idea – that’s how they get into business in the first place. They can take a product or service and put an entirely new twist on it, making the rest of the world hit their foreheads and wonder why nobody had thought of it before.
Then there’s the special breed of innovative entrepreneur that does this over and over again.
Think Steve Jobs, who revolutionised the world of home computing, before we all threw away our stereos and bought iPods, then took the smartphone to our hearts.
Of course he didn’t do it alone, there was a small army of people behind him, but Jobs’ is the name everyone remembers because he was the driving force behind Apple.
Hustler entrepreneurs embody the phrase “word smarter, not harder”. They don’t necessarily have an original product or service but they do have a passion for everything they touch.
Hustlers often start as solopreneurs, then work their way up the business food chain, making something out of nothing, with each success pushing them on to find the next one.
Hustler entrepreneurs can adapt to any sector and are brilliant sources of inspiration if you’re at a business impasse.
They say it’s the sincerest form of flattery but when it comes to business, copying someone else isn’t always welcome. Imitator entrepreneurs – as their name suggests – swim in tricky waters as they’re invariably trying to improve on other people’s ideas to make money.
Everyone might wish they’d thought of Airbnb or Uber first, but there are plenty of smart folk out there willing to copy a successful business model, tweak it and pass it off as something completely new.
Imitator entrepreneurs are a good lesson to businesses to keep looking at their model from an outsider’s perspective, helping identify its strengths and weaknesses and adjust accordingly.
If you want to be 100% prepared and know everything about the sector you’re planning to enter, then chances are you’re a researcher entrepreneur.
They stand a greater chance of success simply because they do their homework (and probably everyone else’s). They will know the pros and cons of their project, as well as the risks and rewards.
The biggest difference between a research entrepreneur and most other types is they won’t necessarily be passionate about whatever business they have, they’re in it because it offers the biggest returns for the least risk.
All the entrepreneurs we’ve looked at so far are at the starting-out stage – a buyer entrepreneur is someone who’s made it all the way to the top of the food chain and has money to spend.
Buyer entrepreneurs are already wealthy, either through their own success or via backers with deep pockets.
They then invest in smaller, up-and-coming companies they think are well-placed to ensure a solid rate of return. Think Meta (formerly Facebook) snapping up Instagram and WhatApp, back in the day.
Definitely one of our favourites, social entrepreneurs are focused on giving something back or meeting a community need.
While they are interested in making a profit (social entrepreneurs are not charities), they are also laser-focused on ethical business, offering fair wages while also working to make the world a better place.
No matter which sort of entrepreneur you are or want to be, we can help you achieve all your goals. Virtual Assistant Whiz offers vital admin support on an ad-hoc or regular basis. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s find out what we can do for you.