What is An Entrepreneur? Everything You Should Know

If you’ve read much of my blog, you’ll have seen me mention my podcast series The Diary of an Entrepreneur. But what is an entrepreneur and what are the biggest benefits for entrepreneurs?

Personally I’m now well on the way along my own journey of entrepreneurship and I’m ready to share some of my own entrepreneurship tips with others just embarking on their business adventure. That’s why I started my YouTube channel and personal business blog.

With that in mind, it’s about time I talked about what I really mean by ‘entrepreneur’ and ‘entrepreneurship’ – so strap in and let’s take a deep dive…

What is an entrepreneur?

Investopedia offers a great definition of entrepreneur:

“An individual who creates a new business, bearing most of the risks and enjoying most of the rewards.”

This could be extended: some entrepreneurs buy startups, rather than creating them, and then put in the time, effort and expertise to grow them. But it’s a really great, simple starting point to understand the role of an entrepreneur.

Understanding how entrepreneurship works

Entrepreneurship is a lonely journey at times, but knowing your place in comparison to your overall organisation can help to keep things in perspective, whether you’re a sole trader or you employ 100+ staff.

I’ve talked in The Diary of an Entrepreneur S3 E18 about the importance of knowing what type of entrepreneur you are. If you haven’t watched the episode, I’d recommend spending a few minutes on the ‘Danny’s Business Thoughts’ segment, which covers setting out your stall as an entrepreneur in your own right.

For me, entrepreneurship is about growth. You need to be the kind of business-minded person who can take an organisation from infancy to stability, and on to infinity. If you keep targeting sustainable growth, the sky’s the limit.

Well-known examples of entrepreneurship

Sir Richard Branson

Sir Richard Branson received his knighthood for services to entrepreneurship and his Virgin brand has become a household name across a variety of businesses including music, television, mobile phones and internet, as well as weddings, rail travel and even commercial space flight.

Lord Alan Sugar

Knighted in 2000 for services to home computing and electronics, Sir Alan became Lord Sugar in 2009 when he was made Baron of Clapton. Ranked among the UK’s most influential entrepreneurs, he’s best known to many people for his The Apprentice catchphrase: “You’re fired.”

Elon Musk

Probably the most famous entrepreneur on the planet right now, Elon Musk pioneered the mass-market electric car industry, perfected reusable rocket boosters and is working towards sending humans to start a colony on Mars – not bad for one person. He’s a controversial figure, especially since taking ownership of Twitter, but he’s the living embodiment of “to infinity and beyond” in entrepreneurship.

What does the role of an entrepreneur involve?

An entrepreneur is, essentially, a business leader. But there’s more to it than just good management. You are the linchpin that keeps the wheels of your organisation spinning in the right direction – and stops them from falling off.

You’ll probably have been self-employed in the past, and you’ll need all the skills you’ve learned to promote yourself, manage your time, manage your finances and so on. But as an entrepreneur with personnel working for you, you’ll also encounter new challenges when it comes to managing your workforce.

The challenges of entrepreneurship

The biggest challenge of entrepreneurship is the responsibility. You’ve probably put your life savings into your business, or taken on debt to cover your startup costs. You’re fighting hard for brand awareness, positive press and market share, all while trying to hire the right people to work for you.

Over time the challenges change. Your organisation becomes more mature, and many departments may become capable of operating with little to no intervention, just a broad guiding touch here and there. Your managers share your burden, so that you don’t have to worry about the more mundane tasks.

But you will always be the figurehead of your enterprise – and for some people, that means someone to blame. That’s why entrepreneurship is a lonely road, and why it’s not for everyone, even if you have the technical skills to get a new business up and running.

My journey of entrepreneurship

My own journey of entrepreneurship is an open book. I decided early in my career that I wanted to share my experience as it happens, not in some memoir 30 years later. The Diary of an Entrepreneur gives you access to my entrepreneurship journey in real-time, victories and challenges alike.

Entrepreneur tips that have helped me progress

So, what are some of my top entrepreneurship tips? Here are a few I’ve picked up along the way…

Know yourself

I’ve already mentioned it above, but make sure you know what type of entrepreneur you are. This is so important as you start to set out your long-term goals and ambitions. I decided early on that I was going all-in, which is why I continue to set ambitious goals for growth and revenue – I want my business to go as far as possible.

Find a mentor

Although entrepreneurship is a lonely journey, a mentor can help you to feel a sense of companionship and understanding along that road. Find someone you trust, who has been an entrepreneur too, and who is willing to listen to your concerns and act as a sounding board for your biggest business decisions.

Overcome your weaknesses

Everybody has weaknesses. I have weaknesses, but my journey of entrepreneurship has helped me to identify those and work on overcoming them. Ultimately you’ll find that your own journey in business helps you to become a more fully rounded person in life – and that’s something you can take with you whether your business succeeds or fails.

How to start your journey of entrepreneurship

I hope in this article that I’ve been able to touch on some of the things to keep in mind when going into business as an entrepreneur, and why it’s crucial to keep your eyes open to the risks you’re taking, especially if you don’t yet know what type of entrepreneur you are.

If you’d like to talk about anything I’ve mentioned above, please get in touch and I’ll be happy to go into more detail.