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Are You An Entrepreneur or a Wantrepreneur?

Entrepreneur or Wantrepreneur

Small-business owners and authors, Cory Gregory and John Fosco, take a point/counterpoint approach discussing the mental resilience needed for success in business. Their book Entrepreneur or Wantrepreneur: A Brutal Crash Course in Truly Identifying Your Entrepreneurial Skill-Set takes a tough-love approach.

The authors utilize candor and brutally frank language as though the readers are eavesdropping on two colleagues having an intense conversation. Their approach allows their personalities to shine through as they provide clear guidelines that entrepreneurs can use.

(We are going) to guide you on literally the principles, the foundation of what being an entrepreneur is.”

Distinguishing foundational features of entrepreneurs

The book begins with the authors’ three pillars of the entrepreneurial foundation: Passion, purpose, and Vision.

They argue that passion is not a quality that can be learned, but is, rather, an innate part of what makes a person tick. Purpose, they contend, is what drives day-to-day motivation, “especially when you take on something that’s potentially bigger than yourself.”

If passion is the destination, purpose is the fuel in the tank.

Vision, they say, is the pressure on the gas pedal that gets you closer to that destination.

The authors encourage would-be entrepreneurs to use the tools provided to assess whether such endeavors are wise, given your constitution, approach to work, and responses to adversity. If you are honest with yourself, clear about your mental wherewithal, and have the “business chops,” the authors believe their assessments will determine whether that big idea should be pursued.

Among these assessments is the need to take a close look in the mirror at:

  • Your mental makeup
  • Your access to funding
  • Whether you take a short- or long-term approach
  • Your abilities to execute on a vision
  • Your exit strategy.

What’s in a wantrepreneur?

The notion of a “wantrepreneur” has become more popular in recent years. A number of traits separate the entrepreneur from the wantrepreneur, including:

  • Passion for business. Many people are passionate about the idea they have. What sets entrepreneurs apart is that they have a passion for business, not just the idea. Wantrepreneurs are more enamored with the idea or with the idea of being an entrepreneur.
  • Taking action. Wantrepreneurs talk about the next step to be taken: how to get the idea off the ground, the website built, the market identified and the potential investors wooed. While they may know how to write a business plan, they may never write that plan. True entrepreneurs move beyond designing the business model. They take action, not waiting for the prototype or website to be perfect.
  • True sacrifice. The wantrepreneur has a nostalgic notion of the hard-scrabble, roll-up-your-sleeves visionary who deliberately builds a company. They also see the financial and material rewards of becoming an entrepreneur so much so that they put those ideas ahead of the true work. An entrepreneur, by contrast, understands, embraces, and dives into the work, knowing that long hours, risks, and setbacks are, inevitably, parts of the process.

The book is a helpful guide for those who have a great business idea but have yet to dive in. By considering the tools and anecdotes contained in the book, a visionary can decide if the entrepreneurial path is truly the one to pursue.

Akira is the Founder & CEO of Cayenne Consulting. He has over 30 years of experience both as an entrepreneur and helping other entrepreneurs succeed. Akira earned his BA in Engineering Sciences from Harvard University. View details.

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