Are entrepreneurs born or made?


This is a philosophical question and the simple answer is if you're an entrepreneur, then you're an entrepreneur regardless of whether you were “born” one.

I’m going to go against the grain and say people are born entrepreneurs and that they are not made. From observing people struggling as an entrepreneur and the ones that thrive there are 4 key characteristics that success entrepreneurs have..

If you have these characteristics or you’ve developed them, then entrepreneurship could suit you.

1. Enthusiasm

Overflowing and intoxicating enthusiasm for what they do. Can you teach someone this? I don't know - an enthusiastic kid will generally become an enthusiastic adult? My sample size is of course small, comparing myself to my peers and discussion with other entrepreneurs. Natural love for innovation and discovery is a must if you want to be a great entrepreneur. Enthusiasm is the fuel you need to jumpstart your team, convinces a co-founder to join you and the energy that will close your first round.

2. Optimistic

I have very rarely met an entrepreneur who gets far being pessimistic. Normally “entrepreneur advisers” fall into this part of the entrepreneurial ecosystems, they’re realists but they struggle themselves at entrepreneurship because of their black-hat approach. Can you train yourself to be optimistic? I think you can, but how deep does that optimism go, just surface level or to your core? Perhaps you can?

Optimistic enables you to go against the grain, fight a seemingly unfightable fight and keep going in the face of adversity. Optimism will keep you going and seeking opportunity when others have quit.

Lacking optimism will result in quitting with your first few knock backs, ‘no’s and startup critiques.

3. Contrarian

As Peter Thiel, Elon Musk, Sir Richard Branson and many other entrepreneurs speak about they some up the need to be a contrarian. As an entrepreneur you're likely to be changing the way things are done because you believe there is a better way. You need to change the way things are done and do things a different way. CTO that have this in buckets are great to work with and it's a must for a CEO.

Were you a troublemaker at school? Did you often challenge the way the system worked?

This would be one of the reasons entrepreneurs are often troublemakers at school. Rules and restriction or methods are made to be broken if there are better ways.

I think contrarians find them - Universities do this well when producing scientists. They generally question everything and have genuine curiously to explore and learn. They may believe the same things but they challenge each others research or methods, strengthening research as a discipline. You know if you fit this because if something seems hard, unfair or tedious your the person who comes up with ideas to change this.

4. A genuine want or need to change things

I think one of the reasons entrepreneurs are not often political and don't often get involved with policy, social movements  etc is because they create change through their actions and through what they create. As a child if you felt compelled change something to order to make someone's life better or to remove an unfairness it's that action towards change that creates a great entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs often jump into solution mode when they witness injustice. I love real entrepreneur  responses to political or social problems because they're straight to action towards fixing the problem.

5. Fearless

This is one that I feel I lack the most in. When you obverse really, really successful entrepreneur that have had large social impact they often perform actions or make decision with what appears to be lack of empathy for others. I believe this is because they believe so strongly in their vision of what they want to do that they don't get deter from outside cries of criticism, anger or  nay-sayers. Put another they often are publicly criticised and scrutinised before they achieve the at the time impossible. Despite this they often share their vision of a better future and follow through producing that better future.