Defining the Entrepreneur

“Entrepreneur.”  It’s certainly a popular term right now.   It’s an easy thing to add to a website bio or LinkedIn profile, but what does it actually mean?  

During a recent recording of our upcoming Level 5 podcast, Kate Jaramillo, Ken Andrukow, and I discussed…

What’s the difference between a business owner or somebody who is simply self-employed?  The locally-owned bakery? Your dentist or CPA? There is a lot of context and nuance to the answer.

The defining quality that we all agree is the differentiator between the two avatars is (drum roll)…


Entrepreneurs, in the purest sense, are looking for problems to solve.  Where most business owners resist change and pursue the status quo, entrepreneurs are looking to break the mold.  The bigger the problem, the bigger the opportunity.

The visionary.  The change agent.  The innovator. The disrupter.  These are always flattering terms often times associated with an entrepreneur, but let’s look at the dark side…liability and risk.

Often times, the status quo is highly effective with no need to change a thing.  The entrepreneur may just screw it up just to have something to do. She can be a liability to the very thing she created.  

Especially, when you manage a staff of those who value consistency and stability.

And how about our old friend, risk?   I can tell you many stories, both personally and of others, where the business end of risk nearly destroyed companies, relationships, and retirement funds.  

But everybody loves a good “rock bottom comeback” story, right?   Perseverance. Tenacity. Grit. All these words make for great hashtags, but the story is only as good as the ending.

Ultimately, it comes down to understanding yourself (a unique ability) and your values.  It’s easy to cling to an identity that may not actually be true to oneself. That takes some perspective and the quickest way to get some is talking to those with experience.


So two key questions for you to ponder…

First, how do YOU define the entrepreneur?

Second, would you put yourself in that category?



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