Online versus Traditional Entrepreneurs: What Makes an Entrepreneur in the Modern Age?
What makes an entrepreneur?
There are many answers to that question, but not many right ones.
That is because the term entrepreneur has become quite common in modern parlance and not least because everyone is calling himself an entrepreneur these days. Given that, what is an entrepreneur, or entrepreneur definition?
Beyond that, what is entrepreneurship and who can become an entrepreneur? If everyone can call himself an entrepreneur, can anyone be an entrepreneur? The answer to that is a definite yes but do not confuse being an entrepreneur with being successful at it.
Those are two separate matters entirely. In this article, we will discuss what entrepreneurship means, who can become one, and how to succeed as an entrepreneur.
We’ll also go over the types of entrepreneurship out there as well as the traditional versus online entrepreneurship routes available to many talented individuals today.
What is Entrepreneurship definition?
Central to the question of what an entrepreneur is comes that of what entrepreneurship in its most general sense is. Broadly speaking, entrepreneurship is characterized by a willingness to take risks in order to make money and improve one’s lot in life; hence, why the word is stretched so thinly in the modern parlance.
Why this is a modern phenomenon, however, lies firmly in the relative difficulty in “going one’s own way” now as compared to previous periods in history.
True, craftsmen and skilled laborers have always had some kind of ability to make their own way in the world but, more often than not, people were confined by their geographic locations, family positions, and educational attainment to a much greater extent in the past than they are today.
Let’s take the example of a brick-and-mortar business as opposed to an online operation.
The former requires a loan or a significant personal capital outlay in order to just get started.
That means that businesses are saddled with a certain expectation of success that they may or may not be able to achieve right from the very beginning. Thus, the modern stretching of the term isn’t born out of a self-conceited arrogance but a reality that is markedly different from that of the past.
Because the barriers to entry are so much lower now than ever before many people can call themselves entrepreneurs.
Yet, as we hinted at in the introduction to this article, being an entrepreneur and being a successful entrepreneur are often two very different tasks.
Who Can Become an Entrepreneur?
We’ve established that the road to entrepreneurship is open to more people now than ever before but that doesn’t mean that everyone should become an entrepreneur. Further, as we’ve discussed, not everyone will succeed as an entrepreneur.
traditional businessman and an entrepreneur
One of the biggest differentiators between a traditional businessman and an entrepreneur is the ability to move and pivot in dynamic ways.
For example, a traditional business the manufactures prefabricated steel products cannot pivot to becoming a financial services company overnight just because that is a more lucrative area.
An entrepreneur, on other hand, can immediately pivot to more lucrative areas of business without the legacy associated with a traditional brick-and-mortar company. The scale to which an entrepreneur can do this often depends on how their companies are structured and scaled but one of the best modern examples of an entrepreneur in action is none other than Elon Musk. From Tesla to Space X, Musk uses his related experiences and expertise to inform multiple business ventures that are loosely tied together.
Take this example and compare it to Bill Gates who, as head of Microsoft, stewarded the company to dominance in the operating system market. But note that Bill Gates never moved beyond Microsoft and remained focused his entire life on the company that he co-founded.
That doesn’t mean that Bill Gates is not entrepreneurial or isn’t even an entrepreneur, but it does situate him more squarely in the camp of traditional businessmen than anything else.
Again, the key to entrepreneurial ventures and entrepreneurs is the dynamic of movement, the ability to change, and the instability and opportunities that it creates. Thus, a simple answer to the term entrepreneur definition meaning.
Remaining focuses, to the exclusion of all other things, is rarely the hallmark of an entrepreneur that founds multiple companies and makes impacts in multiple fields. Yet, even here, we run into a bit of a contradiction because focus is often touted as the key to business success.
Thus, the question of how to succeed as an entrepreneur becomes more important than who is an entrepreneur and what makes up entrepreneurial activity.
How to Succeed as an Entrepreneur
Like anything in life, succeeding as an entrepreneur is often a question of knowing how to stick to your plan and persisting through the tough times. You know, some of the same skills that it takes to survive in any business or endeavor that requires risk and offers reward.
In its most basic element, succeeding as an entrepreneur consists of knowing yourself first and foremost and then branching out from there in a way that accentuates your strengths and monetizes them.
This means that you need to know what you are good at, where you lack, and how you can reconcile the gap between these things. No one is successful in isolation but often discovering what and who we need is as much of a journey as finding out who we are and what we are capable of doing.
What makes a successful entrepreneur?
Success as an entrepreneur, no matter how it is defined, will require work, dedication, and a hefty dose of hard reality at times. Though many people like to wear the label, few are known as successful entrepreneurs.
To a great extent you are your own boss, but you are also subject to so many other bosses as an entrepreneur. Whether it is a client’s needs, paying your monthly bills, or keeping things flowing in general, you will find yourself stretched in new and exciting ways that you will never experience while drawing a paycheck from a company.
The key to success, no matter what field, is knowing how to survive when times are tough and how to thrive when the time is right.
Perhaps that is why knowing what type of entrepreneurship is right for you will help you make a lot of the critical decisions that could trip you up later right here at the onset.
Types of Entrepreneurship
There are many avenues to take in entrepreneurship, as we’ve discussed, and the one that is right for you might not work for someone else. Really, it is all about dedication: How much time do you want to dedicate to be an entrepreneur? Are you looking for a part-time entrepreneurial experience or do you want to become your own master and change your destiny accordingly?
Knowing what you want – as well as your tolerance for pain and discomfort – will help you decide what kind of entrepreneur you should be. Types of entrepreneurship include everything from running your own or multiple businesses to part-time freelancing work and the like.
More entrepreneurship factors
Another factor to consider is what can support your lifestyle and what is a viable business for you to master.
Again, because so much of this is trial and error, you might want to tailor your expectations accordingly. If you have a family, for example, it might be too great a risk to go out and get a loan from a bank to start your own company. In that case, starting an online business or something less capital intensive would be the route you should take.
You get all the benefits of being an entrepreneur – including but not limited to personal freedom and the ability to be your own boss – but you don’t have to meet a payroll or pay off a bank note. Even if all roads to entrepreneurship are, in theory, viable, the type of entrepreneur you want to be will determine the venture you create.
If you go for something that is part-time or even something that is more like a hobby, your revenues and the scale of your firm will represent this stance.
It is rare that someone just explodes into massive success without planning and you shouldn’t plan on it in the entrepreneurial world if it isn’t something you are working towards and seeking every single day you work.
As we explained, in years past, entrepreneurship was often more difficult than it is now and that is because we have the advantages of the Internet today.
But what makes online entrepreneurship different from traditional methods and how can this benefit you as a budding entrepreneur?
Traditional vs Online Entrepreneurship: What Path is Right for You?
The biggest difference between traditional entrepreneurship and online entrepreneurship is the number of roadblocks you encounter to getting one operation started over the other.
In a traditional scheme, you must outlay capital as well as convince others of your business and its viability.
Even if you front your own money, you still must pay bills and convince others to do business with you. In an online entrepreneurship scenario, you simply need a connection to the Internet, some kind of plan as to what you want to do, and a partnership to help get you there.
Convincing Amazon to let you promote products through their affiliate program is a lot easier than getting a vendor to supply you with products to sell on your store shelves.
The advantage to the online system is that it is quick and nimble: You can adapt your product offerings to suit the current market needs. Beyond selling someone else’s stuff or promoting their service, you can also sell your own products and services.
Consider publishing an eBook or even making a series of how-to videos on YouTube. The number of paths you have at your disposal to making money as an online entrepreneur is only limited by your imagination.
As in the traditional world, finding a specialty and sticking with it is still solid advice and likely the kind that will help you achieve real success in this market.
But even so, don’t hesitate to think outside of the box when it comes to online entrepreneurship. Innovation and pragmatic approaches are the order of the day online.
This helps keep the risks to you minimal and the rewards at a maximum level. As for whether online entrepreneurship is right for you or not largely rests on what kind of vision you want to fulfill. If you are searching for stability and security, neither path will give you that.
The inherent risk of starting a business
Starting a business in any venue of any kind is an inherent risk and one that few people are willing to weather. The best part about online entrepreneurship is that it requires so much less of everything and offers so many rewards.
You can also dip your toes into the pool gradually rather than having to go full bore as you would in a traditional scenario.
You can experiment and see what works and go hard in that area rather than taking a huge bet with your (or someone else’s) money in a traditional business venture. This risk/reward ratio is why so many people are turning to the freedom the Internet offers.
While a traditional job offers you the security of a job and the benefits that come with that, you are not your own boss and you will live forever at the whim of things you truly have no control over at the end of the day.
Even if this dynamic changes somewhat when you are in business for yourself, you still must keep the fundamentals in mind and, even though you’re your own boss, you are still the servant of many masters.
This brings new pressures as well as new rewards to your table and it is whether you want this or can even handle the pressures of it that will determine if you succeed or not.
A truism with both traditional and online entrepreneurship, the world of business is often dictated by demand, supply, and a willingness to survive throughout all the ups and downs that curve can bring, and that is truly the real entrepreneur definition.