What Do I Need to Do to Become an Entrepreneur
by Tim Berry
Q: What do I need to do to become an entrepreneur?
Being an entrepreneur is simply somebody who has launched a business. It’s not a set of traits or qualities, a state of being, or an attribute. It’s not a degree or certificate. It’s not an expertise. It’s did you start a business, or not?
There are infinite ways to get there. No formulas or lit paths. Statistics show that most successful startup founders are in their forties, well educated, and have ample business experience. Of course that’s correlation, not causation. But it’s easy to see that in general, education is a good sign, and experience helps too.
Fall in love with the specific business first, then become the entrepreneur. I think you have to really bear down on a specific business, the actual business you want to start, not some generic ideal of starting some vague unidentified future business. To me it’s like getting married, in that a successful marriage isn’t normally just because somebody wants to get married, but rather because they want to marry a specific person. The have the person first, then the marriage.
Education matters more than what you study. While there is a general correlation between college education and successful entrepreneurship, it’s not about specific courses of study. Business, math science, tech, engineering, or liberal arts, even fine arts, it doesn’t seem to matter as much as just getting things done and sticking to a program enough to get a degree.
Experience in startups helps a whole lot. I’ve seen a lot of this as a member of an angel investment group. Startups are a special situation, and experience with startups, even as employee or consultant, helps a lot. First-time founders with no previous startup experience seem to have a lot more risk.
Dive into startup culture. Look at the topics here on Quora, find the blogs, read some books, attend meetings where people give pitches, listen to investors online, immerse yourself. I like Guy Kawasaki’s book The Art of the Start 2.0 and David S. Rose’s The Startup Checklist as two good books on startups. And I strongly recommend browsing here on this blog, and on the site that hosts it, Bplans.com.
(Note: this is slightly modified from my Quora answer to What are some of the most important considerations and preparations for becoming an entrepreneur?)
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