We all have different images of what our mind's mental picture of an entrepreneur is.
From the womanizing charismatic founder of the Virgin empire, Richard Branson, to the t-shirt, blue jeans and sneakers image of Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg, to the tailor-made corporate tie and suit image of multi-billionaire Warren Buffett, there are vastly different personas at play in the world of doing your own thing.
So, are entrepreneurs really different from everyone else on the planet?
Do you have to be bold, brave and bedazzling like Branson to be an entrepreneur?
Or can you be the geeky collegial-like Zuckerberg to make it big?
Or do you have to dress the part, to eventually get to the suits and ties like Buffett?
Truth is, you have to be all of the above – and more – to be an entrepreneur.
Which isn’t really all that different from anyone else.
Charismatic charm, doing your homework, and occasionally putting on your best business attire all are part of life – think about the last job interview you had. Researching the company you were interviewing at, dressing for the part, and even putting on the charm are all part of the job hunting process.
What does make entrepreneurs different from everyone else is they take the ultimate risk – they don’t do what everyone else does.
We are taught in North America, and most other parts of the world, that if you get an education, you’ll get a good job with a great employer that will keep paying you to do that good job until you are old enough to retire.
But there wouldn’t be any employers without entrepreneurs.
Someone has to start the companies that are to do the hiring of the educated masses erupting from post-secondary schools, eyes glowing brightly hoping for that one job that will turn into a career for life.
That's just not the way it is -- anymore.
Unfortunately, thanks to corporate greed, landing a good job out of college or university is like winning the lottery. Sure, someone you know probably will, but most of your friends are stuck in the same dead-end part-time service sector gigs they got to put themselves through school, so they could land that career-starting job.
Entrepreneurs are different because they scoff at society’s expectations of them, and decide to do something on their own.
It does take an enormous amount of bravery to go against the norm, because the second you do that, everyone else around you thinks you’ve lost your mind, are going through a mid-life crisis, or worse, they just don’t “get it,” and they treat you like you’ve got some highly communicable disease, won’t have anything to do with you.
Until of course, their CV lands on your desk, as they attempt to gain employment at the highly successful business you’ve grown.
You have to be a risk taker, a visionary, a leader, and you have to see the way through all the noise and distress in the world.
Entrepreneurs see solutions where everyone else just complains about the problem. It’s easier to complain, and to feed off each other’s distain for what ails us, rather than to think of a solution.
How many times have you gone into a meeting, listened to complaint after complaint about the same thing, but the second you discussed brainstorming solutions, everyone in the meeting instantly puts you down, telling you not to bother?
That’s happened to me so many times in the corporate world. And that’s probably the saddest thing about the corporate world. It feeds off of its own problems, rather than looking for and solving those problems, which is why it takes forever for anything to ever happen in large corporations.
Unless those large corporations are led by an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurs are different from everyone else, because they look for solutions, rather than sitting back and complaining like everyone else.
That's why you don't hear about every company in the world, just the ones led by entrepreneurs. Not every company is like Virgin, Facebook, Buffett's army of famous brands under his Berkshire Hathaway umbrella, even Steve Job's Apple, Bill Gates' Microsoft, and the other big names run by people that dare to be different.
And that daring isn't really all that outrageous, they just solve problems, rather than following the norm of complaining about them.
So entrepreneurs are different from most.
The questions is, do you want to be part of the on-going problem, or do you want to be the mastermind behind the solution?