How to spot entrepreneurs in the wild

Thursday 24 September, 2015 | By: Default Admin | Tags: startup, entrepreneur, leadership

They are the people who make things happen. They are the ones who don't, won't or can't go with the flow. From the Elon Musks of the world, through to the 15-year-old with their first online storefront, entrepreneurs are easy to spot if you know what to look for.




Often called "mavericks" or "renegades", entrepreneurs are often neither. They're simply not satisfied with other people's ideas of how things should be. Ignoring convention, they satisfy their own standards. Take the case of Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen. While owning a super-yacht and a fighter jet, he saw not reason to upgrade his daily driver, a 1988 Mazda ute, for 20 years.

Law of attraction

Around entrepreneurs, things happen that are greater than the sum of their parts. It is common to hear entrepreneurs say having the right team is crucial. The thing is, because like attracts like, entrepreneurs don't have to find the right people. The natural magnetism of achievement means entrepreneurs attract an eclectic mix of passionate "doers" - they are the right people because they can do just about anything. The lazy might be attracted, but they can't keep up.


Virgin's Richard Branson writes in that delegation is essential for business growth. "This is a common quandary for business founders, since the early days are all about survival. After launch, so much of your energy goes into keeping the business afloat as you resolve the unexpected issues connected to developing your product or service. But you must be able to move on from that role, or the business will not grow and thrive in the long run."


It is self-direction, not selfishness, that entrepreneurs show in their drive to see their ideas to fruition. Everyone has this, but entrepreneurs have a higher than usual appetite for this type of personal legacy. Investopedia warns that this can come across as "stubborness in their intense focus and faith", but this hunger is nevertheless the wellspring of their special energy.

Risk response

Entrepreneurs don't take risks because they love risks. They accept risk because their need for personal fulfilment is stronger than their fear. Some have even learned to use fear as motivation. Dale Carnegie says: "Do the thing you fear, and continue to do so. This is the quickest and surest way of all victory over fear."

Fulfilment, not weath

An entrepreneur can see a rich person with no passion and only see failure. Likewise, an entrepreneur might a pauper who is pursuing their dreams as pure success.


The entrepreneur loves to learn, however they may despise being taught. It's a generalisation to say that entrepreneurs drop out of school. Think of billionaires Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson and Mark Zuckerburg - none of those guys dropped out of anything. Rather, their unstoppable curiosity and self-direction meant the conforming pace and scope of schooling had nothing for them. Entrepreneurs don't drop out; they take off, merrily leaving behind any respected institution that can't or won't keep up.


Though most share broad traits, all entrepreneurs have character, be they infamous (think Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff) or beloved (think Richard Branson). Character is willpower in motion: a distinctive brand of personal action. Through relentless self-direction (and often a good dollop of self-promotion, each entrepreneur by definition displays powerful and distinct individuality. 

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