Are Entrepreneurs Born or Made?
An Op-Ed from The Social Proof Blog Curator
I've been going back & forth in my mind about one major component of entrepreneurship—are people born entrepreneurs or are entrepreneurs made?
My circle of influence and I seem to debate this weekly.
Social Proof Family, this is going to be a real post, and I'd love to know if you can relate. Sometimes I feel like I'm writing in a vacuum. Let me know that I'm not, by responding in the comments where you stand on this debate.
Table of Contents
Asking David Shands
The Different Perspectives
So, for years I have been following multi-millionaire and charismatic entrepreneur Gary "Vee" Vaynerchuk.
I've always enjoyed hearing his origin story.
Gary's family were immigrants who came to the US for a better life. As a small child, through the family business, a wine shop, Gary learned the pillars of business.
Immersed in the environment, he worked in the wine shop as a teen and continued into his adulthood.
He observed his family his family for all those years and he implemented what they taught.
Gary believes regardless of their environment, some people have a natural propensity to be an entrepreneur.
He is an example of this. He would sell and trade baseball cards before he began working for the family wine shop.
Another interesting case study is the head of the Social Proof team, David Shands. He, too, like Gary Vee, has an interesting story.
David was working in the hospitality industry when he realized he wanted to do more with his life. So he educated himself and worked tirelessly to make his greatness happen.
One day while we were having some downtime between podcast shoots, I asked David, the title of this blog—are entrepreneurs born or made?
After taking a beat, he answered, indicative of how his mind works, utilizing both the right and left hemispheres. I'll share more on his perspective later.
Then there's me, Lynnette. My entrepreneur journey has, as the old folks say, turned me every which way but LOOSE. This complete entrepreneur skill set is NOT in my wheelhouse.
But having a life of financial freedom and flexibility is in my wheelhouse, so I do what I have to do to make it happen.
So, with an UNEQUIVOCABLE and resounding NO, I don't believe successful entrepreneurs are made. Specifically, I think some people are born hard wired to execute and excel in entrepreneurship.
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One day, in between shooting back-to-back podcast episodes, is when I asked David his thoughts on the topic.
He was looking intently at his phone and, as he tucked it away, I asked him if he had a minute. I saw the answer of "Do-I-ever-have-a-minute?" flash through his expression, but nonetheless he answered evenly, "Yes, what's up?"
I asked the question. His belief is both—that some entrepreneurs are born, and some are made.
He feels that there are some people who are born with natural skills and abilities inside to execute on a high level of entrepreneurships that simply won't go away.
Then, on the flip-side, there are others who have to work harder to develop the skills that it takes to be an entrepreneur.
Let me tell you, having worked alongside David, I double-down on my theory!
I KNOW why I am not a millionaire. As a Libra, I enjoy the balance of life, and am motivated by internal factors that drive me to complete things but not at the detriment of my comfort.
David Shands, on the other hand, GRINDS! My first week on the team, I saw him shoot three podcast episodes, a block of commercials and then had about three to four meetings. Oh, let me add, this...that was in ONE day.
My mind was blown!
I feel someone can't learn that type of discipline, drive and execution on that level. It's my belief, it is innate.
There has to be a burning deep inside. A vision that will literally haunt a person until they fulfill it.
For the sake of clarity, I will name this drive as the "entrepreneur gene."
David continued his response by saying, there are some people born with "the drive" (entrepreneur gene) and they choose not to use it. Then there are others who aren't born with it, and they have to work really hard, but they successfully make things happen.
That begs the question, does entrepreneurial ability and success also hinge on whether the person desires the lifestyle?
For those who have the gene and don't use it, I get it. The life of an entrepreneur is not always sexy.
Entrepreneurship is a journey not for everybody. Not sure if you saw the last upload, but check it out, because David & Donni they compiled a comprehensive list of why entrepreneurship sucks.
I have a colleague who believes anyone can be an entrepreneur, to which I highly disagree.
People sometimes don't show up for themselves personally, so how could they commit to something that demands nearly 100% of your time to be successful?
In closing, I will land my plane by saying this: entrepreneurship is NOT monolithic.
Just like no two people are alike, neither are their entrepreneur journeys.
Also, the opinions in this blog post are mine. Would you like to join the conversation and share your opinions with me?
If the answer is "yes" hit the comment section and give me some feedback. If the answer is "no"—it's all good! I'll do another post like this and hopefully you'll want to share!
If you made it this far, you're a real one! I'll see you in the next upload!
Peace & many blessings!
Team Social Proof