Movies like The Social Network and stories about young go-getters dropping out of college have cement the myth that being an entrepreneur is easy. That all it takes is a great idea, tenacity, and a little luck to build an empire and make your millions.
But it's not that simple. The truth is, it's easy to have ideas, but it's much harder to turn them into a sustainable business. As a result, we're left with a lot of wannabes. People who like the idea of being an entrepreneur, the lifestyle, and the potential to make money, but who don't have what it takes.
Could this be you? Read on to see if you're made of the right stuff, or if you're better suited to another career.
You know you're an entrepreneur if:
1. You know the difference between innovation and entrepreneurship
Innovators come up with new ideas or processes. Entrepreneurs build businesses. In other words, if you have a great concept for an app, product, or service, but you're not business minded (or haven't partnered with someone who is), you're probably a wantrepreneur, not an entrepreneur.
2. You put it all on the line
If you've quit your job, taken out a second mortgage, and are completely obsessed with making your business grow, you embody an entrepreneurial mind-set. When faced with obstacles or competition, wantrepreneurs give up, entrepreneurs thrive. Entrepreneurs don't stop until they reach their goal or until they have thoroughly vetted all avenues and have still failed.
3. If you can't put it all on the line at the moment, you are still hustling every moment you can
Not everyone has the luxury of quitting their day-job. Perhaps you are the sole income earner in your family, or have hefty medical bills to pay. In this situation wantrepreneurs use excuses to not follow through on their idea. In contrast, entrepreneurs become hyper-efficient and find a way to carve out time in their days to work on their business. This can mean making sales calls while walking the dog, or skipping that Netflix binge session to work for a few hours after the kids go to bed.
4. You are addicted to the business, not your idea
It's fine to have a vision, but if that vision won't scale, or if no-one will buy your product, then that's not a business. Entrepreneurs are constantly testing their idea and making changes that are based on the vision, but also an intelligent analysis of the market. Wantrepreneurs hold onto their original concept without considering the business.
5. You have a business model
If you're an entrepreneur, you know what you're selling, to which market, and your potential to make a profit. You've analyzed the competition and have established that you have a competitive advantage or a unique value proposition. If you haven't done these things, you're a wantrepreneur.
6. You've tested your business model
Have you put your idea to the test? Built a prototype? Gotten real people to use or buy what you're selling? Used that feedback to make a better business? Great. You're an early-stage entrepreneur. If not, you're a wantrepreneur.
7. You don't believe "If I build it, they will come"
The single biggest mistake wantrepreneurs make is believing that when they launch their app, service, or product, that people will flock to it and the money will start rolling in. If you are building something and you haven't put it in front of real people to test your value proposition, then you're a wantrepreneur, not an entrepreneur.
8. You don't hide behind excuses
Wantrepreneurs are full of excuses as to why they can't make their business work. Entrepreneurs don't excuse themselves. You know you're an entrepreneur if you can recognize your weaknesses, admit your failings and then find a way around them. Entrepreneurs know how to partner and outsource to keep the business going. Wantrepreneurs do not.