The age-old debate of nature versus nurture has resurfaced following the publication of research that claims you are not born with an entrepreneurial gene -- apparently, the secret lies in being involved in an entrepreneurial culture from a young age.
The study, by Vistaprint and OnePoll, looked at 500 small-business leaders (those with fewer than 50 employees) aged 18-plus. It discovered there are three decisive factors in becoming an entrepreneur, all of which are intuitive:
- Your education
- Your early career
- Your life experiences
The study also recognizes a requirement to have three personality traits:
Interestingly, despite what many people believe, becoming rich is a relatively poor motivator for being an entrepreneur -- fewer than 25 percent of the entrepreneurs who were researched mentioned money as a motivating factor. A far more important factor was the "desire to be their own boss," which was cited by 56 percent of respondents.
Autonomy (46 percent), freedom (45 percent), and being in total control of your work (41 percent) also featured highly on the survey.
What these statistics mean for you
So, are all of us entrepreneurs exactly the same? The reality is that we're not -- aspects such as your country of birth, culture, and socioeconomic status all have huge bearings on your access to entrepreneurship.
However, there are many similar traits for entrepreneurs: 45 percent like to learn, 45 percent believe they are curious, 44 percent are reliable, 42 percent are determined, and 40 percent are passionate.
It also appears there are some age differences. One in particular might surprise you. You might expect that younger entrepreneurs are more likely to take a risk, whereas a Boomer or Gen-Xer would be much less likely.
According to the research, that isn't the case. Forty-one percent of people 55-plus claim that they can and will take a risk, versus 25 percent of those under 34.
And finally, is there an element of pure luck when entrepreneurs become successful? Not according to the surveyed respondents, who believe that less than 25 percent of success is attributable to chance. As one of the researchers writes:
Entrepreneurs are well aware that luck, in the true sense of the word, is not enough to succeed in the long run. On the other hand, it may be possible to "provoke one's luck" by developing one's network, staying abreast of one's environment and opportunities, and giving oneself the means to seize them.
So what do you think? Personally, I'm not convinced that the success of entrepreneurs is entirely down to what you learn. There must be an innate element that plays a significant role. As ever, I'm keen to hear your thoughts.