Recently, someone on Gary Vaynerchuk’s team at VaynerMedia reached out to me and offered to share his content occasionally through the Go For Launch site. Of course, I’m honored as I respect Gary Vee…though not all of his rants will make the cut. 🙂
A recent post of his will get you thinking. It’s entitled The Entrepreneurial Spirit: Are Entrepreneurs Born or Made?
Gary’s short answer is: they are born, not made.
I don’t agree with his assessment 100%, but I see where he’s coming from.
I think people can learn the main skills of entrepreneurship, likely through trial-and-error (not getting an MBA). But I concur with Gary that there are certain traits that mark “entrepreneurs” vs. non-entrepreneurs. You might not feel you were “born” with these, but once you discover them, if you feel “unemployable” from that point forward then, congratulations, you truly are an entrepreneur at heart.
In my opinion, entrepreneurship starts with a burning desire for FREEDOM…that is, carving your own path and not just working for someone else your whole life…or accepting the status quo. Then it continues with a relentlessness that will propel you forward, regardless of how bad things will get. And trust me, things will get very bad from time to time when you run a business.
Gary lists these five key traits that he says “mean you have the chops when it comes to building a business and living the life of an entrepreneur:”
- Salesmanship. The ability to sell something is absolutely necessary to knowing how to run a business at any stage. Whether you’re starting out on the floor like I did selling a physical product or the CEO of an agency selling the talented employees, you need to know how to make a sale. (Brandon’s note: Agreed. As an entrepreneur, you’re always selling…and not selling means going out of business.)
- A chip on your shoulder. Yes, I’m serious. And that can come in two forms. Either you were born with nothing, zero, and you’re just hungrier than the average human. Or, it’s the reverse: you born into a lot of wealth and opportunity and you want to prove that you don’t need it, and can do it on your own. In either case, some kind of chip can push you a long way, especially for the amount of hours and energy you’ll need to put into your business. (Brandon’s note: This is true. You gotta have a hunger inside to make it worth all the risks.)
- An independent spirit. Being an entrepreneur means you rely on yourself and no one else. At the end of the day, you need to be 100% comfortable with making the final call, being able to trust yourself and your intuition. (Brandon’s note: OK, I agree to a point—but until you relinquish some control and find ways to rely on and trust other people, your growth will be limited. Dictators make terrible bosses.)
- Understanding consumers and consumer attention. Zuckerberg is a fantastic example of someone who truly understands and trades consumer attention. He got it with his product: Facebook. He held onto it by identifying and acquiring Instagram. And he saw it with Snapchat too, but that deal didn’t pan out. In any case, the lesson is that not only knowing where the consumer is, but also where they are going, is crucial. (Brandon’s note: Indeed—the best entrepreneurs live and think in the future and really grasp human desires and societal patterns—and they translate their vision into business opportunities in the present.)
- Patience. It can be a slow and lonely climb to the top. If patience is a trait you don’t currently possess, but you want to play in this world, I recommend developing it as much as you possibly can. (Brandon’s note: Absolutely—and this one surprises me coming from Gary, who to me seems like one of the most impatient people in the world. But entrepreneurial success is truly a long game…)
Read the full post from Gary Vaynerchuk here.
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