Are entrepreneurs born or made? This is an age-old question that surrounds much debate among entrepreneurs. In my personal entrepreneurial journey, I’ve also asked this question many times. Whenever I take on a new business venture with another person, I sometimes fail to see in them the same drive that I have. However, I must acknowledge that entrepreneurship is not a one-size-fits-all. So it is interesting for me to explore with you if entrepreneurs are born with an innate set of skills and characteristics, or can these qualities be nurtured and developed over time.
Nature vs Nurture
Let’s start by looking at it from the perspective of nature vs nurture. I know that some people say that entrepreneurs are born with an inherent set of skills and characteristics. They have the natural ability to spot opportunities and aren’t afraid to take risks and navigate the uncertainties that come in this space. I don’t disagree with this but my personal journey of entrepreneurship is a little different. From a young age, I had an affinity towards business and knew that I didn’t want to spend my life working for someone else.
However, I don’t believe I had the necessary knowledge or the skill set necessary to start my entrepreneurial journey. I had to cultivate the necessary skills and build the right mindset through reading, mentorship and most importantly experience. Even though my journey feels like I build my entrepreneurial drive by nurture I’m not entirely sure if everyone can achieve it. So does it mean that we need to have something in us from birth that pushes us to think outside of the box? Is that key to getting the first steps?
The Born Entrepreneur
Successful entrepreneurs are often associated with certain innate traits. These people often show a high level of creativity, a risk-taking appetite, determination in the face of failure and a natural ability to find and capture opportunities. Sometimes I feel that these are programmed into their DNA. As a result innovation, determination and creativity come naturally to them.
Entrepreneurs’ creativity comes from the fact that they are able to think outside the box. They can imagine possibilities beyond the standard way of doing things. Hence they have the ability to create innovative solutions to complex problems. This innate creativity pushes entrepreneurs to imagine new products, services or business models thus disrupting the market. So my question is, can we build creativity? I believe that through experience we can develop creativity to a certain level but it’s still unclear if we could really be as creative as a person who’s born with it. My reason behind it is that there’s only one Vangoue, one Michael Angelo. One could train to copy them but how many of us are able to create something new out of nothing?
Another characteristic that defines entrepreneurs is their willingness to take risks. Can we really develop this or is it innate to individuals who are born with it? Whether it is investing personal savings into a startup or stepping into new markets, these individuals thrive on the adrenaline rush that comes with risk-taking. I believe that this fearlessness often puts them in another category that’s unique to them.
Resilience is another key characteristic of successful entrepreneurs. This journey of an entrepreneur isn’t for the faint-hearted. Many challenges and setbacks riddle the journey. However, people born with an entrepreneurial spirit tend to become stronger in front of adversities. They can use it as a stepping stone towards success. Can we teach resistance? One needs to have the right mindset to continue through failures and emerge at the top on the other side. In my entrepreneurial journey, I’ve worked with many people who have easily given up at the first signs of failure, while I’ve moved forward. So does that mean I’ve got the it factor?
The Made Entrepreneur
Looking at the other side of the scale, my personal beliefs say that entrepreneurship can be cultivated. I believe that by creating the right environment, education and support, almost anyone can develop the skills and mindset required to navigate the world of business.
Education plays an important role in nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit. Formal education programs, workshops, seminars and courses focused on entrepreneurship can provide a person with the knowledge and tools to understand the business world. One can learn from market analysis to financial management. Furthermore, exposure to real-world case studies and success stories can inspire and build confidence as well.
Another important aspect of the nurturing process is mentorship. I’ve personally learned a lot from the experiences of seasoned entrepreneurs throughout my journey. Even in the present day, I continue to do so. Observing and learning from them can give way to invaluable insights and guidance. Mentors can share practical wisdom and allow novice entrepreneurs to avoid common mistakes and make informed decisions.
Finally, there’s no better teacher than first-hand experience itself. It can allow an entrepreneur to hone their skills in the real world. The hands-on experience of running a business, making decisions and learning from both successes and failures is an invaluable asset to becoming an entrepreneur. I can personally attest to this through my entrepreneurial journey. Through trial and error, I was able to develop problem-solving skills, adaptability, patience and the necessary resilience that brought me closer to success.
The Middle Ground: A Blend of Nature and Nurture
Considering my points above, I believe that the reality of the nature vs nurture debate oversimplifies the complexities of entrepreneurship. I think maybe the truth is somewhere in between. Where it is a blend of inherent traits and cultivated skills. I say this because even though an entrepreneur may be born and made with certain characteristics they continue to refine and expand their skill set through education and experience. At least in my personal view, I have yet to meet an entrepreneur who stopped learning and has just gotten successful with just their innate skills. So we can say that successful entrepreneurship is a culmination of both natural inclinations and cultivated skills.
Consider Elon Musk, the architect behind companies like Tesla and SpaceX. I believe that Musk possesses a combination of creativity and risk-taking inherent in born entrepreneurs. However, his success can also be thought of as a direct result of his relentless pursuit of knowledge, a willingness to learn from failures and his ability to surround himself with experts who complement his skills.
Conclusion: The Entrepreneurial Journey
In conclusion, I think the question of whether entrepreneurs are born or made is not a simple one. It is a complex combination of both natural and developed skills and qualities. Some individuals may naturally possess traits that align with the entrepreneurial spirit while others can develop these qualities over time with the right guidance and experiences.
Ultimately, the entrepreneurial journey is a personal one. Many factors shape the entrepreneur such as individual dispositions, education, mentorship and life experience. Let’s also acknowledge that not everyone can become successful entrepreneurs. Or better yet, let’s ask the question do they want to? So, as we break down the intricacies of entrepreneurship, let’s understand that both nature and nurture play an important part in shaping the future business leaders of tomorrow.