Since I teach everyone in Third Circle Theory the framework for true entrepreneurship, it only makes sense that I take the time to help those still having identity issues around entrepreneurship. No matter where you look, it seems that you notice every other one of your friends working on a special project. From starting a side business, or coding an app; every young and driven person seems to be calling themselves an entrepreneur these days and is not afraid to be talking about it to the world either.
There seems to be, however, a high level of confusion on what an entrepreneur really is and when someone earns that title, rather than give it to themselves.
There used to be a time when you simply didn’t earn a title until you proved yourself competent within the field. You weren’t a graduate until you actually graduated, or a plumber until you actually fixed people’s plumbing and did so fairly well if I may add.
In today’s social world, it seems that everyone calls themselves entrepreneurs just because they have an idea, even if it hasn’t even been launched or started. So what really constitutes an entrepreneur ,and when should you actually call yourself one?
Earning the title of entrepreneur occurs when these three minimum requirements are made:
You have brought to life an idea that actually helped or facilitated society in one-way or another.
As you might have heard me say before, entrepreneurship is about value creation, while business is about profit. Although there is a fine line separating the two, I certainly wouldn’t call a traditional pizza shop owner an entrepreneur.
That said, part of being an entrepreneur starts with the birth of an idea that revolves more than just around your own self-gain. Regardless that it is technology driven or simply retail based, your idea must actually focus on helping others or simply solving a major problem others have, to which no solution exists.
Lowering pricing on an existing solution is profitable therefore business driven and not entrepreneurial, so solving a new problem becomes ultimately the best way to consider if the venture is entrepreneurial or simply a business.
You have monetized such an idea successfully.
Just as I explained in my book Third Circle Theory, the fine line between public acceptance of a new idea or its rejection lies within your ability to turn your venture into a business which ultimately sell this new idea to everyone who has a need for it.
Many great ideas die and never make it due to the fact that the main audience it is intended for never even knew it existed. While there are many exceptions to this rule, the rule remains that a great idea makes for the perfect business.
Monetizing your idea, knowing when to make it into a business, and understanding how to successfully sell it to those who need it is part of the process of earning your title of entrepreneur and shouldn’t be taken for granted. Every entrepreneur must learn to be a business owner, but not every business owner has to be entrepreneurial.
Your idea has reached more than 20% of its designated potential users.
Just because you have created a great solution to a problem and have created a structure to get it out there, doesn’t mean you actually have succeeded doing so. The last and most critical part of becoming an entrepreneur is the execution stage itself.
While you are welcome to hire people to do this for you, you and you alone will hold the responsibility of its success or failure, as it is your idea after all. This phase is the phase that 90% of wannapreneurs give up on.
Think of it as your midterm or final if you are in school. You have to demonstrate your ability to apply what you learned or you cannot graduate. The idea is simply to get people to be willing to buy your idea, product or service, then your ability to support its growth as more people do so; and finally improve it to a point where it becomes accepted by the masses (over 20% ) of its audience that is.
Once and only once these three criteria have been met can someone call themselves an entrepreneur and actually proudly defend that title as it is backed by more than an idea or the creation of one, but rather by one’s ability to facilitate a solution to a life problem despite all odds, rejections, obstacles and more importantly by overcoming any self-doubt.
This is what it means to be an entrepreneur, so if you simply have a great idea or are self employed, you might want to rethink what you call yourself.