Are Entrepreneurs Born or Made?

Summary: Entrepreneurs are successful business people who are idolised for their business acumen. So what does it take to become so successful? Can anybody learn how to be an entrepreneur, or does it take a special quality you can only be born with? This article looks at both sides of the argument to reach a conclusion.

Image representing Steve Jobs as depicted in C...

When we consider accomplished entrepreneurs, we ask how they became so successful.  Were they born that way, or is it a skill that can be learned?  Most of the famous business people of today are entrepreneurs who started with very little.  From Bill Gates to Anita Roddick, these self- made millionaires have used their talent and wisdom to amass a personal fortune most of the world can only dream of.  So are these men and women merely lucky to be born with the talent for making money, or have they learned a secret formula to make themselves the icons of the rich lists that they have become?

A lot of successful entrepreneurs start business dealings at a young age.  Walt Disney was seven when he began drawing sketches and selling them to his neighbours.  While Warren Buffett started making money at five by buying bottles of coke from his father’s store, and selling them to friends for a small profit.  The fact that both these men had some business sense at such a tender age indicates that much of their ability must come from their personality.  They were born with the talent for making money.

Image representing Bill Gates as depicted in C...

At the same time, entrepreneurs also learn how to be successful from those around them.  Bill Gates was brought up in a family with an entrepreneurial spirit.  He saw the example set by his parents and was encouraged by them to set up his own business.  Anita Roddick also learnt a strong work ethic from her parents.  Therefore, when she started making cosmetics from household products in her garage, she had the stamina and commitment to see the business through.

Entrepreneurs seem to be born with a head for commerce.  Richard Branson was an academic failure, yet had the ability to make money from a school paper, through advertising.  He followed that by recognising a market for a mail-order record business.  Buffett also saw an opportunity at age eleven when he made his first stock market investment, setting him on the path he would follow all his life.  Disney also spotted a niche to market his animated cartoons.  The ability to see the best use of your talents, and make risky enterprises work in your favour is a quality entrepreneurs are born with.

Most entrepreneurs are either mentored by a knowledgeable peer, or have the support and assistance of family members.  Buffett was mentored by Ben Graham, a successful businessman who tutored Buffett at college and later took him on as an employee in his investment company.  Disney, virtually penniless, approached his brother for an investment into his new animation venture and both went into partnership on the first cartoon films.  Without this input from philanthropists and family both men’s entrepreneurial endeavours would probably have gone to waste.

Steve Jobs was adopted at birth and had an unremarkable childhood.  As a young boy he helped his father with an electronics hobby, which gave him a lifelong interest in electronics.  Jobs, like Branson, was intelligent but not interested in academics.  His schooling was uneventful and he dropped out of college to travel around the world.  He started Apple, with his friend Steve Wozniak, from his garage, and formed NeXT and Pixar when he was sacked from Apple.  Jobs was never interested in the money.  His entrepreneurial skills came by accident as he tried to change the world through his designs.  He said, “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful … that’s what matters to me.”  Jobs was a true entrepreneur by birth.

Anita Roddick

Entrepreneurs come in all forms.  All have an innate talent for business that cannot be taught.  This needs to be nurtured, however, to be of any use.  They often have to learn further skills to grow, becoming moulded into entrepreneurship.  Some learn a strong work ethic and get encouragement from family and friends.  These family and friends are then instrumental in helping the budding entrepreneur achieve their dreams.  There is really no tried and tested formula for making an entrepreneur.  They can be born, or nurtured, into having a different outlook on life.  As Anita Roddick once said, “An entrepreneur is very enthusiastic and dances to a different drum beat.”  It seems the only way to achieve entrepreneurial success is by a talent for business that is present from birth, combined with teaching and commitment from those who have gone before, making their protégés into the successes they become.

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One thought on “Are Entrepreneurs Born or Made?

  1. I personally admire great entrepreneurs like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffett, or Richard Branson. I always find inspiration in their words and work. They give me confidence to achieve what they have. These smart men are great role models!

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