Three Things That Separate Entrepreneurs From Others

Joseph Stubblebine
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To outsiders, successful entrepreneurs sometimes seem like the wizards of the business world. They teeter precariously on the brink of catastrophic failure one day, only to rake in a seven-figure profit the next. If you ever wondered what goes through their heads while they do it, the following are three key attitudes that set true entrepreneurs apart from their paycheck-earning counterparts.

They're Not Employees

A real entrepreneur's mindset is fundamentally different from that of an employee. Most entrepreneurs tend to excel at planning and creating rather than running and sustaining a business. This may stem from the fact that entrepreneurs typically have little use for social conventions, including the idea that working eight hours a day, bringing home a steady paycheck and hoping to save enough for a nice retirement is the ideal path to success. When it comes to a "piece of the pie," true entrepreneurs would rather be pie makers than pie takers.

Entrepreneurs differ from employees, including the self-employed, in that they do not work in their own businesses long-term. They set out with the intention to create jobs rather than work for themselves or take a job from someone else. The true entrepreneur hires managers who hire employees. Never once do they consider becoming permanently, intimately involved with the everyday workings of their company.

They're Not in it for the Money

If you ever met a true entrepreneur, you know that passion drives him like nothing else. Entrepreneurs hold their vision of creating or improving a product or process until everything else becomes nearly inconsequential, including money. For entrepreneurs, money is little more than a means to an end. Outside of its role as a medium required to bring their vision to life, money has little value. They have a deep understanding that wealth is secondary and comes only as a byproduct of successful entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs rarely, if ever, set out with the intention to make loads of cash. Their key objective is to add value to an industry by transforming their idea into a reality, knowing the payoff will come later.

They Manage Risk Rather Than Avoid or Embrace It

True entrepreneurs, perhaps more so than any other group, understand the value of taking calculated risks. Unlike gamblers who live by the roll of the dice, entrepreneurs never take risks for the sake of taking risks. Rather than choosing to fail or succeed spectacularly based on a single act of chance, they move forward with their goals in incremental steps, actively seeking out ways to minimize risk with each step. Contrary to popular belief, true entrepreneurs never leave the success of their businesses to chance. They are always trying to figure out how to do something faster or cheaper to grow their company while making it less vulnerable to risk.

Successful entrepreneurship is the result of certain personality traits and ingrained mental processes innately possessed by a relative few. However, by understanding these three attitudes that set true entrepreneurs apart, you can gain a better understanding of their methodologies and motivations. It seems all you really need is a driving passion, an iron will and a willingness to get comfortable with uncertainty.


(Photo courtesy of Michal Marcol /


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