Entrepreneurs are so celebrated they can even become celebrities. Take for example, Bill Gates, Donald Trump, Richard Branson, and Warren Buffet. They are all household names.
Entrepreneurs achieve great things, often creating solutions that make our lives easier and more interesting. And they also employ a great number of people.
Like any group of people, entrepreneurs have some common characteristics and traits.
Whether you’re trying to make money online as a part-time income or have the vision to start a company with employees, you’re already on the road to becoming an entrepreneur.
We put together this quiz as a fun way to see if you fit the mold of the stereotypical entrepreneur. But please realize it’s not a measure of your future success. It’s just for fun and you may learn some interesting facts along the way.
The statistics in this quiz come from a survey by the Kauffman Foundation, “The Anatomy of an Entrepreneur” published in July 2009.
Note: Take the quiz before reading about it below. That way you’ll get the best assessment. And remember, it’s just for fun. People with all types of characteristics and traits have started businesses. If you really want it, there’s no reason you can’t start your own business too!
Here’s a breakdown of the quiz questions and the assessment. Whether you are a traditional entrepreneur or not, if you think starting your own business is the right move for you, then it’s worth the effort to try. Remember, entrepreneurs come from all walks of life. The main trait of all entrepreneurs is determination. If you want it bad enough, you will find a way to get it.
According to the Kauffman Foundation the average age entrepreneurs in their study started their business was 40 years old.
But don’t fret if you’re not in this age bracket. There are many examples of people much younger and much older starting businesses. David Karp dropped out of high school at 15 and started the blogging platform, Tumblr soon long after. Colonel Sanders launched Kentucky Fried Chicken when he was 65 (even using Social Security checks to start it up).
Michael explained the entrepreneurial seizure as a moment that goes something like this, “What am I doing this for? Why am I working for this guy? Hell, I know as much about this business as he does. If it weren’t for me, he wouldn’t have a business.” Michael writes, “Once you were stricken with an Entrepreneurial Seizure, there was no relief. You couldn’t get rid of it. You had to start your own business.”
That’s why the founders of so many software companies were once employed as developers at someone else’s company. Once the ‘seizure’ took hold they found a way to start their own software company, hiring others and perpetuating the cycle.
The Kauffman study showed that over 95% of the business owners in their survey had Bachelor’s degrees. Nearly half had more advanced degrees. The survey included over 500 company founders from a broad range of industries, but we were shocked to see this statistic and think it might not apply to entrepreneurs as a whole.
We’ve all heard the stories of the CEO’s who never even graduated from high school. In fact, Richard Branson, the CEO of Virgin dropped out of high school when he was 16. He is a billionaire. Many other famous CEO’s never went to college or dropped out pretty early on like Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook and Michael Dell of Dell, Inc.
According to the Kauffman study a very high percentage of entrepreneurs come from middle-class. Under 1% come from very rich or very poor backgrounds. But there are always people who defy the odds. Take Oprah Winfrey for example.
She grew up in poverty in a rural town in Mississippi and is now a billionaire. Not only a talk show host, Oprah also owns her own (very successful) production company.
This is in stark contrast from the image of the single, young guy working on a college campus 80 hours a week. We hear about these stories a lot thanks to the like of Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook and Andre Mason from Groupon.
Lots of entrepreneurs surveyed in the Kauffman study never had any idea they would start a company.
One example is Poppy Bridger, a PhD chemist who retired at 69. After retiring she bought the lab she worked at and took over the company. We can’t be sure if Poppy thought she’d ever run a business, but being that she retired first we’re going to say no.
“We are a strong, robust, and prosperous nation. Optimism is the essence of our success.” said Bill Frist, an American physician, politician, and businessman. “It drives our creativity and emboldens our entrepreneurial spirit. It is what makes us invest in the future and accomplish our highest aims.”
Wow, powerful stuff to read and re-read when you’re feeling a pessimistic voice creep into your thoughts.
Nearly 75% of the entrepreneurs surveyed in the Kauffman study said they were motivated to start a company by their desire to build wealth.
Other top reasons included capitalizing on a business idea and that working for others did not appeal to them.
Traditionally, starting a business because you can’t find work has not been as big a reason to become an entrepreneur. The Kauffman study found that over 80% of those surveyed did not hold their inability to find a job as a factor in starting their own business.
But due to the recession, we wouldn’t be surprised if more newly downsized employees take to starting their own ventures. Take, for example, Recessionwire.com, a site where you can learn about the recession. Not coincidentally, it was founded by three women who had recently been laid off.
The road to a successful business is often not an easy one. So being stubborn can help you weather the storms you’ll see on the way.
“Grit is often the single-most predictor of success,” said Jonah Lehrer, author and journalist. “Grit is not just about stubborn persistence. It’s also about choosing the right goal in the first place.”
According to the Kauffman study many entrepreneurs work as an employee at another company first. In fact over 75% of those surveyed had been employed for more than 6 years. Most had work experience and did not come right from college.
But there are many entrepreneurs who skip the workforce altogether. And often they don’t just come right from college, but start way before. Asya Gonzalez started her entrepreneurial journey at the age of 13 by launching Stinky Feet Gurlz, selling t-shirts and other apparel. Her company was earning about $250,000 a year by about the time she was 15.
American television cook and author, Sandra Lee noted that resourcefulness helped her achieve success. “Raising myself and caring for my brothers and sisters allowed me the benefit of a lot of information that I wouldn’t have otherwise gotten. I had to be frugal, thoughtful, resourceful,’ said Sandra. She learned how to be resourceful out of necessity very early on and even cites it as a reason for her success.
How did you do on the entrepreneur quiz? Share your thoughts and comments below!