Are You An Entrepreneur and Not Know It? 20 Ways to Find Out

Are you an entrepreneur and not know it?

Working-from-HawaiiWhen I answer the question, “So what do you do?“, I rarely ever introduce myself as an entrepreneur. Because for those who don’t get it, it takes too long to explain and for those who do, well, it does not need to be said.

But still, a part of me wonders how saying the words actually feels:

I am an entrepreneur! What about you?

The dictionary, with all due respect to Webster and all, comes woefully short in giving us any clarity for the word entrepreneur. I mean, how much does “a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so” resemble the traits of an entrepreneur?

It sounds more like the job description of either a stock broker or a business accountant to me!

Entrepreneurs are emerging everywhere today, building up businesses one digital byte at a time. I’ve been meeting these amazing guys and gals in the last exciting few years of my life, and heck, I suppose I became one along the way.

Building a company may not be an overnight thing but becoming an entrepreneur kinda is. You are not “sort of” or “kind of” an entrepreneur or “sort of” or “kind of” an employee. There is very little grey here in this black and white world.

If you are miserable at your corporate job, and if the usual answers – the promotion, the raise, the new boss or even the new exciting project – have not fixed the hole in your soul that screams, “There has got to be more, God Almighty! Won’t you please show me the way before I go mad?” or your own calmer version, then you are an entrepreneur trapped in the wrong world!

Vice versa, if you are in business for yourself yet constantly yearn to be a part of a larger organization, work with a team and a boss that cares about you and under the mission and vision of a bigger company, and if you wish for the perks, the people, the environment that cultivates this type of reality, then you are an employee at heart trapped in self-employment.

You know where the tragedy is? It’s when we stop being honest with ourselves and try to do what may look right or please others or be the check-box to our skewed definition of success that bad things start to happen. There is nothing ever wrong with being one or the other but it’s a tragedy when you are trapped in the wrong world, honey!

So today, I want to shed light on the mindset of entrepreneurship definition for you. After all, I had no business coming into it, being a good old employee all my life with no experience whatsoever running a business, and less than 2 years, I’ve made that drastic move, just hired my husband as my first full-time employee, built up a little hobby of a blog into an incorporated entity with products, services and a brand I am proud of, and even signed a book deal while globetrotting.

I would say I was a born entrepreneur trapped in the other world for much too long. What about you? Are you in the wrong world? Read on and find out if you are a born entrepreneur and if you got what it takes to see it through!

20 Top Traits of an Entrepreneur

  1. Terrified: That’s right. For those of you who think entrepreneurs are these fearless warriors that go to battle everyday, nope. Sorry! We are terrified just about all the freaking time, but we just don’t let the fear shackle us to a wall that we nickname ‘security’ only to feel better. We push through the fear. Period. The fear has its place and it gets to live as long as it does not interfere with the forward momentum.
  2. Killer of Excuses: You can’t afford to bring along excuses on this boat. And you can’t afford to hang out with those who do! You just won’t survive. Excuses that keep you from going after the idea you can’t stop thinking about because you have to wash the car and visit your girlfriend on a Sunday or excuses like keeping up a social life or a sense of “balance” instead of vigilantly writing that book or finishing that proposal. Excuses get badly crushed around here.
  3. Patient: Even if an entrepreneur does not want to admit it, because he wants it all right now, the truth is that he is patient like these 2 entrepreneurs, because he is in it for life. He is never going back to the “employee”world if he is a true entrepreneur and the nature of the trade breeds patience down his neck every day until it becomes a part of him.
  4. Freedom Seeker: Can’t mess around with this one especially with the entrepreneur who has given it up once before (not me or anything!). Seeking freedom to do what she wants when she wants it and how she desires it, that’s her freedom. What projects to work on and what to do with the profit and where to operate the business from and a million other decisions about the business and ultimately about life. An entrepreneur is a freedom seeker!
  5. Empowerment: The mindset of an entrepreneur is full of empowerment. How else do you think he survives in this world full of sham and drudgery? He empowers his mind and his beliefs and therefore his actions by having faith in the ultimate outcome. He empowers his thoughts so that he can create the reality that he needs in order to pursue his entrepreneurial desires. As opposed to the weakness-oriented mindset. Familiar with that one?
  6. Self-direction: She doesn’t need a boss, she never was meant to have one. She doesn’t need to check in with higher powers or get validation from her Mamma or Pappa as to whether she is going the right way. She is self-directing her business and her life in the path that she deems best.
  7. Stubborn: Compromising on his ideas or giving in to “practical” reasons isn’t exactly a trait of an entrepreneur, so I suppose you would call him stubborn. He is stubborn about his ideas, even though he informs and studies all the time. He is stubborn about finding a new solution to an old problem, and stubborn about making a difference and finding the project that will allow him to do that. Yeah, stubborn.
  8. Confident: She’s not a scared little mouse, at least not anymore. In fact, she’s sick and tired of being scared, so she is confident. After all, we are all truly confident on the inside if we only remove those layers of doubt and fear and dust off our very own gift of confidence from the depth of our soul. Confidence is the best ally of an entrepreneur. Terrified sure, but confident, baby!
  9. Doing Sacred Work: An entrepreneur isn’t here to clock in and out, or to do some project and make a fortune and lay on the beach the rest of the time. A true entrepreneur believes his work to be sacred, calls it his life’s work and takes it seriously. He more than just loves his work. He owes it to the world to see it through.
  10. Purposeful: His work is meaningful, purposeful, and it impacts the lives of others in a big or small way but it’s imperative that the entrepreneur can see that direct line from his work to the end result. It’s not murky waters like corporate initiatives or obscure projects. It can still be complex work and require heaps of intellect but at any given moment, he knows the overall goal, the “big why”.
  11. Wealth driven not $$ driven mindset: An entrepreneur isn’t just here to make a pretty penny. She is here to create wealth for herself and for others. She is here to show that money can be put to fabulous, wonderful, amazing good deeds in this world and businesses can make dreams come true.
  12. Creative: The creative gene is not just set aside for the artists or the musicians or the painters. Every single one of us has the muscle if only we use it and an entrepreneur uses it a good bit. He’s neither afraid nor ashamed of pushing new ideas into the world and using his creativity to refine his craft and his approach.
  13. Dedicated: This is an understatement. An entrepreneur is dedicated to his work like a mother to her baby. Dedication runs in his veins and he never questions it. There may be times to set aside an idea for good reason or to close the door on a business for a better opportunity but the dedication to pursuing this path relentlessly and making something out of nothing on his own terms, now that’s a nonnegotiable.
  14. Aching to do the work – vacations are for the birds! Entrepreneurs are hard-core people. Productive working is a non-negotiable in their lives. And if you knew how incredibly satisfying it feels to do work that you love, then maybe vacations would become the chore, and I am one hard-core vacationer but I ache to return to my work, and to put my ideas and my creativity to work.
  15. Self-disciplined: Goal setting and goal achieving becomes a part of the true entrepreneur’s way of Modus Operandi. It comes naturally because nobody is forcing it upon him and because he sees this as a means to getting where he desires most to go. And it is the most natural way of operating to boot.
  16. Defying the Norm: Going against the flow is in the nature of an entrepreneur. He is not doing it just for the sake of doing it but his way is generally the exception not the norm of society and he is choosing to walk off the beaten path, come what may!
  17. Fiscally Conservative: An entrepreneur considers having a job as the ultimate risk because your security is completely out of your control. Someone else in some office could decide your end tomorrow and that thought scares the entrepreneur to bits. Risk then become a relative term and the wealth driven mindset of the entrepreneur makes him a fiscally conservative one who takes calculated chances to grow his assets and diversify his earnings.
  18. Voracious Reader: You cannot survive entrepreneurship without the intense desire to educate and inform yourself. An entrepreneur is a voracious reader of books, magazines, articles, and content that feeds his need to be on top of it all. Plus it makes for a good writer.
  19. Prolific Writer: Writing daily is the essence of all wealth but especially when you are an entrepreneur and need to express your thoughts and articulate your ways so well that the world takes notice. If you are an entrepreneur, you are a writer.
  20. Dreamer: Every entrepreneur is a dreamer, just like every single one of us was a dreamer at childhood and maybe even at early adulthood. Some of us are reborn dreamers, reclaiming lost hope of old dreams and starting new fires in our bellies for more. If you pursue the dream vigilantly, relentlessly, and persistently, then perhaps it pays to be a dreamer. In fact, it is the secret to the entrepreneur’s inner wellness and joy. Only time will tell but for now, we are definitely dreamers too.

I’m all out of steam, and it’s your turn now. What’s the next ultimate trait of an entrepreneur? Share your thoughts in the comments below and do not settle for what you are not!

  • Giriraj Sali


    • Farnoosh

      glad you think so :)!

  • Hannah

    Yep, by these definitions, I’m an entrepreneur :)

    I love how you start with ‘terrified’, I think a lot of people (me included) underestimate just how prominent that feeling can be!

    • Farnoosh

      I know, right? It’s not like we are fearless …. but we just don’t let it stop us! Glad you agree, Hannah, my fellow entrepreneur friend!

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  • Melly Deen

    Definitely an entrepreneur but have yet to do my own thing – the thinking and the mindset is there so that’s a great start …….. also, it’s the only way I can really think that I can be happy doing my own work in life!

    • Farnoosh

      Melly, that’s the first step and you can now start to move in that direction …. don’t worry about not having started yet – if you are an entrepreneur at heart, you’ll find a way to get there! All the best ….

  • An

    Love this list, Farnoosh! So many items that ring true to me! And love that you started with terrified :) Yep, feel the fear and do it anyway :)

    • Farnoosh

      An, so glad to see your beautiful face and guess what? I think we have the same haircut now :)! Yes, terrified but soldiering on, that’s correct babe :)!

  • timethief

    Without doubt I am and have been an entrepreneur. I am self employed as a writer and I am a partner with my husband in our art business. We have been self-employed for over thirty years. However, that phase of my life is one I’m slowly leaving behind as I move towards semi-retirement as I am in the forest dweller phase of life.

    I like your up beat and charming approach and sunny personality. I enjoy reading your articles and when I read this one I nodded my head in agreement all the way through it. I particularly like what you had to say in 20. Dreamer, despite the fact I have no big dream I’m currently pursuing.

    I’m feeling very good about where I’m at since I have determined to leave depression behind me. I am restoring and re-energizing by focusing on my diet, my 5 days weekly exercise practice and my tonglen practice currently. Once that is well underway I may dream another entrepreneurial dream, or not. Only time will tell.

    • Farnoosh

      If that photo is any indication, timethief, you are in the gorgeous youth & beauty stage of life and may you remain there for a long time :)! So happy that my article spoke to you, Ms. Dreamer and I am so very happy you took the time to share your poetic and beautiful thoughts here…. dream on and I’ll do the same … big huge hug of gratitude!

  • sandra

    Thank you so much, these 20 points describe me. I am not an entrepreneur yet but I am trying to come up with an idea for my future business. :)

    • Farnoosh

      Don’t give up for a second, Sandra, you will get there now that you know you are meant for the path! Thanks for dropping in!

  • Ann

    Wow! I love this. I walked right down the list and knew each item intimately. I’m building my website (a sister site to my 4 year old Colorado-based site) and have a zillion programs bubbling up in my head. You just added one. Homeschooling and working moms. It’s such a relevant topic. Homeschooling can be expensive if you live in a more wealthy area with many families shelling out thousands and thousands of dollars a year in cool classes for the kids. Not to mention that it often involves 12 years of being a one income family unless mom gets creative.

    But, it’s complicated to homeschool and work. At the same time, I know many moms are driven, like me, because of the finances and BECAUSE of the list above. Creativity! Empowerment. Biggies to us women. And also, my favorites on the list that make homeschool moms big entrepreneur candidates even if they don’t know it yet, defying the norm, voracious readers and killers of excuses. We do it every day! It practically defines homeschooling.

    Anyway, thanks for letting me share my excitement. This article is getting a space on my desktop. One more cobblestone in my wealth-driven path. : )


    • Farnoosh

      That’s such a great topic, Ann, and I know so many home-schoolers already including my lovely neighbor! But creativity and empowerment can drive us to amazing stuff, I love your ideas! Love love the idea of entrepreneurship spirit in homeschool moms. It’s no easy task to go against the flow of the norm but with examples and role models such as yourself, they can see that it’s POSSIBLE! so keep at it and I am so very happy this blog post served as inspiration…keep me posted, Ann!

      • Ann

        I’m putting this on my desk… “Creativity and empowerment can drive us to amazing stuff.”

        I’ll be back.

        – Ann

  • Jenn

    Farnoosh – AWESOME post! Honestly I think this might be your best one yet! I loved all of these points, they were spot on!! I especially liked #1, Terrified – I just recently blogged about the meaning of “brave” and how it doesn’t mean “not scared,” but rather “doing what scares you”. Glad to hear I am right in line by being terrified these days! LOL

    Freedom-seeker, Self-direction, Purposeful, productive working, dreamer…so happy to say that those are all ME! And even some of the points that didn’t quite seem like me (ahem, e.g. Patient), in reading your comments on them, I saw that in fact, they do apply to me on some level.

    So even though I may not have an entirely clear grasp of what my business will look like, I know without a doubt that I am an entrepreneur at heart, and I love taking steps on this journey to figure it all out.

    Thanks for a great, insightful post!!

    • Farnoosh

      Hi Jenn, that good huh? :)
      Yes, it’s true, we are all terrified, my dear, but still doing it nonetheless. I just heard on a podcast that entrepreneurs are the most optimistic group of people on earth! LOL!
      You know you are an entrepreneur at heart, I knew that when we first got on the phone and chatted, and you are going to figure out the other “details” but for now, the identity is key and you identify with an entrepreneur like nobody’s business. I can’t wait to see what you accomplish with it. Thank you for stopping by!

  • Maxwell Ivey

    great post Farnoosh; I started my business a couple years before filing for my domain and building the website. i was trying to hold on to operating games on my uncle’s midway after the failure of my family’s small carnival. when i finally realized that this wasn’t going to work and that it wouldn’t make me happy if it did; i decided to devote myself to the new business something all my own even if in the same industry. And I don’t know about or care about the title. all i know is that this is my passion. its the reason i get up in the morning, and its the last thing i think about before going to bed at night. its the one thing i have to force myself to put down in order to exercise and read a good book. and i think that is one of the best signs of what you are. if balance is a problem, then you are an entrepreneur. I have learned a lot from you and the people who follow you; and I hope to someday soon be just as financially successful with mine as you are with yours. Take care my friend, max

    • Farnoosh

      Dear Max, you WILL be financially and emotionally and every other way successful too. Mine is still a baby and growing, trust me. I am just pouring my heart and soul into it right now and I know you are doing the same. It takes time, and we need to be patient, that’s the curse of the entrepreneur – he or she doesn’t have much patience :)! and yes balance is definitely an issue .. never enough hours in the day for our babies …i mean our businesses :)! Keep hustling, Max! It will pay off.

      • Maxwell Ivey

        Deer Farnoosh; thanks for the encouragement. It helps a lot coming from someone who appears to me to be farther along the path than myself. Things do seam to be getting a little easier. Made a sale of a bumper cars in about three weeks, and got an agreement to buy on a coffee kiosk in only a week. Of course, this is the key buying time for u s and u k showmen and women. However, now i know more of the aussies, and their buying season is april to june or july. Social media networks and email mailing lists are stronger, so that is good. and yes you are right about there not being enough hours in the day. Did your husband work for you even before he was on the paroll? It would be so great to have even one employee. Of course, if i’m dreaming, tops on my list would be a car and a driver. And how long have you been at it. Me, i was working at selling rides occasionally for the family for a long time, then part time for a couple of years, and now have been at it full time for a little over five years. I know I can’t compare our results because we have different gifts and work in different fields, but I’d be lying if i told you i weren’t curious. best of luck to all us entrepreneurs, max

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