There are currently over 31 million entrepreneurs in the US -- all chasing their dreams of being their own boss. While opportunity and financial freedom are two common factors that drive entrepreneurial success, they're not the only ones.
People find motivation in the unlikeliest of places, which is why there are many different types of entrepreneurs.
Are you an aggressive go-getter who thinks big and takes risks? Or are you more reserved about your investments?
If you're getting ready to start your own business, this guide will help you navigate the waters and identify the type of entrepreneur you are. For those with years of experience under their belts, you may learn a thing or two about expanding your entrepreneurial mindset.
Grab hold of your business instincts and let's explore the different types of entrepreneurs and tricks for figuring out which type you are.
Not all entrepreneurs are created equal. With countless business opportunities out there, you can be your own boss in a number of ways.
From investors and behind-the-scenes business owners to those looking for a side hustle, the entrepreneurial lifestyle is ripe for the picking. You just need to know which path best suits your personality, budget, and long-term goals.
Do you have the next best idea? Are you constantly brainstorming products that could potentially improve the lives of millions? If so, you're an innovator.
Your purpose in life is to create an idea and then turn it into a profitable, sustainable business. Most innovators are extremely passionate about their business idea -- almost to the point of being obsessed.
Not only do innovators create completely new, groundbreaking ideas but they motivate and inspire others to share their passion. Through a variety of marketing techniques, innovative entrepreneurs stand out from the crowd and, sometimes, even create a new crowd altogether!
Innovators often consider their business idea their "baby" and live and breathe it all day, every day. While this approach can be consuming, it can also be very lucrative. Just ask Steve Jobs or Bill Gates.
Not afraid to get your hands dirty? Are you the type of business owner who wants to be in the trenches with their employees -- working right alongside them?
Hustlers depend on work ethic and grit to get ahead. Most hustlers dream big but start small.
Small business owners are often hustlers since many start with little capital and plan to put in the work necessary for success. Investors and innovators prefer to throw money at the problem.
Hustlers are the opposite of opportunists (more on this type of entrepreneur in a minute). Similar to a little girl dreaming of her wedding day, hustlers have imagined being their own boss since they entered the workforce. Their desire for success is often their driving force.
Speaking of an opportunist, that's the next type of entrepreneur on our list.
The opposite of a hustler, opportunistic entrepreneurs hire other people to help them achieve their goals and are often referred to as the brains behind the operation.
Most opportunists have deep roots in the business world, lots of experience, and are financially stable. They've done their research, kept their eyes open, and see a clear opportunity for success and advancement.
Unlike other types of entrepreneurs who are emotionally invested in their ideas, opportunistic entrepreneurs pick a problem where the outcome seems worth the effort.
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. When you're stumped for a good idea, why not look at other creative minds for inspiration?
That's exactly what an imitator entrepreneur does.
They choose a popular product and then brainstorm ways to make it better. In the mind of an imitator, improving on an existing product or service is the best way to get ahead.
Imitators need plenty of self-confidence and self-awareness since they're sometimes accused of being "copycats". But that doesn't mean they lack creativity or drive. After all, imitators take an existing idea and expand upon it.
There are no guarantees in business -- but don't tell a researcher entrepreneur this. Often times, they don't see failure as an option because they've taken the time to examine and analyze their idea from every possible vantage point.
This extensive research doesn't go unnoticed or unrewarded. Many research entrepreneurs choose a business venture with a high likelihood of success thanks to their deep understanding of what's involved.
Unlike hustlers and opportunists who follow their dreams and take big risks, researchers are slow to make any moves or decisions. Many want a deep understanding of the business venture before investing time or money. Rather than acting on intuition or instincts, they rely on data and facts.
It's no surprise that you need some level of technical expertise to succeed as a technical entrepreneur. Similar to imitators who capitalize on ways to improve current products or services, technical entrepreneurs believe they know a better, faster, or more efficient way of doing doings.
This type of entrepreneur is deeply immersed in the tech world. They often work in this industry or at least have some prior experience with coding or software development.
It's worth noting that the success of this type of entrepreneur usually starts at a lower level but has big impacts all the way up the tech chain. Technical entrepreneurs usually need help from above, so this approach may not be a good fit if you want complete control of your venture.
Similar to investors, buyers are the type of entrepreneur with the financial means to purchase a lucrative, existing business. When they coined the phrase, "It takes money to make money", they must've been talking about buyers.
Like researchers, buyers don't usually rush into business decisions. They choose a business and perform plenty of research before committing.
Buyers evaluate the business' viability and projected growth. Then, they come up with the means to acquire it and create a team of professionals to run, expand, and improve it.
The main benefit of this approach is that you're starting with an established business and idea. Not only do you already have a market for it, but it's a less risky investment.
You can also skip the innovation process, but don't turn off your creative mind altogether. You'll still need plenty of good ideas to expand on and improve the current business model.
Where there's a buyer, there's inevitably a seller. This is another type of entrepreneur. If your strong suits include customer service and human resources, you'd make a great sales entrepreneur.
The world needs innovators, but without sellers, no one will ever know how amazing your product or service is. While sales entrepreneurs might struggle with the creation phase of the process, they shine when it comes to marketing and networking.
Sales entrepreneurs are also skilled at breaking into new markets. They find new and innovative ways to market existing products and services to a broader audience.
Just as hustlers are on the frontlines of their business, industry entrepreneurs are behind the scenes -- often somewhere near the top.
These types of entrepreneurs are experts in their field. They know the ins and outs of their particular business. They also know what works and what doesn't, which is why they're a valuable asset.
When industry entrepreneurs decide to make a move in the business world, it's often because they know that the idea is viable, scalable, and marketable. This is valuable, insider information that most entrepreneurs lack.
But knowledge isn't power in this situation. Industry entrepreneurs may know how things work from the top down, but they need help with the logistics. This help usually comes in the form of other professionals in the business.
After reading this list, do some of these types of entrepreneurs jump out at you? Did you find yourself reading a description and thinking, "Hey, that's me!"?
This is the first step in figuring out what type of entrepreneur you are -- or could be!
Start with examining your personality traits and work ethic. Be honest about what drives and motivates you. Understanding your strengths and weaknesses saves you time, money, and plenty of heartaches.
Pay close attention to how you operate. What are you good at it? Apply these talents and skills to each challenge and opportunity you encounter.
It's also important to note that you can't be every type of entrepreneur. Different business owners and professionals bring different skills and experiences to the table. But that doesn't mean you can't (and should) learn from each other and collaborate.
You shouldn't have to change who you are to succeed. In fact, it's your unique personality traits and skills that will make you stand out in the crowd.
Do you dream of being your own boss or starting your own business? Perhaps you want to invest in an existing company or invent the next best-selling product.
These are admirable goals -- and they all start with knowing the different types of entrepreneurs there are and which one describes you.
Success looks different for everyone. Are you ready to take control of your life?
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