What makes a great entrepreneur? While taking a business class this fall, I struggled with the notion that not everyone can be an entrepreneur. Or at least that was what I was being told. Reading Under30CEO blog and Lifehacker convinces me that with the right mindset both of these blogs support the idea that anyone can do just about anything.
Sure, I will buy into the idea that anyone can learn about being entrepreneur–but can they really BE one? I understand that someone can learn opera, ballet or how to use Photoshop, but does that mean they ARE or have BECOME an opera singer, ballet dancer or a graphic designer? Maybe. I don’t think it is my place to pass judgment. However, I can say that learning to become something makes more sense than just being born as an entrepreneur. I’ve identified several skills that shared by my favorite entrepreneurs:
- Customer Service – Everyone is a client
- Sales – Speak and they shall buy
- Marketing – “Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise.” – Being a Yoga Teacher, Being an Entrepreneur, Nikki Yoga
- Communication – You know you have two ears and one mouth
- Passion – The energizer bunny of enthusiasm
- Know the Needs – Understand, and meet the needs while providing you are qualified to do so.
- Organization – Gathered the tools, the people and now the paper work
- Detailed Oriented – Seeing the possible threats and opportunities
- Self Motivated – Pat yourself on the back, push your self out of bed – Carpe diem
- Knowledge of Resources – Education, conferences and experience is priceless. 10 Lessons in Entrepreneurship, GIGAOM
- Creativity – Reinvent the wheel to be faster, prettier or more desirable
- Network – You are who you know
Personally I think the main skills for success are going to come from some kind of experience of customer service, sales and marketing. Lets say you worked at Dairy Queen, sold cookies for Girl Scouts and made fliers for a church event. Does that mean you have experience or skill?
I think there is one more important point to consider:
Take Craig Newmark – Founder of Craigslist
Craigslist has exploded with popularity and become an international service. In the beginning there was almost no business model other than to have a modest website to provide information about events for his buddies and serve as a site to post his resume. Craig understood his skill set was not webdesign so he kept the business and site simple
One of my favorite entrepreneurs, Pete Cashmore – Founder of Mashable
I am so refreshed and encouraged to hear of someone taking their passion for knowledge and apply it to a startup. Pete took his love for knowledge, technology and community to a new level that he could then share with the rest of us marketing nerds. He applied his energy and curiosity to a project that has him sitting on a site of experts and a truly impressive network fueled by genuine passion.
Reading more about both Craig and Pete you realize they both have the basic skills of customer service, sales and marketing. What makes their companies different from the average web start up is the personal vision that each founder contributes.
For Craig, it was to create a site to help his friends and himself. For Pete, creating Mashable helped him stay on top of the game as well as share with people who were interested. They both had a vision and went for it.
What else makes a successful entrepreneur rise above the rest to new level?