“The entrepreneur is our visionary, the creator in each of us. We’re born with that quality and it defines our lives as we respond to what we see, hear, feel, and experience.”-Michael Gerber
Are entrepreneurs born or bred?
Are they gifted with fearless minds which permit them to take on certain financial risk to seek uncertain financial rewards? Or do their hearts beat with a fervent passion for creating something of their own? Could there possibly even be a special gene that differentiates them from the passive nine-to-fiver?
In his book, Instinct: Tapping Your Entrepreneurial DNA toAchieve Your Business Goals, former cell biologist Thomas Harrison argues that genetics plays a large part in business success. Through scientific studies he demonstrates that entrepreneurial traits are hereditary, but he also shows that you can develop a successful business mentality by using specific techniques.
There are many cases where the entrepreneurial spirit seems to be genetically linked. From mega-rich moguls like Donald Trump and Butch Stewart, to neighbourhood Chinese grocery store owners, we see where business success can be transferred through the generations. But is it really genetics at work, or are they just very skilled at teaching their children the attitudes and behaviours necessary to become great entrepreneurs? T
The case for entrepreneurial DNA may be strengthened when we observe self-made business success stories such as Oprah Winfrey. How did a black female, born in rural Mississippi poverty, overcome childhood traumas and setbacks to become the first black woman billionaire and according to CNN, “arguably the world’s most powerful woman?” Could it be that Oprah was born with a genetic predisposition for making money?
I’m not exactly sure how I got my entrepreneurial spirit. My mother and father worked all their lives in the government service and never had the desire to earn money any other way, so I definitely wasn’t influenced by them. In fact, as many well-thinking parents do, they encouraged me to study and work hard to get a good job. Not exactly the best recipe for nurturing an entrepreneur!
I have no inspiring stories of using my business skills to wheel and deal through my early years of school. The dormant entrepreneur in me first revealed itself while I was at university, when my natural ability to make things that people wanted led me into business by default. Leather jewelry designs created for my personal use became a hit with my friends, and instinctively I began sourcing raw material and working all night to fashion pieces for my new-found customer base.
The thrill of getting paid for something I created has stayed with me throughout the years. Although I juggled between self-employment and a standard pay cheque for over 15 years, the desire to be my own boss was always predominant. I’ve used those years to learn more about what it takes to become successful in business. Some lessons have been gained the hard way- from trial and error and hits and misses. Valuable insights have also come from observing other people’s business achievements and failures.
What I have discovered is that whether you have genes that give you an entrepreneurial head start, or you have studied all the book knowledge about business success, there are some non-negotiable attributes that you must have in order to play and win at this game. Determination, enthusiasm, perseverance, courage, vision, and a never-say-die attitude are essential to help you overcome the obstacles and keep going to the finish line.
So, are you a born entrepreneur?
© Cherryl Hanson Simpson