9 Myths of the Stereotypical Entrepreneur

by McKenzie Chapman   Ulticareer  | Goals  | Advice  | New perspective  | Building connections  | A day in the life  | Entrepreneur  | 

With more and more business being conducted online, people are finding more ways to become entrepreneurs. With more people choosing entrepreneurship, there needs to be a discussion of the stereotypes that come with that word, “entrepreneur.”

Yes, perhaps these stereotypes stemmed from somewhere. But with more and more people becoming entrepreneurs, it means that the stereotypes are being broken down. So what are some of these stereotypes, and how are they being proven wrong?

1. They’re in their twenties

You don’t need to be in your twenties to be an entrepreneur. Many envision entrepreneurs as fresh college graduates that want to launch their next big idea. But that’s simply not the case. There are certainly those instances, but many entrepreneurs are older, and a few are even younger! You don’t have to be a certain age to be an entrepreneur. In fact you may find it helpful to wait until you have some other working experience under your belt before you branch out on your own.

2. They’re born with it

A lot of people think that entrepreneurship comes from innate talent, and therefore, school is not really necessarily. The classic example is Steve Jobs, who dropped out of college and went on to create a technological legacy. People will say that entrepreneurs are simply born with what it takes to be successful. Although there may be something to that, it’s also completely true that school helps entrepreneurs get inspired and learn skills they need to succeed. Talent is passion made into a habit, and any success requires a lot of hard work. That can be through school, or experiential learning, but no entrepreneur is simply born with all that they need to be successful.

3. They’re white men

It’s 2018, and unfortunately people still picture a white man as the stereotypical entrepreneur. The truth is that types of entrepreneurs can be anyone regardless of their gender or their race. All of us are capable of having a great idea and working hard to make it a reality. The more we break down this stereotype, the easier it will be to inspire different types of people to pursue their ideas.

4. They rely on venture capitalists

Many people assume that entrepreneurs rely on venture capitalists to fund their projects. But actually this can be a costly way of jump-starting an idea. In reality, many entrepreneurs use savings or startup funds from friends and family to get their project off the ground.

5. They only have fun

Another picture that people conjure when they think of an entrepreneur is that they’re always having fun. They imagine startup culture, and a fun office with a room full of candy, ping-pong tables and other perks. This is certainly not the case. In fact entrepreneurs often work long hours, since their passion for their idea can be consuming. However, since they do make their own hours, there can be a misconception that they work less. The reality is they’re working most of the time, you might just not see the full picture, so avoid making judgments based on their sometimes flexible working hours.

6. They have strong personalities

A lot of times people think that entrepreneurs need to be boisterous characters that can command the attention of a room. But an entrepreneur can really be any personality type. Don’t underestimate someone who is more reserved; they may just be working on the next big thing.

7. They only care about money

Some people believe that entrepreneurs are materialistic and only care about making money. They envision them as people that want to capitalize on the next biggest trend and try to make it rich. However, rather than financial gains, often the biggest motivator for entrepreneurs is passion for an idea and the desire to work on something they can be proud of. Although, of course, monetary gain is an important goal, and an absolutely necessary one for an idea to be feasible, it is certainly not the biggest motivator for many entrepreneurs.

8. They’re only in tech

Right now our economy is going through a tech boom. It seems like there’s always a new tech company popping up with a great idea. But not all entrepreneurs have ideas related to tech. An entrepreneur can be an innovator in any field. Keep an eye out in fields you’re interested in for people that are new on the scene and have passion for an idea; they may just be one of the next great, successful entrepreneurs! 

9. They’re risk-takers

Another stereotype that people project onto entrepreneurs is that they’re risk-takers. They imagine that an entrepreneur will gamble it all for their idea, and make seemingly risky choices to further their project. While tough choices are sure to be made as an entrepreneur, they are carefully considered choices. Yes, mistakes are likely to be made, but this can be true of any career or venture. Entrepreneurs will make calculated decisions and weigh their choices carefully because, after all, their idea and business depend on it, and they take that extremely seriously.

The archetypal, stereotypical myth of an entrepreneur as a “maverick,” “yuppie,” “preppy,” “renaissance man,” is just not true. These myths of entrepreneurship are quintessentially American stereotypes, and reduce what is really an entrepreneurial spirit down into a stock character. When you stereotype people, you’re not just limiting them, but you’re setting limitations for yourself as well. There are all sort of different entrepreneurs, and the most successful entrepreneurs in the world are likely those that are unique.

Are you an entrepreneur? How have you combatted stereotypes? Share your story on UltiCareer’s survey to let others know what being an entrepreneur is really like!

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