“The Entrepreneur” ©2006 Paul Edgewater All Rights Reserved Part 1 The following definition of “entrepreneur” appears on the desk top dictionary of my mac: entrepreneur / noun / a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so. That’s a nice start, but if you were a young person and at the commencement of your life in the business world, would that definition inspire you to become an entrepreneur? My guess is probably not. Taking it to heart, one might be compelled to play it “safe” and get a “real” job (more on that in part 2). Being an entrepreneur is so much more than that definition would suggest. There are tremendous highs and lows in this arena and this definition doesn’t even scratch the surface. A Fortune Small Business article from March 2006, highlighted the proliferation of entrepreneur classes being offered by our nations’ colleges. There has been ongoing debate as to whether or not being an entrepreneur is teachable skill or a viable curriculum for that matter. According to the article, the now-late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, said that it’s not a teachable skill but (former) Jetblue CEO David Neeleman asserted otherwise. My take would be that no skill is easily taught to someone without a native interest in the given subject. If for instance, you aspire to be a Physician, you can learn and retain all the data you need to know to earn the title of MD. It’s not easy, but you’ll do it. If however, you have absolutely no interest or desire to become a physician, you will not, or cannot be taught. How in the world would all that information traverse the chasm of your indifference? It wouldn’t, unless the the checkered career of an incompetent physician mired in litigation is what you’re after. That said, if you want to be an entrepreneur, you can be taught, if you don’t, you cannot (just make sure your teacher is actually an entrepreneur and not an inexperienced idealist who has never started (or ran) a successful business-from scratch (if someone purchases an existing business, very often they are ‘business owner,’ not ‘entrepreneurs;’ big difference). You’ll be wasting time and money. We only get one chance in this life to become what we would like to become and we won’t waste our years in the study of subjects that don’t captivate us unless it is forced upon us. Which brings me to my point. If you really don’t want to be an entrepreneur, then don’t force it. You will have very a hard life. It’s a hard life even when it’s what you strive for and you succeed at it, let alone if you experience the foundering that befall so many others. If on the other hand you yearn to be master of your fate and captain of your soul, it is indeed the path in life with the best odds for joy and success. You already know in your heart of heart if that is the life for you. If it is, learn as much as you can in school and from us gray beards, who have been in the trenches, so as to avoid making some of the same mistakes that we have. In the end this is playing it safe*! *More on this in part two. Thank you for your interest!