The difference between an entrepreneur and a (small) business owner
What would you call yourself? An entrepreneur or a small business owner? Or a business owner in general? Or self-employed? We often intersperse these terms because most people don’t give it much thought and feel they are more or less the same thing. But more often than not, we feel the term ‘entrepreneur’ sounds too posh, too much, too pretentious. So we stick with ‘small business owner’, and you notice this especially amongst women. Feels safe, right? But there really is a difference, and creativity is at the core of it. I tell you why you should start calling yourself an entrepreneur from now on, and feel good about it.
ɒntrəprəˈnəː/ “a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.”
That’s the definition in the dictionary. Basically, being an entrepreneur means that you are starting a business from scratch, you are the inventor, and the creator of your business, accepting the fact it may not work. But for me, it is so more than ‘taking on financial risks’. If it wasn’t for you, it wouldn’t exist. It is all about creativity, passion and vision. You dreamt it, you visualised it, you put the steps in place to bring it into reality. Tell, me, is this exactly what you did? Then call yourself an entrepreneur! Take the credit, my friend!
You are a creative powerhouse, and you made this happen, all by yourself. You ARE an entrepreneur.
Owning a business does not equal entrepreneurhsip
You can be an entrepreneur AND run a business. This is ultimately what most end up doing. But just owning a business does not automatically make you an entrepreneur. How does this work, then? Let’s say your parents owned a shoe shop. You helped them when you were young, and then when the time came, you took over the ownership. You are now the owner of a shoe shop. Your mum and dad were the entrepreneurs, when they opened the shop thirty years ago. They created it, and took on the financial risk. But now you own the business, which makes you a business owner. However, if you decide to set up another shoe shop, selling pink trainers only, not knowing if it will take off, that makes you an entrepreneur. Because you are the creator. Get it?
Entrepreneurship is 100% creativity
If you are a creative, you most likely have an entrepreneurial spirit. Being creative is another term that often gets confused, as many believe that creativity is the same as being artistic. That is not true. Being creative means you are creating something. First there was nothing, now there is. A painting….or a business. You are creative. And being entrepreneurial does not always have to mean starting a business en making money, in my eyes. If you organise a local fair, start a choir in the neighbourhood, or get people together for a networking event – you are showing your entrepreneurial spirit too.
You have an idea, and make it reality. You have a thought, figure out how to do it, and you make it come true. This is creativity. This is entrepreneurship. They are very much entwined.
Entrepreneurs are brave and fearless
How would I describe myself then? I am a creative being, but happen to be artistic too. But it is my creativity, which I have had inside me all my life, that has made me into an entrepreneur. That, together with my adventurous personality, and not being risk-averse. Because to become an entrepreneur and start your own business requires you to take risks, and be brave. Because, if you invest money in yourself and your new business, this means a financial risk. If you leave employment to start a business, this is scary!
Not only that, but it often comes with self-doubt, fear of judgement, and a lot of hard work for little income at the beginning. Will you be able to make it work? What will people think? What if you won’t make any sales?
Be proud of what you have created
But if you run a business, whatever size, that you crafted yourself, out of a dream, out of your own ideas, with your bare hands, with your dedication and passion, energy and money, then you can bloomin’ well call yourself an entrepreneur. If you don’t use this term because you feel it is pretentious in some way, stop feeling you are not worth such a title. You are a rock star entrepreneur. Perhaps your business is small, but it is mighty.