When reading people’s thoughts about entrepreneurs on LinkedIn, and the attributes necessary to be a successful entrepreneur, it occurred to me that “an entrepreneur is not an entrepreneur, is not an entrepreneur.”
I borrowed this concept from S.I. Hiakowa, the semanticist and former Senator, who wrote, “A cow is not a cow, is not a cow.” In other words, not all cows are the same, even though they are all cows. So it is true with entrepreneurs. Not all entrepreneurs are the same, even though they are all entrepreneurs.
There are white collar entrepreneurs and blue collar entrepreneurs. The white collar types are the lucky ones who were bright and fortunate enough to attend a top university like MIT and found it fairly easy to attract capital and recruit employees to build their startups. You know, venture capital, angel investors, IPOs, stock options, etc. Being an entrepreneur isn’t born out of “need,” “entrepreneuring is their job.”
Then there’s the person who was laid-off, out of work and ‘had’ to try something on their own just to make a living. This person could be a white or blue collar entrepreneur. One of my clients started that way. He lost his job as a machinist and found a customer who helped him purchase a machine which he placed in his garage. Today he has a large plant with nearly one hundred machines and dozens of employees.
And there’s the blue collar entrepreneur who grew up in a working class family and always wanted to be his own boss, but had no clue how to go about it. Then he finally got an opportunity. That was me. Ironically, that opportunity arose by losing my job. So, I started my own business and never had a “Plan B” because failure was not an option.
Building my business was brutally tough at times, especially during the first five years. Anyone who has done it knows. There was betrayal, hiring mistakes, errors in judgment, the long days, weeks, and months without time off, burn-out, etc. I wanted to quit several times, but am glad I stuck with it and today I’ve been in business for 36 years.
The blue collar entrepreneur is like a prize fighter. You may not always win the fight, but you never enter the ring thinking you’re going to lose! One of the reasons why my business is successful today is because I work with entrepreneurs and as Bill Clinton used to say, “I feel their pain.”
© 2013 Steven M. Stroum