Are entrepreneurs born or are they made?

There are people who just have a magic touch. It seems like whatever they choose to do magically happens. They are successful and they make it look effortless. They have what is called the X-factor.

I, on the other hand, have tried so many things since my entrepreneurial journey began but none seem to be working and I’ve invested and lost a lot of money. The process can only be described as seeing a slow glow of fire as the excitement builds. Then, a cold rain comes and the fire goes out.

Have any of you ever experienced this? I look at the people around me and they all seem to be doing something right, but no matter how hard I work to build my business and execute my plans, I always seem to hit a brick wall each time. While it looks like others are flying high effortlessly, I feel like I am paddling hard and getting nowhere.

So the question is: are entrepreneurs born or made? Do you have the Midas touch of entrepreneurship? I’ve been asking myself these questions over and over recently since hitting yet another brick wall and I’m now exhausted. The self-doubt has creeped in…

I recall that first brick wall… I met a potential client, discussed her business needs for 2 hours and sent her a proposal. She did not revert back to me and I later discovered that she’d chosen to use someone else – someone far more expensive. I was puzzled. I thought the reason she’d turned me down was because she could not afford my services. Despite knowing her business well and advising her, she still chose to pay more for the same services elsewhere. I kept wondering what it is that I was missing. Did I not have the magic touch?

It often feels like I’m in a maze and I am reaching a point where I feel like giving up and not continuing on this entrepreneurial journey. It just feels hard to go on and I sometimes think that maybe I am not meant to do this. Maybe I am not meant to be an entrepreneur. Maybe I am just meant to be in corporate working 9-5 and earning a salary. My energy has been sapped. I also have to balance being a mum to an energetic child and be fully present.

So coming back to my question: what makes one a successful entrepreneur? Success here is not defined as barely making it but making good money and keeping your business going. I did not grow up in a family of entrepreneurs so I’ve been pondering my own chances as one. I identified some of the main characteristics of people who have made it and are successful and I truthfully answered whether I have them too or not:

  1. They have a clear vision and mission – that guiding light that drives them. (I believe I do have this)
  2. Their businesses are based on clear ideas. (I feel my idea is clear)
  3. They have incredible self belief and confidence. (I need to work on this)
  4. They don’t look at failure as failure but as lessons. (I too believe in this)
  5. They have an ability to sell. (A big development area I need to work on)
  6. They have a killer instincts. (I sort of have this)
  7. They are incredibly hard workers. (This is a yes from me)
  8. They are incredibly focused and don’t get distracted by small things. (The biggest development area for me to work on)
  9. They are unapologetic about who they are. (A work in progress for me)

Having done this exercise, it’s clear that being an entrepreneur requires more than hard work. Yes it does requires a certain personality but I now know it’s not about being born with the magic touch. It’s also about behavioural traits and embracing those behaviours and being okay with your shortfalls.

One Comment

  • Hi Mosidi,
    Christoph here from Germany, ex Vodafone Group Brand team 🙂
    Interesting view on how to find out if you already qualify to be self employed. I am still struggling and your 9 point test has helped me to sort my strengths and weeknesses. Thank you, this is very helpful.
    We should catch up some time… maybe meet up somewhere in the near future.
    Best, Christoph

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