A lot of people think being an entrepreneur is the same as being a business owner, but I disagree.
Being an entrepreneur is a mindset… one I learned from my dad, who was an entrepreneur but was not a business owner.
The Mindset of an Entrepreneur
Being an entrepreneur means that you’ve decided to create your own path. It means you’ve decided that you will stop at nothing to make the life that you want, to create your own destiny.
It’s about how you create goals and build your product, your business, every aspect of your life and your success around your dream with intention and purpose.
And while being an entrepreneur usually does lead to being a business owner, I don’t think that one always leads to the other.
Let me give you an example.
Looking for Snow in Canada
My dad grew up in Africa. He’s from a remote village in Mauritania… the kind with no running water.
When he was young, the country of Mauritania would only give out three scholarships a year to students who aspired to higher education. He focused, with intention, on getting one of those three scholarships, took action, and worked incredibly hard until he succeeded.
Once my dad had achieved that initial goal, he could have gone on to Morocco or France… but he chose to come to Canada because he wanted to see snow, something he had never experienced outside of a book.
Once he was here, he worked to achieve another goal… he went on to become the first black Vice-President of any major bank in Canada.
As far as I’m concerned, that’s an entrepreneur.
Through setting goals and pursuing them with intention and purpose, my dad went from living in a tiny village in North Africa to being the first black VP at any major Canadian bank.
He didn’t have to become a business owner to forge an entrepreneurial path through his life, and he taught me the foundations of being a successful Toronto entrepreneur by:
- Carving his own path
- Building his own destiny
- Choosing to say no to what the world expected from him and going his own way
Business Owner vs. Entrepreneur
Being a business owner is a little bit different. At the core, being a business owner is not a mindset. It is the action of creating something from nothing and turning it into profit.
The first stage of being a business owner is the hustle. You have to figure out what your product is, how much it’s worth, and what angle/hook you’re going to use to get someone to exchange money for the product.
The second stage is figuring out how to capitalize on your initial success (through marketing). You want to get more people to say your product has value by exchanging money for it.
And once you get there, the third stage is building a team, operations, systems, everything you need to make that exchange of value happen faster and more efficiently, as well as providing more value so your customer keeps coming back.
Being a business owner is different from being an entrepreneur because it’s about the process, not the mindset.
They do often go together… but I believe you can be a business owner without forging your own path, and you can be an entrepreneur without building a business of your own.
I’d love to know what you think makes an entrepreneur different from a business owner, though.