Entrepreneurs, Startup Advice

Three important factors that influence who will become an entrepreneur

Martin Kovacs /

It’s not uncommon for company founders to describe themselves as being born to be an entrepreneur; they feel destined to build their own ventures.

However, research released in November last year sheds some light on some of the key factors that influence who will become an entrepreneur.

Writing for Inc., Steve Blakeman, managing director of global accounts for OMD, observed “the age-old debate of nature versus nurture has resurfaced”, with new research suggesting the secret to becoming an entrepreneur lies in “being involved in an entrepreneurial culture from a young age”.

Blakeman explains how a Vistaprint and OnePoll study, which looked at 500 small-business leaders with fewer than 50 employees aged 18 and over, found that there are “three decisive factors in becoming an entrepreneur”: education, early career and life experiences.

He says the study additionally points to the requirement of having three character traits: being independent, trustworthy and hard-working.

“Interestingly, despite what many people believe, becoming rich is a relatively poor motivator for being an entrepreneur — fewer than 25% of the entrepreneurs who were researched mentioned money as a motivating factor,” Blakeman writes.

“A far more important factor was the ‘desire to be their own boss’, which was cited by 56% of respondents. Autonomy (46%), freedom (45%) and being in total control of your work (41%) also featured highly on the survey.”

And while other factors such as country of birth, culture and socioeconomic status also have “huge bearings” on the access individuals have to entrepreneurship, Blakeman says the study shows that entrepreneurs from all walks of life share similar traits, such as enjoying learning.

He also points to the research indicating, perhaps contrary to what the common perception may be, that older generations are more inclined to take risks than younger generations, with 41% of people aged 55 and over claiming they can and will take a risk, as opposed to 25% aged under 34.

Meanwhile, when it comes to the role of luck, the survey respondents said they believe less than 25% of success can be put down to chance.

“Personally, I’m not convinced that the success of entrepreneurs is entirely down to what you learn,” Blackman writes.

“There must be an innate element that plays a significant role.”

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Martin Kovacs

Martin Kovacs is a journalist with experience covering the IT, consumer electronics, retail, finance and energy sectors.

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