What kind of entrepreneur are you?

money_shirtHumor me by responding to another unscientific survey that proves nothing. Aside from the need of income, where would you fit into this list of entrepreneurial categories?

1. People who are passionate about growing a great company (growth and building something big). Starting and running a finely oiled enterprise is fun. These are traditionally defined entrepreneurs and sales people who will be successful in socially defined financial terms.

2. People who are passionate about creating a great product (craft and process). Having an opportunity to get better at what they do is a great motivator. This group can include employees or entrepreneurs. As entrepreneurs, they prefer conservative if not limited growth, what’s necessary to keep the enterprise solvent.

3. People who are passionate about their families and outside interests. Their occupation is an adjunct to support their lifestyles. They can be employees, salespeople or entrepreneurs. They need stable income which can sometimes mean becoming adapting to a larger scale (the top group).

Each group has different education needs. I know there is crossover between them but do the best you can. Tell me if you fall in one, two or three. Thanks! Image courtesy via

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37 comments

  1. Not sure whether that is what you want to know..,
    but I am someone who is passionate about the product (craft and process) and therefore made a decision long ago that I do not want to earn my money with that. I would have to make things in a way I wouldn’t enjoy it any longer, so I keep that to my leisure and get my money elsewhere.
    (Plus, if I am honest, “elswhere” is what I am better at. Sewing and designing is passion, but others are better than me.)

  2. Brenda says:

    I fall into group 2 but soooo want to be in group 1. I start a project with the question ‘Who will want this?’ I end up liking it so much I hate to part with it.
    How do I get past this?

  3. Becky says:

    I would have to say I fall into group 2 as well, but as an entrepreneur. I want to love what I do for a very long time. Money isn’t as much an issue.

  4. Jay Arbetman says:

    Stable Income!!! Me thinks not.

    Let’s rule out #1. Frankly, I think few DE’s and F-I’ers are in that class except of course for our hostess, power hungry corporate raider and textile mogul Kathleen F.

    Even #2 is a long shot for most of us. While I am certain that their is a lot of passion about product, I think most of us are just happy we are not working for the man.

    #3 it is.

    At times like this I like to remember some words of advise from some of America’s great thinkers.

    Anybody can win, unless there happens to be a second entry. Humorist George Ade

    This is the only business where you can learn from an idiot. Parental unit Lester Arbetman (he always seemed to be looking at me when he said that!)

  5. Lauren says:

    I’m closest to #2. I just want to be able to be in my playroom/studio and create whatever I feel like. For me it’s about exploration and learning. So I guess I lean more toward art than business.

  6. dosfashionistas says:

    #2 Definitely. Why else do I read this every day even though I am no longer actively involved in the making end of the fashion industry? Why else be constantly trying to beat my own record on eBay? (Trying to make the listings better….sales figures are how I keep score.)

  7. ken simmons says:

    I don’t fit in any of the three and don’t think I ever did. But I dreamed to be in the 1st. And working toward that goal I learned very much about myself. Mainly I am ill suited to the pressures created by uncertain cash flow. Now I do the process as a teaching aid in the classroom.

  8. Kathleen says:

    If I had not been self employed for so long, I would be happy working for the man. I’m a reluctant entrepreneur, a definite #2, occasionally a 3 but wish I were more like a 1. I like working for 1s and making them better from underneath the hood. I wish we had more 1s.

  9. Jess H. says:

    Yep, I’m a solid #2. As much as I’d love to be a #1 (wishful thinking without the help of a business-minded partner of some sort) – I think I’m going to be stuck at #2 forever. In my heart of hearts, I honestly can say that I wouldn’t mind making just enough to keep the business solvent. Of course I’d love to make tons of money, buy classic cars out the wazoo and become the queen of western wear… but that’s not a reality with my personality and the way my brain works.

  10. I’m truly in number 2. As an artisan and designer I care very much about the process but only to the point that that process can give me the unique, quality product that so far has been my trademark.
    In my case, it is fortunate that I don’t have to depend on my income to live (maybe if I did I would be a size 4 instead of ____________. But the thrill of the work for me is that people have been collecting my work for 20-30 years and have followed my progress even though I have changed my direction two or three times. This is not to say I don’t care about the money, I do and I am constantly trying different ways to bring the same product to market for a lesser production cost without compromising the quality and workmanship. But I still feel I have the entrepreneurial mindset than (heaven forbid) than the hobbyist approach. The long days and sometimes nights truly mean I have a business mindset.

  11. Brad says:

    All of the above, 1) business 2) creative 3) family/etc.? possibly a trick question? All are vital and a constant juggle/discovery. As individuals we are each stronger in certain areas… but I am required (as most) too put on many hats to make it work. Multitasking and just making sure everything is functioning properly really requires all of these.

  12. Natasha says:

    When I used to be a small business owner I was doing it only to support my expensive hobbies. Ended up paying for more than that though and I didn’t “have” to work. Paid for my LVN school too.

  13. ginevra says:

    I’m aiming at 3, and if I achieve stability, i might try for a 1. Why not?
    Actually, that makes me much more of a 1, I see 3 as the transition/baseline first step. But I’m guessing more of your audience is 2-3. Maybe you could label posts as particularly suitable for… Gah! scrap that idea, too much work, don’t worry!

  14. Paul says:

    This is a thought provoking exercise – that’s good! I believe my head and heart are in number 2, but I have one foot in #1 (knowing that well-oiled and growing helps keep the whole thing fresh and innovative and sustainable), and one foot in #3. Socially defined expectations of financial success have never motivated me. My real goal: I want what I do for my income to be what I am passionate about, and I can have a lot of fun getting up to work every day.

  15. Wow, this really made me stop and think about my life, ventures and projects. The distinction is hard to make between 1 and 2 and somewhat with 3. If I absolutely had to pick only one of the three, I would honestly have to say I’m more of numero uno, #1. Having been an entrepreneur in a few different industries, the passion lies in creating an organization that is driven by the product offering, built by a great team and having fun along the way!

    Very interesting to read the other responses, as well. Looking forward to the next survey, Kathleen ;-)

  16. LizPf says:

    I’ve been a 3 when I needed to support myself, but have strong leanings toward 2-ness. I’ve always been a Maker, and would far rather learn and make things than operate a business.

  17. Barb Taylorr says:

    The options read like my career. I started out as #1 when I was younger and have progressed through #2, now fitting closest into #3. Experience has taught me that I can be creative, happy and continue to learn & grow in many different situations, so why not also enjoy the stability and low stress of working for someone else? (As long as you can find a good someone else to work for!) My 20 year old self would say I “sold out my dream”, my current self counters that really being true to your heart means letting your dreams evolve & recognizing when it makes sense to take a new fork in the road.
    I also think that everyone who visits this site clearly has #2’s passion for their craft and the process with a desire to make a great product.

  18. Kay W says:

    I found sewing/patternmaking as an occupation in life. I have worked for regional theaters and opera companies before coming to a university setting. This setting has utilized my skills, provided regular income and has allowed me to take said skills into fiber art and a sideline of private clients and lessons. I am not setting up a site on Etsy for plus size wear. This site has greatly helped me to acquire the more business approach to selling my goods. I have art goods for me and goods for sell. #3 is 3 fourlegged friends so they are easy to balance. If I had a human counterpart, it may be a different story, but right now, it’s all about me.

  19. Eileen says:

    I’m a one. I got that way because I was so thrilled with my product that I wanted everybody to have one. But, I had to test it. The test worked, and I am in my second year of business with sales growing fast.

    There are other things I want to sell, but that requires a lot of testing and tweaking based on customer feedback, which takes time and money.

  20. Kathleen says:

    I should have mentioned well before now that we’re having a side discussion on this topic in the forum. We’re talking about how we know that someone will or will not make it. Defining the characteristics and traits of 1s and 3s. It’s a good conversation that starts here.

    A clear pattern emerges.

  21. Million says:

    I will have to think this one over, but I am loving the idea so far. It’s very helpful to be able to articulate one’s self-awareness in order to see what areas require outside assistance and/or personal development. I can see aspects of myself in all of the categories, but that says to me that I clearly need to give this matter more thought.

  22. Tiffany says:

    hmm…food for thought. I started out as a #3 and realized my “outside interest” was fashion and growing a great company, which I guess would shift me into a #1, although the passion for my family remains the same. I’m ok with being a #1 but I’m in need of #2 to bring the vision to life.

    Great question! It really makes you think.

  23. liz says:

    I am currently #3, but hoping to launch into a mix of 2 & 1 in the future. I want to start small just creating for me and see how people respond. But, I know that I tend to become really passionate when I start new things and will really begin to get involved in more of the business aspects and grow. So if I ever get started…

  24. Gil T says:

    Like you said, there is some crossover. Plug-in family from number three I would same number 2 fits me. It’s not the conservative growth angle that describes as much as it is creating a great process.

  25. Miranda says:

    I am forced into group 1, but am definitely a group 2. I own a business that I intentionally won’t allow to grow big as I feel it will impede on my true passion which is fashion design and creating garments for people. I use my store to support me so that I can utilize my free time to create things and sell them. I’m never thinking “bottom line” when I create designs for people. I just do it because it’s like an instinct in me.

  26. Ann says:

    I would say a 2 as I love to continue to grow in my sewing producing a more couture product. But I will have to say as a partner of a small business, we are a 1. The lid is coming off this business just as I retire from my profession as a teacher/administrator.

    Like another person said, we have to test our designs and that has shown us what people like and dislike. We also know that there is an upper limit to what people will pay and have worked hard to stay below that limit.

    As a person who was hired to work 24/7, you learn how to balance work and family. I can still do design of certain items while with family. And I know when to put it away for 24 hours to rest. That is part of survival in what ever you do.

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