Somehow over the past several years, I’ve been increasingly finding myself in the position of an entrepreneur. Throughout my life, I have been a bit of a self-starter with the ability to inspire others to join my causes, whatever they may be. I’ve never considered myself an entrepreneur, however. I never thought I’d be using my creative tendencies to run and manage a business.
Frankly, I’m not very good at it. I’m quite disorganized, and competing priorities always seem to be problems. And if my history of dead-end projects is any indication, while I may be a self-starter, I’m not always a self-finisher. To me, “entrepreneur” was a bad word, signaling a person whose specialty was business rather than the industry in which the business falls.
Nevertheless, here I am, an accidental entrepreneur running and trying to manage a successful business. I don’t admire many entrepreneurs, but I am a fan of Aaron Patzer — at least what I know of him from his public persona and our interviews on the Consumerism Commentary Podcast. Aaron created the popular web-based personal finance management and budgeting software Mint.com, which was recently purchased by software behemoth Intuit, the makers of Quicken.
This entrepreneur is a lecturer with The Founder Institute, a membership organization designed to support budding business-starters. He also recently wrote an article for CNN describing how the institute developed a test that can supposedly predict the success rate of an individual as an entrepreneur. The test is based on research that indicates that success is not correlated to traditional metrics like IQ, teamwork, and planning. Instead, the best entrepreneurs tend to be spontaneous, appreciative of aesthetics, passionate about art and literature, and older.
Not everyone is destined to succeed as an entrepreneur, and that’s not a bad thing. A lot of people — and the programs they offer for sale — tend to treat entrepreneurship as the Holy Grail of personal finance or wealth-building, with complete control of your own financial destiny and the ability to create wealth rather quickly compared to buying and holding stocks for decades in order to become “rich.” But this lifestyle is not for everyone, and not everyone is interested in taking the entrepreneur’s path.
What are your thoughts on entrepreneurs?
Updated April 20, 2017 and originally published July 29, 2010.