Don't call me Entrepreneur

Published: May 2015

Startup Hipster Drinking Coffee

Too many people take the title without regard or respect for what it means.

They think that just because they have a blog with Adsense that trickles in a few dollars, they can stick a title after their name.

Or they want to sound cool to their friends.

Or they want to seem more attractive when they are out shopping their resume to corporate big wigs.

Or they lurk at meetups with a million ideas they talk big about but never follow through on.

Or or or.


a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so.

Did you catch that part? I put it in bold. Here it is again just in case. Entrepreneurs take risks.

Where is the risk in putting ads on a blog? Or selling courses on Udemy that you make in your spare time.

Also quitting the job you can’t handle so you can leech off others while pretending to work on the next big thing isn’t risk. It’s called cowardice.

It irks me a little when I see random people on twitter call themselves entrepreneur just because they can.

It cheapens the term for the real entrepreneurs.

Real Entrepreneurs

I’ve seen these people up close. They don’t care about titles. Or impressing online strangers with the number of buzzwords they can cram into their bio.

They are too busy changing the world for petty things like that.

I worked at a startup.

We built kids furniture. It was founded by a guy my age. He was a brilliant engineer. He borrowed money from family, did consulting work, and bootstrapped his way to a business.

When I came on I was doing marketing. We were the only employees.

So am I an entrepreneur? Absolutely not. What risk did I take?

I was offered equity. I turned it down.

He was on a mission to change the world. I thought it was beyond awesome. But it wasn’t my mission.

I have an incredible amount of respect for him and anyone who makes the attempt.

We need a better word

I hate debating semantics. Most of the time, it’s pointless. But I feel like our language is failing us here.

It’s like the difference between a writer and an author. An Author has reached a certain milestone in their writer journey. Anyone can be a writer, but author carries weight.

What is the entrepreneurial equivalent of writer?

I don’t know.

Whatever it is that is what I am. And I contend that’s what most of the self-proclaimed entrepreneurs should be.

I hope when I reach that milestone and finally have my own startup the word entrepreneur still means something.

You call yourself what you want. But don’t call me entrepreneur until I’ve earned it.

Image Credit: uberof202 on Flickr

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Rob Skidmore writes science fiction stories about being human.

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