Entrepreneurs usually operate in a stealth mode till a point. When things seem under control (at least on an excel sheet); careful bits are revealed to people who can be trusted.
Likewise, I was underplaying the fact that I have jumped onto the entrepreneurial bandwagon. But come 2014, it was time for me start coming out of the stealth mode. As expected, I got varied reactions from people. But some reactions I found intriguing.
When I tell some people that I am an entrepreneur, they seem to get into a fix. They smile and wish me luck, but I can see tension brewing on their brows.
It bothered me for sometime. But I did figure out the look.
Thanks to the numerous books and movies on entrepreneurs, people feel they can spot an entrepreneur when they see one. There is a tendency to categorise, rather, stereotype entrepreneurs. Some commonly understood ‘types’ are:
The eccentric genius: Picture a person (usually a man) with unruly hair, messy desks, moody. This person is known to have mood swings, abuses, and works late, has some kind of substance addiction– but all that can be overlooked and dealt with; since he will be the person who will create the next orange, papaya or watermelons, if you may.
The introverted geek: Think coding, application development, long hours before the laptop screen, writing in a language that even aliens find hard to decipher. This person doesn’t share the genius idea with anyone. But 99.99% of the work has been completed. There is a high chance that when it does get launched, no one will know about it as well. The only way for people to know is when his/her name splashes in the newspaper someday as the youngest billionaire or something of that sort!
The roving eye: This person makes no bones about wanting to make it big in life (read have a large bank account). He/she starts reading business magazines much before you gave up reading ‘Mills and Boons’. He/she was always ‘business oriented’, even as the world queued up for job interviews. One of the most indulged hobbies has been burying oneself in 10 different spreadsheets, analysing the latest industry trends, market potential and keep an eye on the upcoming sectors.
But this burial does reap success (read money). He/she actually usually ends up catching the bus!
The rebel: There is no such thing as office hours for this type of a person. Usually the first to oppose any new strategy in meetings, confidently wears denim trousers on Monday, is a consistent defaulter on the timesheets and proud of it. Has points ready against any kind of an ‘organized set up’. He/she propounds unabashedly the desire to develop an organization devoid of any processes. Free flow is the mantra!
The young gun: Barely out of college, or probably still studying, this person makes headlines sooner than any other type. Not just the headlines that come in the newspaper, but also socially. High risk taking ability, backed with a zest and an attitude that is hard to match. They are few and rare, but their impact is big enough to qualify a ‘type’.
Sadly, I don’t fit into any of the above descriptions. I pretty much look like a ‘regular Joe-lene’ you are used to seeing at your workplace. Thirty is breathing down my neck and I need an energy bar usually after climbing two storeys. And the fact that I am a woman, leads people to apply certain other stereotypes and conditioning compulsions, which will need another article altogether.
Though I am against any kind of stereotyping, if I were to propound any stereotype in my life, this would be the only one.
Watch: The 8 types of entrepreneurs you will meet at a startup event
The creator (No offence, dear Lord!): Comes in all forms of sizes, shapes, genders and moods. He/she loves to create something from scratch. Can deal with ambiguity and uncertainty, although struggles with it as well from time to time. Has mood swings, but does not let the conviction deter. Is primarily an idea’s person, but recognises it will take a process, discipline and determination to translate that idea into something concrete. Is trying hard to cultivate patience. Philosophises, especially in tough times. Is learning through trial and error. Trying to figure which criticism is to be taken, which to dismiss sportingly, which to downright ignore. Focuses on revenue generation streams, but stubbornly protects the essence of the idea. Is driven by the need to create something valuable – value, which is tangible and intangible.
More importantly, trusts; self, others and the theory of universal conspiracy.
According to me, this is the only type out here!So go ahead, spread this stereotype!
Also, see this beautiful infographic by Funders and Founders on "Serial Entrepreneurs – The Founders Who Pursue Multiple Opportunities"
Image credits: Creative Commons
About the author
Aparna is an HR professional and a closet writer who is perennially bitten by the travel bug. She is currently on her entrepreneurial journey in the exciting space of e-commerce.