Everywhere you look, entrepreneurs keep popping up. Your sister is always talking about creating her own YouTube channel, your best friend has a business idea he thinks will change the world, and even your mom’s always joking that she could start a business making and selling products on Facebook Marketplace.
Many people have a dream of working for themselves, but how do you know the difference between an entrepreneur and a wantrepreneur?
Overview: What is a wantrepreneur?
There are many types of entrepreneurs, but the term "wantrepreneur" is relatively new. A wantrepreneur is an aspiring entrepreneur — someone who hopes to one day own their own business. Wantrepreneurs love to talk about their grand plans for success, but you’ll rarely see them acting upon these plans.
That’s because not all wantrepreneurs will become entrepreneurs. In fact, clear distinctions set these two types of people apart.
Entrepreneur vs. wantrepreneur: What’s the difference?
What do entrepreneurs have that wantrepreneurs don’t? I’ll take you through the main differences between those who idealize entrepreneurship and those who actually follow its entrepreneurial tenets.
1. They turn words into action
A wantrepreneur is usually easy to identify. They’re always talking about a new get-rich-quick scheme or explaining how their big business idea will take the world by storm. While they’re comfortable bragging about their business plans, you’ll rarely see them acting on them. That’s because wantrepreneurs love to dream about what they could do, but are less enthusiastic about actually making these dreams come true.
Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, focus on the actions they need to take to bring their dreams to fruition. Sure, you might hear them talking about their business ideas, but you’ll also hear them telling you about each step along the way — crafting a business plan, creating an LLC, and taking action.
2. They work diligently towards business goals
One reason entrepreneurship appeals to so many is that working for yourself somehow seems easier than working for an employer. While entrepreneurs might agree they’d rather work for themselves than anyone else, that doesn’t mean their job is easy. It requires hard work and dedication to grow a business and brand, and entrepreneurs aren’t ones to shy away from this challenge.
Wantrepreneurs are more interested in the idea of already making it, but often don’t want to put in the effort it takes to actually succeed as an entrepreneur.
3. They view obstacles as opportunities for growth
The road to entrepreneurship is filled with obstacles, and a true entrepreneur will view these challenges as opportunities, rather than obstacles. True entrepreneurs will grow and learn from the entrepreneurial challenges they face and find the lessons within every mistake or missed opportunity.
Wantrepreneurs, however, often allow these setbacks to frustrate and discourage them from continuing to move forward. This frequently holds them back and keeps them stuck in the dreaming stage.
5 signs you’re a wantrepreneur
Are you worried you might be a wantrepreneur? The good news is, even if you are, you can take steps to push yourself forward. Before you get started though, take an honest look at your habits to find out if you’re a wantrepreneur.
1. You wait to be told what to do
Entrepreneurs are go-getters. They don’t sit around waiting for permission to push their ideas forward. They’ll raise capital by creating fundraising campaigns, contacting potential investors, and never stopping until they’ve reached their goal. If you wait around to be told what to do next or wait for funding to fall into your lap, you might be a wantrepreneur.
2. You’re obsessed with your image
An entrepreneur cares about their image, but they care more about taking care of their business and the team that works for them. Entrepreneurs are dedicated to their ideas and the people helping to bring their dreams into reality. They’re less concerned with how the rest of the world perceives them.
If you work harder to present an image of your success rather than putting that energy into creating and growing your business, there’s a strong chance you’re a wantrepreneur.
3. You’re focused on getting rich
Entrepreneurs want to succeed, and money might even be a main motivator. However, entrepreneurs are more focused on creating the best company and line of products or services possible than they are on becoming rich. Entrepreneurs know that by paying close attention to their brand, they’ll be able to develop offerings prospects want to buy. This will lead to success.
Wantrepreneurs, however, are often too focused on their bank accounts and making themselves rich to spend the time needed to cultivate their business. If this sounds like you, your priorities might need to shift.
4. You procrastinate, often
Everyone procrastinates now and then, but at the end of the day, entrepreneurs get the job done. It's hard to figure out what needs to be completed and checked off your list when there’s no boss hovering over your shoulder. A real entrepreneur will plan and organize the tasks they need to complete and then make sure they’re accomplished. They’ll also come up with creative solutions to challenges that might hold others back.
If you procrastinate more than you solve problems and get work accomplished, it could be because you’re stuck in a wantrepreneur mindset.
5. You continuously complain
Entrepreneurs don’t have perfect lives or companies. But, they know that complaining doesn’t lead to helpful solutions. Instead of constantly complaining or feeling sorry for themselves when things get rough, entrepreneurs push forward and adapt their thinking to survive.
If you’re constantly complaining about your business, challenges, or team, you may be a wantrepreneur.
Tips to switch from wantrepreneur to entrepreneur
If you’re worried you’re more like a wantrepreneur than an entrepreneur, don’t panic. Entrepreneurs aren’t born, they’re made. If you want to shift your mindset, follow these tips to help you grow as a business owner and learn exactly how to become an entrepreneur.
1. Change your behavior
Behavioral change can be difficult, but to shift your way of thinking and begin focusing more on your business dreams, it’s a necessity. Stop making excuses for your bad behavior and begin completing every task on your list. Instead of complaining, look at ways you can shift your thinking to enhance your business idea and meet new marketplace demands. You’ll need to adapt this entrepreneurial mindset to overcome your bad habits.
2. Immerse yourself with positive examples
What does an entrepreneur do to conjure inspiration? They follow other inspiring entrepreneurs. One of the best ways to grow as a business owner is by surrounding yourself with leaders and innovators you look up to and respect.
Consider who you follow on social media. Rather than listening to friends and family complain about what’s wrong in their lives, follow individuals whose example you’d like to follow. When you immerse yourself with positivity, it’s impossible for it not to rub off. You may also learn some new business tips along the way.
3. Put in the work
You’re the only person responsible for seeing your business ideas through. No one will hold you accountable except yourself. There are no shortcuts to becoming a successful entrepreneur. You have to spend time grinding and working towards your goals first. You have to take action and spend the time required to properly grow and launch your business.
Wantrepreneurs can become true entrepreneurs
Being a wantrepreneur is easy. Anyone can scoff at people trying to grow a business or talk about how their business ideas are superior. Successful entrepreneurs are anti-wantrepreneurs — they know this negative behavior isn't beneficial to a real business leader.
If you’ve decided to start your own business, get organized, set business goals, and then get to work. Action ultimately separates the dreamers from the actual entrepreneurs.