Insights: What do entrepreneurs have in common?

what do entrepreneurs have in common?
The author, Sasha Temerte ’23

Do you ever wonder what drives an entrepreneur to go against the grain? To stray from the easy, predetermined path laid out for us all?

After interviewing dozens of entrepreneurs, I noticed that certain patterns began to emerge. Perhaps entrepreneurial spirits are cut from a similar cloth. Call it a multipatterned and diverse cloth, if you will, but one cloth nonetheless.

It seems that in the making of an entrepreneur, there is one trait that rises above all else: passion.

What drives someone to leave behind the safety net of a salaried job? Passion.

What drives someone to work tirelessly every waking hour that they’re free? Passion.

What drives someone to take leave for a semester or graduate without a job lined up because they believe in their idea? Passion.

Of course, with this passion comes an idea that the entrepreneur must be passionate about. There appears to be two categories in which most entrepreneurs fall:

1. The creative freelancers

2. The innovative business ventures 

Whether someone owns a freelance marketing business, creates and sells art, or is working on the next big novel tech venture to pitch to angel investors, there is an element of creativity involved. After all, it is creativity and innovation that are at the heart of non-conventional careers.

This brings us to the following question: Well, where do these ideas come from?

Typically, a backstory or a set of values.

Take, for instance a freelance photographer. Their vision may be inspired by a unique outlook or original style that the photography sphere lacks. Perhaps they aim to tell the stories of those who lack a voice through photos because maybe they, too, once lacked that same voice until stumbling upon photography.

Or take, for instance, the founder of an environmental sustainability company. Perhaps they spent a lifetime experiencing the disastrous impacts of pollution in their community, and now they abide by a mission to revolutionize the environmental field, so that no one else has to experience what they did.

It is stories and values that underlie human nature, that drive decision making, that inspire action. This is no different for an entrepreneur.

Now, a common belief is that entrepreneurs are major risk-takers. And they are! Well, to an extent. It is true that many entrepreneurs have a higher tolerance for risk than the average person. But for some—those who are balancing entrepreneurship as a side hustle they hope to grow rather than diving all in—entrepreneurship is a long-term game for freedom, rather than a risk.

Typically, this risk tolerance or consistent side pursuit stems from a single plaguing desire: to escape the 9-5. Beyond passion, a deeply rooted aversion to the entrapments of a 9-5 (the fear of losing flexibility, the love for independence, the yearning to travel or set the rules as boss) hold much greater weight than any potential risk involved.  

To summarize, the following is the formula for a successful entrepreneur:

  1. Passion
  2. Creativity or an innovative idea
  3. A storyline or set of values that drives the entrepreneurial business
  4. Risk tolerance or an aversion to a 9-5 job

Do these traits resonate with you? Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur?

We bet you do.

Contact Syracuse University’s Blackstone LaunchPad & Techstars for help developing your idea into a business or check out our competitions to secure funding.

Story by Sasha Temerte ’23, LaunchPad Orange Ambassador