What happened to entrepreneurial spirit? Finding the entrepreneur in you

Kalk Bay Harbour, Cape Town.
Kalk Bay Harbour, Cape Town. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I was growing up in the seaside village of Kalk Bay, Cape Town, my father hired a spare outside room from the mother of a famous cricketer at the time.

The empty room was quickly filled with equipment that my brothers and I used for our watersports: surfboards, wetsuits, diving gear and fishing rods. I spent many hours in that room fixing surfboard dents or dings.

I didn’t know it then but this woman was being entrepreneurial by making some money on the side in her retirement years.

These days people are running out of space even faster as they buy more furniture and outdoor equipment. Many are downsizing from houses to flats, townhouses and cluster homes and often need space to store their excess possessions.

Just the other day while driving past Alexandra a man handed me a pamphlet announcing the start up of a new storage company in Kew, Johannesburg.

Entrepreneurs spot a trend, develop an idea for a new business or service and transform their business idea into the reality of a going concern.

It sounds easy on paper, doesn’t it? But to be an entrepreneur requires finding your entrepreneurial bones, fighting against huge obstacles not only from the market and competition but authorities who kill entrepreneurial activity. Banksters wait like vultures to confiscate your assets if your business falters.

Headlines scream “red tape ‘killing’ small business” and “entrepreneurial spirit is languishing” in the daily business newspapers. These outbursts are prompted by surveys on entrepreneurial activity in various countries.

But what is it that motivates people to start their own businesses or at very least become independent professionals?

Startupsmart published an infographic titled “Branching out on your own” from Intuit this week which showed:

– 55% of people branched out on their own to capitalise on a skill or field of expertise they have
– 24% pursued a passion or to do something they love
– 7% buy an existing business and then learn the skills needed to run the particular business

The survey, in a developed economy, gives an idea of the positive way people find their internal entrepreneur. I’ve identified at least 12 different types of entrepreneurs in my research.

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