Entrepreneurship is natural talent plus training. So is success in any other endeavor. People buy it in sports, art, music, foreign language and math, but those same people don’t believe its true in entrepreneurship. They’re wrong.
There’s a narrative that entrepreneurs are born, not made. This is true of the Elon Musk’s, the Lionel Messi of the entrepreneurship world. The entrepreneurs with the highest potential to change the world are born with immense talent, but they also train incredibly hard. These are the (mostly) guys who had lemonade stands, sold candy out of their lockers or cut lawns, etc. If you want to be in the top 1% of entrepreneurs, you need to be born with the talent to do it and have the opportunity and training to take advantage of the talent.
But the narrative is completely false for the rest of entrepreneurs. If you’re in the top ~60% of natural entrepreneurial talent, with the right training and opportunity, you can be successful. Just like anyone in the top 60% of athletic ability can learn to play a sport competently. By training your entrepreneurship talent you can take control of your life and ditch being chained to a desk, slaving away for someone else.
I’ve seen it first hand teaching entrepreneurship classes at two universities. Between the ~40 entrepreneurs in the two classes I teach there are only two stereotypical entrepreneurs. The vast majority have already graduated and worked in big companies or are engineering students still in school. They are nearly all first time entrepreneurs who have interesting ideas and some entrepreneurial talent. But nearly all of them will fail without training. We’re giving them the tools they need to have a better chance at success, just like a soccer coach would train people who want to get better, or how you’d train yourself to get better at a foreign language.
We’re not alone. There’s tons of entrepreneurship classes that are having the same success we are. Many of them are doing it on a bigger scale. But still, the narrative persists. I am confident that if you’re in the top 60% of entrepreneurial talent and want to train hard, you can be a successful entrepreneur. It can be self training like starting a business on your own, but it can also be guided in a classroom or on the internet.
Entrepreneurs who mowed lawns, had lemonade stands or sold candy at school got a head start on their training compared to others. They had decent talent, but got started training earlier. That’s why many of the successful entrepreneurs fit the narrative. But it’s never too late to start. My class is proving it. Lean startup is proving it. Countless programs around the world are proving it.
We need to start to think about entrepreneurial skills as any other life skill: something we can learn and something that should be part of a well rounded human being. Once we break the narrative, we’ll unlock our society’s entrepreneurial potential and help more people break the chains of needing a job. They’ll be able to support themselves as their own bosses.