By Ja-Nae Duane
Follow your passion. Most entrepreneurs have heard this advice at least once in their lives. Sounds super simple, right? Just find that thing you love more than anything, build a business, and success will follow.
There’s just one tiny problem with this advice. It completely ignores the key elements needed to start a business.
Today, I want to focus on one of the most important elements: YOU.
I understand the temptation to dive immediately into your business. You already know yourself. What difference will it make? First, no two entrepreneurs are the same. Each of us has different strengths and skills. You’ll save yourself a lot of headaches if you identify and understand your entrepreneur type and approach from the start.
What Entrepreneur Type Are You?
The Perfectionist: Works towards perfection; avoids error; conscientious; hates schedules & deadlines; great critical powers; leads by example; prefers doing over feeling.
The Giver: Wants to gain approval; feels pride in being needed; grows by discovering what they want; craves freedom; works for the respect of people.
The Performer: Loves the spotlight; the instant expert; captain of winning team; heart is in the work.
The Romantic: Wants creativity; craves freedom; called to emotionally intense lines of works; attracted to what is missing.
The Observer: Likes boundaries; watches life as an observer; values unemotional decision making; minimalist; values emotional control; extremely productive when in a decision-making role.
The Trooper: Strong analytic powers; comes alive under adversity; clearly focused calls to action; ambivalent about visible success; thrives on adrenaline; asks hard questions; skeptics.
The Epicure: Wants to keep energy up; experiences joy, options and ideas; diffuses fear; the world is full of possibilities; spontaneity; positive future.
The Boss: Concerned with injustices; lusts for life; may see compromise as weakness; defending the innocent; setting boundaries; enforcing the rules.
The Mediator: Maintains neutrality; cannot say ‘no;’ relaxes friction; structure and keeping the peace.
For instance, let’s say you’re thinking about building a business and taking it to IPO. That kind of business can require a really specific structure and limit some of your options. But you personally place a lot of value on freedom and your ability to be creative.
Of course, it’s not that you can’t make the IPO goal happen and take into account your personal preferences. But imagine how much trouble you’ll avoid if you know what matters most to you as an entrepreneur. Over time, you’ll find it’s maybe just a little easier to identify the best choice that gets you closer to the goal and stays true to who you are as an entrepreneur.
You may identify with more than one type. That’s OK. But one is likely to be more dominant. If in doubt, ask your spouse or partner. Sometimes a third party can help us see ourselves more clearly.
Identifying your type is just the first step. You’ll also benefit from knowing your preferred business approach. Do you need to start a business because you just lost a job or need more income? Or do you see an opportunity you can exploit in a particular niche?
What Entrepreneur Approach Will You Take?
The Essentialist: These entrepreneurs are starting a company out of necessity. They could have lost their job or need more income coming into their household. Either way, this entrepreneurial type will rise in the next decade.
The Do-Gooder: These entrepreneurs want to change the world in their small way. Their No. 1 focus is figuring out how to make the largest social impact. Money is secondary to them.
The Expert: These entrepreneurs are experts within a field and have decided to take that expertise and start something of their own. These entrepreneurs are the lawyers, architects, and programmers of the world.
The Artist: These entrepreneurs identify themselves as artists and artisans first. Their No. 1 focus is to create. The business side of things may not come easy to this type, but it is a necessity in order to do their art.
The Franchisee: These entrepreneurs usually come to a business that has already worked out its systems, much like a franchise. They are not interested in having their name tied to a unique entity, but prefer knowing that a system works and that it is profitable. This entrepreneurial type is a low-risk entrepreneur with money as a priority.
The Builder: These entrepreneurs are the opportunity seekers. Once they see an opportunity, they seize it to help it grow. These people are born entrepreneurs. This type is most likely to start a company, build it to a specific point, and then move on to another venture.
The Lifestylist: These entrepreneurs love the idea of living the entrepreneurial lifestyle and are living to grow their businesses large enough to maintain that lifestyle. These entrepreneurs may piece together their business through capitalizing on their own skill set or personal assets. This entrepreneurial type will also have more than one project running, which may include a consultative practice.
Put these two pieces together and you’ll have a more complete picture of who you are as an entrepreneur. That’s powerful information that will play a big role in your future success.
A version of this article originally appeared at StartupEquation.com.
Ja-Naé Duane is Founder of The Revolution Factory and co-author of The Startup Equation. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.