Born with it, Or a Skill Taught?

”Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”
-Steve Jobs

Hey Guys,

I have been pondering over the last couple of weeks if Entrepreneurship is a born with it skill, or is it something the can be taught.

Schools all over the world are rushing to invest in entrepreneurship, many colleges and universities are putting together classes – curriculum about entrepreneurship.Self-help books for business founders are topping the best-seller lists. All of which is rekindling an age-old debate in the business world: Is entrepreneurship a skill that can be taught, or one you have to develop by doing?

But what does it mean to be an entrepreneur? an easy Google search brings up the below;

A person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on financial risk to do so.

Hmm, this seems to simple, why are schools investing heavily in teaching academics how organize and operate a business through taking on risk? This doesn’t seem right – I could search the internet all night for a solid definition of what an entrepreneur is, each would be different in some manor.

Blogs, Vlogs, you name your “ogs” – many people write about business. Finance, Marketing, HR & Directorship, guru’s are out there running their proven frameworks for people to adapt, leverage – this leads to what I call, Co-Creation Methods and Frameworks. 

These woman and men are entrepreneurs, helping other aspiring entrepreneurs. That would mean that these people selling their frameworks etc must have taken on some sort of financial risk to build what they have created as a business… at face value the above lines up with the definition


This doesn’t take into account the thought process prior to investing money the VISION. Are you taking on financial risk, piecing together the pieces in your head? focusing your scope on the niche? Can you never be classed as an entrepreneur until you put your money where your mouth is?

Its funny that a poll taken by Ernst an Young by successful Entrepreneur rate Vision, Passion, Drive, integrity and innovation BEFORE risk, Does this mean the definition is somewhat wrong? 


So many questions – Ill give you some answers based off my experience,

Right after finishing my Marketing paper i was inspired…that feeling when anything was possible. My eyes were open for opportunities, I decided to merg 2 things, GYM and GREEN, yes with some help from some enablers, i was on the road to open the first self sufficient powered gym in NZ… until.. Yes someone told me i needed to do a business plan.

2-3 weeks wasted as a perfected this plan  

It didnt survive first contact with customers, I didn’t follow through with this idea, I thought I had the best resources at the time to lead this idea to success, I could think up of a million excuses as to why it didn’t work, but I do know one right now – I wasn’t ready, I needed to learn some frameworks and broaden my network. I needed a Method to quickly test, iterate and learn.

So – does having ideas mean you are an entrepreneur  no, Its a combination of many factors

  1. Understand your problem/opportunity. What are the different factors or variables that affect that problem?
  2. Focus. Specialize with fewer products and services. All your offerings should adhere to a common thread, rather than trying to attack every aspect of a complex problem.
  3. Understand your own personal strengths and weaknesses. You don’t have to do everything! The faster you can go out and attract others to work with you or learn to fill in your gaps, the better.
  4. Pilot – Try it out! Invite feedback.
  5. Please do not wait for the perfect moment. It will not come. Lack of funds, team, etc. should not delay you. You have to start today.

From the Gym experience I have gone strength to strength utilising the above points

Are there elements of entrepreneurship that can’t be taught? Sure, just as there are elements of engineering, medicine and law that can’t be taught. And, as some critics point out, these unteachable elements involve people skills: for instance, how salespeople can figure out how to get to “yes” with potential customers after hearing “no” after “no.”

But everybody has to develop people skills to get along in the world. Everybody has some experience building relationships and motivating people. Harnessing those experiences and then extending them through real-world experience applies to all walks of life.

What I know is that I must let my ideas flourish.. but i must test them hard enough to see the viability of them

What I can tell you is, Writing a Business Plan was the worst thing I have ever done for exploring one of my ideas, Academics, professors, entrepreneurs are getting things right now and there is a wealth of information coming from them which is informing the people like yourself and I

Some key things to note when you have an idea.. 

  1. Let it flourish, let it stirr in your mind
  2. Write it all down on a Business Model Canvas
  3. Test all these assumptions, if you need help read Steve Blanks book *link below*
  4. Rewrite your canvas, pivots, included
  5. ReTest

The key thing here is getting out of the building, an idea is great in your head – but don’t be scared in writing it down, and going and talking to who you think your customers are, this could even be a landing page website with some smarts behind it drawing analytics to further test against.

I can tell you I have wasted to much time sitting idle, not doing much when I should have been taking leaps into the unknown… 
this is the heart entrepreneurism

Books the a recommend reading;
If you build it will they come – Dr Rob Adams
The Lean Startup – Eric Ries
The Lean Entreprenure – Brant Cooper
The Startup Owners Manuel – Steve Blank

While writing this email – I was watching something that took my back to the spacies down Rata St fishn’ chip shop in Naenae, Good times!

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