Guest post by David Hauser
It’s easy to identify the expertise of certain types of professionals —the best copywriters possess the gift of expression, the most sought after scientists are masters of investigation and observation, and successful lawyers know how to negotiate and write contracts. But pinpointing the expertise of an entrepreneur may not be as obvious.
I believe entrepreneurs are born, not trained. Sure, there are business and tech skills you can learn, but overall you can’t change the innate essence of who you are. The intrinsic nature of an entrepreneur is just different than those who choose to pursue more traditional professional paths. In fact, when entrepreneurs reflect on their childhood, they can often identify a hobby or activity that was the precursor to becoming an entrepreneur.
Take me for example. When I was a kid and people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I told them I had no idea. But looking back now, it all makes sense. I loved selling and creating new opportunities. I would sell just about anything to anyone including jewelry made by friends, and even rocks. And in high school, I peddled my skills as a web site designer. While other kids were playing soccer and taking piano lessons, I was trying to figure out ways to make money. Obviously, that was an entrepreneur’s path.
Besides some type of innate yearning to create something from nothing, here are what I consider to be some areas of expertise entrepreneurs possess.
Entrepreneurs Persist Beyond Mistakes
Like most people, entrepreneurs make countless mistakes along the way. Yet their view of setbacks and blunders is not so devastating and bleak. It’s quite the opposite actually. Entrepreneurs instinctively believe there is value in failure. It eliminates possibilities and forces you to find new solutions. Mistakes provide data and context and sometimes even turn into unexpected products or services (think Post-It Notes). Entrepreneurs count on failure as part of the process of building a company, instead of viewing it as the end of the road.
Have I failed? Absolutely. And early on, my failures taught me to test out new ideas on a smaller scale and make decisions based upon data, instead of investing and losing significant time and money upfront. I still make mistakes, but the magnitude and consequences of my mistakes have decreased over time.
Entrepreneurs Get Things Done
I like to tell people, “If you want to get something done, hire an entrepreneur.” Entrepreneurs go out and make things happen, instead of just talking about it. They’re not afraid of picking up the phone, figuring out how to get the attention of the right person or asking for help. Entrepreneurs are action-oriented—they only know how to move forward and do whatever it takes to get it done.
I’ve never met a successful entrepreneur who built a business in an industry they weren’t passionate about. It’s the passion that drives us to work 24/7, take risks, overcome obstacles and stay focused on the finish line. Without passion, no one is providing direction nor driving the big idea. No one is striving to create something spectacular from nothing.
Entrepreneurs Embrace and Adapt to Change
Some people find the mercurial nature of entrepreneurs to be a little unsettling. But in order to persevere and reach the ultimate goal, entrepreneurs know change is inevitable. It’s just part of the journey. In addition to being open to changing aspects of one’s business, entrepreneurs need to adapt to changing roles.
When I first started Grasshopper with my co-founder Siamak Taghaddos, I was responsible for much of the technology or at least communicating our needs to developers who were (and still are) a lot smarter than me. But over the years my roles have changed many times from overseeing processes to cultivating the right environment for our people to play to their strengths to creating HR policies to developing unified core company values. I still have enough technical knowledge to challenge and ask smart questions, but my ability to change roles has allowed everyone to flourish.
Do some entrepreneurs have an expertise in a specific area? Absolutely. The strengths I mentioned relate to an entrepreneur’s way of being more than a particular trade. Are there other broad areas of expertise among entrepreneurs? Definitely. What would you add to this list?
Zintro is proud to include guest posts written by prominent entrepreneurs like David Hauser. Zintro is a “Search and Connect Engine” that makes it easy for clients (expert-seekers) to find and connect with experts for projects (ranging from one half hour phone consults to multi-month on-site engagements). Zintro has experts in every industry sector, across every job function, in every geographic region. Recently, some of the following topics have seen activity: