Ethics

Fakepreneurs, a Modern Epidemic

Fakepreneurs, a Modern Epidemic
Image credit: Delete | Flickr

With entrepreneurship being the sexiest profession going these days, a lot of people are wanting to get into the club. Saying you're an entrepreneur has as much social cachet as mentioning you attend med school has. 

Beyond the esteem, there's a similarity in the fact that no one actually knows if you will become a successful entrepreneur -- just as no one knows if you will graduate and become a doctor. But few people go around spreading doubt that a med student will graduate.  

Yet most people doubt the success of an entrepreneur. 

There's almost no way to fake your way into med school but there are plenty of fakepreneurs. 

Here’s how to tell the difference between a fakepreneur and an entrepreneur:  

Related: The Real Person's Guide to Finding Your Passion and Loving What You Do

You might think it has to do with how much is in the bank: You’re wrong.

Being an entrepreneur is about being someone who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risk to do so.

Almost all successful entrepreneurs will tell you a story of when they had no money in the bank. Success is a function of a moment in time. Some have claimed that success is not final and failure not fatal but it's courage that's crucial.

You might be thinking that true entrepreneurship has to do with how much staff someone has. Wrong again.

There's the starting of Facebook. Probably most people would agree that Mark Zuckerberg was an entrepreneur before he hired a member of staff. 

You might think you can discern the truth in a stunning paperweight filled with business cards, the square footage of an office or the dazzle of a corporate website. Again, incorrect.

All these things are part of a show that can be bought by anyone. They do not give clarity to the differentiation between fakepreneur and real entrepreneur. 

Related: 5 Ways Entrepreneurs Learn to Manage Risk

Some might even say that if you have a day job, you're not a real entrepreneur and I disagree with this, too. Risk is relative and paying rent is responsible. To me, someone with bills to pay and mouths to feed who keeps a day job while hustling to create a new venture on the side is as much an entrepreneur as the next guy. He or she just likely has some responsibilities or a different risk profile. 

The real difference is the effort and the integrity of the intention to start something, adapt, sell, succeed, fail, pivot, get knocked down and rise up. The difference lies in the why behind the actions. 

Are you seeking to select a title or solve a problem?

The truth in being an entrepreneur lies in the actions and problem solving a person does.

Related: With Social Media, Fakes Are a Real Problem for Your Business