The Three Types of Entrepreneurs

Which one are you?

In 2016, the word entrepreneur became more cliche than the word love. Even hipsters are using this word to describe people.

But people aren’t only overusing the word. They’re misusing it. Abusing it, even.

These days, entrepreneur is thrown around casually. People apply it gratuitously to every Tom, Dick, and Harry with a cash register or idea. They shouldn’t.

Entrepreneur is a sacred word.

In reality, only three types of people deserve the title Entrepreneur.

Solopreneurs, startup entrepreneurs, and small business entrepreneurs.

They bear similar resemblance, but each type is vastly different. Different motivations drive them. Different missions make them who they are. Those characteristics outline the reasons they matter so much to our way of life and why they deserve our admiration.

Not everyone deserves to be called an entrepreneur. Here’s a brief outline of those who do.

The Solopreneur

The solopreneur (sometimes referred to as a freelancer) is an entrepreneur who wants be in control of what work they do, how much work they do, and when they do it. Think of a photographer, artist, or graphic designer — people who work on projects for clients as their main source of income, and have maybe one employee, or none at all.

The solopreneur is mainly characterized by their total control over their own lifestyle. I work anywhere, as much or as little as I want, whenever I want — that’s the motto of a solopreneur. Their work is on their terms. The solopreneur isn’t necessarily looking for explosive growth in their business, but rather the freedom to make their business as small or as big as they want it to be.

The Startup Entrepreneur

The startup entrepreneur is someone who starts a business with aims of explosive growth. The startup entrepreneur wants their product or solution to reach as many people as possible, and they’ll do whatever it takes to make that happen.

Technology has a disproportionate amount of startup entrepreneurs because technology is easy to distribute to large amounts of people, and the demand exists for new technology nearly everywhere.

Idealism, a bias for action, and a desire to “put a dent in the universe” characterize the startup entrepreneur.

The Small Business Entrepreneur

The small business entrepreneur is someone who wants a thriving business but does not need to reach every single person possible. Rather, small business entrepreneurs are driven to provide unique and valuable experiences for each of their customers and employees.

When considering the freedom and impact spectrum, most media is focused on the very small percentages on the far ends. While small business entrepreneurs can be vastly different in how they approach this spectrum, they share the commonality of being somewhere between giving up all personal freedom for a huge impact, and having nearly unlimited freedom and a ceiling on their impact.

These people who treat entrepreneurship with some level of moderation are the backbone of our economy, and provide amazing experiences for all of us every day.


1 → n focuses exclusively on the small business entrepreneur. All entrepreneurs deserve celebration, but there’s plenty of content out there for solopreneurs and startup entrepreneurs. We’re focused on the SMB entrepreneur, because we love what they do.

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