Were You Born To Be An Entrepreneur?

by Shonali Burke on June 8, 2010

Is “entrepreneurialism” in your DNA?

I have long wondered what makes an entrepreneur an entrepreneur. Beyond the sense of adventure, the desire to break out on one’s own and build something meaningful and prosperous, I’ve wondered if entrepreneurialism is something you are born with or you actually become over time.

Sometimes, I think it’s both.

I’ve seen and known folks who have no other entrepreneurial influences beyond their own dreams strike out to become successful. We actually hear these kinds of success stories all the time. Suzie Q or John Doe create product or service “X” and before you know it, through hard work and innovation, they become “Big Time” and end up as media darlings with thriving businesses and celebrity clients.

And then there are folks that come from a long line of entrepreneurialism in their families and who have been raised with entrepreneurial examples for as long as they can remember.

From grandmother…

Take little ol’ me for instance … my maternal grandmother, Juanita, was an expert seamstress back in the ’30s and ’40s. She was a single mother raising my mom and was often hired to sew intricate garments and costumes for special events, wedding gowns included. And we are talking exquisite handiwork with brocades and other delicate textiles to create miracles from what were once mere bolts of fabric and spools of thread.

At some point she gained her beautician’s license and, by the ’50s, owned her own beauty salon in the heart of downtown San Juan, Puerto Rico. There, my grandmother single-handedly managed a complete salon operation as well as staff and clients.

… to father…

My dad, Ray, was also entrepreneurial by nature. Never finding satisfaction with traditional employment, pops would take on commission-based, independent contractor jobs which led him to some highly visible sales jobs … once for a wine and spirits manufacturer; another time for Budweiser®.

Today, at the age of 64, dad continues his independent-contractor streak with English-Spanish transcription services for businesses as well as a sales rep for boat loans via a regional boat loan service based out of Florida’s Treasure Coast.

And there’s more….

My older brother is a very talented doctor who for several years managed his own medical practice of internal medicine in the Savanna, Georgia area.

My youngest sister has, for the last 8-9 years, managed a real estate practice which she and her then-boyfriend co-founded in the early 2000s. To date, her practice has sold more than 700 properties throughout Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

My mom has been an independent contractor with the U.S. federal government for more than 10 years, providing a variety of services to overseas U.S. embassy staff throughout Latin America.


Actually, I didn’t realize that all these family members carry the Entrepreneurial Bug gene in their DNA until this past weekend. I think in my recent, reflective efforts to discover why I am the way I am and why I’ve always have a natural propensity to be an independent business woman vs. someone’s employee, it occurred to me that I come from a long line of entrepreneurs who took incredible financial and personal risks.

There are countless stories of failures and successes; most family members failed various times but continued forward until they found the right angle, the right practice and the right combination of talent and service to make things work for themselves.

So, are entrepreneurs born or made?

Yes, sure you can be entrepreneurial of your own right without any trace of the Entrepreneurial Bug gene in your family’s lineage.

However, when you’ve grown up with these kinds of examples and have been surrounded by independent thinkers and doers all your life, you’re bound to find yourself following in those very same footsteps, like it or not.

What about you? Were you born to be an entrepreneur?

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Image: ®DS‘ Flickrstream, Creative Commons

Mayra Ruiz is founder of Ruiz McPherson Communications, a social media influence and digital marketing service based in historic Charles Town, West Virginia. With more than 15 years of hands-on marketing, communications and PR experience, Mayra leads her clients forward on all aspects of creative direction, online promotion and marketing communications with innovation, passion and gusto.  When offline, Mayra enjoys “old fashioned” non-techy stuff like cooking, sewing and collecting vintage treasures from area antiques stores. She can be reached at www.twitter.com/mayraruiz or www.twitter.com/ruizmcpherson (her marketing practice).

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