“You’re Not a Real Entrepreneur…”

By Sean Ogle •  Updated: 11/03/14 •  5 min read

What is an EntrepreneurEvery so often I get a comment here at Location Rebel that just kind of rubs me the wrong way.

I’m sure you’ve seen examples of it before, where someone who appears to be a bit disgruntled with their own life leaves a negative comment, yet doesn’t provide any evidence or reason to back up their argument.

Recently, I received a comment like this, and in my mind, it brought up a lot of interesting points that I wanted to address.

The comment in question was on my post “How I Almost Became a Chinese Import Magnate” which was introducing my latest product, Enter China.

Here it is:

Sorry Sean,

I have to get this off my chest, but you wouldn’t have been a magnate.

You’re in the business of selling the dream of living the “lifestyle” as opposed to being a real entrepreneur… and Enter China is just another example.

It’s a relatively short comment but it brings up a really big question: what constitutes an entrepreneur?

What is an Entrepreneur?

An entrepreneur in my mind has always been defined as starting a business that solves a problem of a consumer.

My very first business was one painting houses. A consumer has a problem such as failing paint is leading to the destruction of their house. I start a business fixing the problem. Everyone wins.

The dictionary defines it as:

A person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.

So slightly different definitions, but still the same general premise, start and manage a business.

Do I Qualify as an Entrepreneur?

So I read this, and thought to myself, ok, so do I qualify as an entrepreneur?

Obviously, the answer is yes, but this is such a dangerous question because there are so many different ways you can look at it.

For instance, I consider myself a lifestyle entrepreneur. I created a small business that is designed to allow me to do the things I want to do in life.

It may not be the traditional startup route, but it makes a lot of sense to me.

So here’s my issue with those lambasting people like me and saying I’m not an entrepreneur:

There are so many other people out there, who look more traditional, but aren’t solving any real problems.

Half of the startup world is like this.

Look at all of the flashy tech startups that have twenty somethings working their asses off to get funding or sell their business, but aren’t really doing anything to change the world.

There are hundreds of mobile ad startups out there. Are they solving a real pressing societal issue? What about every new social media app out there? Nope, not usually solving any major problem either.

So many of those entrepreneurs are doing it for the prestige of being part of a startup.  And that’s totally cool, I have no problem with that at all. But to say that someone like that is a true entrepreneur and someone like myself isn’t just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

The Danger of Selling the Dream

This where I’m assuming Jonathan was directing most of his criticism.  There are a lot of people out there who make money, by teaching people how to make money.

Most of those products and systems suck, and the consumer is left feeling duped.

If you want to get very technical about things, you could say that much of my business revolves around teaching people to make money – and yes, I make money by selling that information.

But, that’s where the similarities stop.

I spent three years of my life learning how to make an income for myself, on my own. I did it via writing and freelance SEO work. I learned an important skill set during that time, and I found that this freelancing model was an excellent way to generate 3-5k/month for yourself.

Once you’ve got that, you have a ton of power. Most people can support themselves and their family on $5k/month. So those that are successful can then decide if they want to continue down that path indefinitely, or start something new that might be even more lucrative and meaningful.

I have hundreds of Location Rebel members who have gone through that process and have been very successful.

Many of them have gone on to create their version of the “dream”, which often involves a more traditional style of business (e-commerce, consulting, manufacturing etc).

But I’ve built my business on getting them to that point. Sure I might be selling the dream, but that only works as long as people obtain the dream. Which they have.

Note: Does everyone achieve all of their goals? Of course not. Is it the right fit for everyone? Absolutely not. But for those that truly invest in the system, it’s worked incredibly well.

Enter China is a similar thing. Nick and Tim my business partners will generate over a MILLION dollars in revenue this year through their watch and wine businesses. Enter China is a way to give guidance and a network to people who want to do that.

How are these businesses any different than the traditional university model? Aside from being much less expensive, much more targeted, and much more practical – they’re pretty similar.

Bottom line I look for problems I know how to solve, and then help other people solve them.

So if you want to say that because I’m “selling the dream” I’m not an entrepreneur, go ahead.

But you know what sets me apart? Instead of just selling the dream like so many millions of other products do, I help deliver it.

Sean Ogle

Sean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
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