“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.
Learn How to Make Your First $1,000 Freelance Writing (in 30 Days or Less)

Join over 40,000 people who have taken our 6 part freelance writing course. Sign up below and let’s do this together.

By entering your email address you agree to receive emails from Location Rebel. We'll respect your privacy and you can unsubscribe at any time.

20 comments on "“You’re Not a Real Entrepreneur…”"

  1. It’s not bad to “sell the dream.” A lot of people have gotten rich selling the dream, and then they can say they are rich and sell even more!

    I think if you can make money w/ your own two hands and support yourself, you are an entrepreneur. That’s it!

    1. Sean says:

      Long time no see Sam! Thanks for the thoughts 🙂

  2. Jason says:

    People are going to try and bring down the happy, successful do it themselves peeps. I deal with it daily and its sad to me that they are where they are do to their negative thoughts. I design my life and lifestyle around passions and true happiness as you do and if we can support our families on it, Why The Hell Not!
    Let them go to boring, unfullfilling “Real Jobs”, less competition for us.
    P.S. Search The Dream, Live The Search my friend!

  3. I don’t care if you call yourself an entrepreneur, lifestyle entrepreneur, dream seller, writer, whatever. What I do care about is that you provide kick-ass content, shit that actually works when followed. Location 180 didn’t happen overnight, you’ve made that clear. Anyone expecting overnight success needs a dose of reality. You’re doing work that matters to you, that’s making a difference for you and for others, and you’re sharing what works and what doesn’t so that others may achieve the same level of success you have without having to figure it all out themselves. Whoever wrote that comment obviously hasn’t taken the time read over much of your content because if they did, they’d realize you’re not just selling the dream, but the “how to” behind it. Maybe you aren’t an entrepreneur, maybe you’re just the man. 🙂 Cheers!

  4. If you didn’t sell the dream, then I wouldn’t be currently living mine for the past two years traveling and working around the world.

    Simple as that mate.

    1. Sean says:

      This totally made my day. Thanks for the comment 🙂

  5. Mike Rioux says:

    You nailed it Sean. So many people get frustrated that success doesn’t happen overnight and fail to understand the real work that needs to invested in order to actually be successful. It’s a mindset that some have and others don’t.

  6. Jan Koch says:

    I agree 100% with your thoughts on startups Sean.
    Entrepreneurs try to make the world a better place. Some invent ground breaking technologies, some run traditional companies, others help people to live the lifestyle of your dreams.

    No need to question that you’re an entrepreneur. You’re solving a major need for your audience, this is qualification enough.

    Keep up the great work!

  7. Sheralyn says:

    Yes, you’re selling the dream, and good for you! 🙂 And as you pointed out, you figured out a way to support yourself and earn a good living before you started teaching others what you know – you walked the talk. That makes you credible as far as I’m concerned.

  8. Jon Bowes says:

    I don’t agree with selling the dream when it’s just the dream. Selling the dream, and a path to get there is good in my books, but too many MLM type info products just sell the dream and then very little applicable knowledge.

    I think it’s best to sell both the motivational, inspirational aspect of developing a business, and the practical, applicable part also.

    Some people have all the practical knowledge in the world, and what they need is that dream. Stoking the fire is a really valuable service also.

  9. Karl says:

    As a member of Enter China, I don’t think it was ever sold to me as a “dream” or a “lifestyle.” It is selling a very very helpful resource tool. Which in my eyes is creating and selling a product to fill a need where there is nothing else on the market. Thus by taking the initiative and risk to start the platform is being an entrepreneur.

  10. I was hanging out with Carlo in Medellín yesterday and he told me about this post. I had to come check it out.

    Frankly, I’m amazed that you get this kind of criticism, Sean. I’ve met you a couple of times and I know that you walk your talk.

    I’d also rather have your business than businesses some friends of mine have. They might make ridiculous amounts of money, but I don’t seem them solving any significant problems in the world.

    Keep doing what you do!

  11. Christina says:

    Actually Jonathan’s email made me chuckle.

    Sean you are selling a dream and the tools to put the dream into reality. Location 180 and Location Rebel are making entrepreneurship relate-able and reachable for me. With any path in life, you as the person have to seize the opportunities and put them into motion.

    Also I have to agree that your business is humanity driven. I would like to ask Jonathan how many business owners (or people are in general) do you know willing to show people on a mass scale how to make a living for themselves?

  12. Nathaniel says:

    Hey Sean,

    I joined Location Rebel just shy of a month ago. Now, I have been through many of the blueprints and have participated in the forums. To be honest, I wish I had joined back in 2011. This will be the thing that helps me to build a lifestyle business that I have wanted to build for about a year now. I already have a skill that I can market and leverage, but now I will be able to have multiple income streams thanks to the tools in Location Rebel. Thanks and don’t worry about what negative people are saying. They don’t matter.

  13. Chas says:

    I do not know of a single ad that isn’t selling some type of a dream; usually a nice car, a nice house, an attractive spouse and a happy family. I think selling a dream of a free lifestyle is even more worthy. I would also venture to say that Michaelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci and Mark Twain were every bit as much ‘Entrepreneurs’, as anyone living today, in every sense of the word. Creating something on your own, rather than fulfilling an employer’s dreams, gives you every right to consider yourself an entrepreneur, in my humble opinion.

  14. nayar ali says:

    Haters will always be haters, I’m sure you’ve learned how to ignore them by now Sean haha.
    I think anyone who takes a risk and goes out and makes money with their two hands can be classed as an entrepreneur, regardless of how its done.
    To be honest there are many ‘traditional’ entrepreneurs out there now a days who aren’t making any difference to this world.
    The fact that you are providing value to help other people become entrepreneurs and live a life they find meaningful is much more powerful than any useless tech startup.
    If you make a living from helping people lead a better more productive life then so be it.
    Keep at it Sean, We appreciate all that you do.

  15. Elaine says:

    I appreciate your genuine truth. What problems are other startups solving? I’m always amazed, and a bit saddened by our society’s Norm Standards. 90hr work weeks? WHAT?!!? I’ve had renegade work tendencies all my life, and until recently didn’t understand why.

    Thanks for finally giving be a role model that makes sense.

  16. Ryan says:

    Likewise, I met up with Carlo the other day here in Medellin and he mentioned this post of yours specifically–so I came by to dig it up.

    I kind of touched on this in another blog post here, but it does strike me about the different perspective that people have on trading dollars for physical products and trading dollars for information products. Lots of people wouldn’t have a problem dropping $100 on a pair of shoes (if that’s their thing) but would balk about spending $100 on an information product like a travel hacking guide, for instance, which would go on to save many hundreds of dollars.

    The information product would likely change your perspective and opportunities throughout your life. The new shoes you’re probably not likely to even care about a few months down the road…

  17. Christian LS says:

    Seriously just haters on your success.

    I haven’t yet achieved the lifestyle that you sell, but with the little experience I’ve gained from your site and course, I know it’s feasible.

    Just have to be willing to put yourself out there and do the work.

  18. Cbhris says:

    It’s a very loose term with a very loose definition. Are you a real entrepreneur in my book? Probably. I take more issue with the use of the word “business” here. Whether small, or large, if an organization requires you in order to function, you do not have a business. You have a practice, which is okay too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *