What can Everyone Learn from Great Entrepreneurs? There is no Single Path to Entrepreneurship

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 18 April 2023 00:00

In my experience as a strategic advisor to business leaders as well as being a serial entrepreneur myself, I find that many people believe that they cannot become entrepreneurs because it is “too late” for them or perhaps the sun has set on their chance to make a massive change in an industry or the world. Whether it is the way entrepreneurship is marketed to the world these days or some other reason, these individuals feel there is a hard deadline on starting a successful business.

I have found that there are three common reasons that people believe they cannot become an entrepreneur: 

  • They believe entrepreneurship requires specific training or credentials like other fields of work 
  • They believe success in entrepreneurship comes before a certain age
  • They believe they need to live in a certain area of the world


The great news that I bring to many individuals is that these reasons are baseless fears. Not a single reason listed above could not be further from the truth, and, today, I want to explore why.

Schooling Isn’t Always the Answer

First, let’s talk about the belief that entrepreneurship requires some specific level of training, a degree, or unique qualifications. The individuals that let this hold them back from innovation that could change the world typically believe they need an ivy league education or a certification from someone who has blazed a trail before them.

But let me ask you: Did Michael Dell let this hold him back? Not a chance! As many may or may not know, he spent his time upgrading and selling computers in his dorm room. 

At the age of 19 Dell started his first company, PCs Ltd., which became Dell Computer Corp. in 1987. By 1992, Dell became the youngest CEO on the Fortune 500 list at 27. His net worth around $20 billion today.

How about to other entrepreneurs who are vastly different in their industries but similar in one realm — having little formal education. I’m talking about both Steve Jobs and Rachael Ray. Both entrepreneurs dropped out of college and Steve Jobs went on to found Apple Computers while Rachael Ray became a successful author and businesswoman.

In short, neither a business degree nor a degree at all is required to become a successful entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurship Is Ageless

What about the second reason — needing to be of a certain age? Do you have to be Mark Zuckerberg, founding Facebook at the age of 20? Why is this a fallacy?

Especially today, hitting the reset button later in life is becoming more and more common as the physical and mental longevity of human beings extends thanks to profound healthcare, diet, and exercise. Nevertheless, there are some classic examples of tremendous success from older individuals.

Bernie Marcus co-founded Home Depot at 50 years old and Colonel Sanders actually started selling his KFC chicken at 65. There is no age constraint on becoming an entrepreneur and, as a matter of fact, being Anticipatory and using some of the principles in my Anticipatory teachings becomes easier as you get older, based on life experience, living through exponential change, and piecing together the reality that nothing is perfect and there may be a better way to solve a problem.

Location Is NOT a Constraint

As for needing to reside in a certain location, the internet and the growing interconnectivity of our global market is making location work and the perceived success around it largely unnecessary. This is a great thing, as for the right Anticipatory Leader, this means even more opportunity than ever before!

You can reside in one location and still reach any customer base or business opportunity across the globe. What helps debunk this fallacy that entrepreneurs have to live in certain areas are my Three Digital Accelerators — processing power/computing power, bandwidth, and storage. These “accelerators” all aid in the ability for entrepreneurs of any industry to better connect with customers, execute sales, and even deliver products.

Do You Have What It Takes? Ask Yourself These Questions

Now that you have a foundational understanding that education level, age, and location are not factors that should hold you back from pursuing entrepreneurship, what does it require to take the leap into entrepreneurship and act?

To know if you have the tools necessary to become an entrepreneur, ask yourself the below three questions:

1. Are You Hungry Enough?

Successful entrepreneurs have the motivation to pursue an opportunity as it comes along, as they are driven and eager to create transformation. So I ask you, are you hungry enough to make a difference? Likewise, is that hunger driven by the desire to do something significant or simply by monetary success?

2. Are You Ready to Work Hard?

Nothing comes easy, least of all entrepreneurship. It requires dedication, perseverance, and passion. While working hard is certainly the question here, perhaps an additional inquiry should be: Are you ready to work smart? Entrepreneurship takes an Anticipatory mindset, allowing you to actively see opportunity in disruptions. 

3. Do You Know Where to Start?

A business never emerges out of thin air, and the entrepreneurs mentioned here today did not have the opportunity to start a business fall into their lap passively. Of the things entrepreneurship does not require, there are certain actions that it does require, such as looking to Hard Trend future certainties, disruptions, and determining where the opportunity lies. 

You may answer the first two questions in the affirmative, but sometimes knowing where to start is the hardest part. If you need help beginning your entrepreneurship journey, consider signing up for my Anticipatory Leader Membership to build a foundation for yourself to start.

Now, it is your turn to make a significant transformation in the world and be a positive disruptor that betters the lives of those around you!

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Daniel Burrus

Daniel Burrus is considered one of the World’s Leading Futurists on Global Trends and Disruptive Innovation. The New York Times has referred to him as one of the top three business gurus.

He is the CEO of Burrus Research, a research and consulting firm that monitors global advancements in technology driven trends to help clients profit from technological, social and business forces that are converging to create enormous, untapped opportunities.

He is a strategic advisor to executives from Fortune 500 companies, using his Anticipatory Business Model to develop game-changing strategies based on his proven methodologies for capitalizing on technology innovations and their future impact. He has delivered over 3,000 keynote speeches worldwide. 

He is the author of seven books, including The New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller Flash Foresight, and his latest best selling book The Anticipatory Organization, and he is a syndicated writer with millions of monthly readers on the topics of technology driven trends, disruptive innovation, and exponential change. 

Burrus is an innovative entrepreneur who has founded six businesses, four of which were U.S. national leaders in the first year.   His accurate predictions date back to the early 1980s where he became the first and only futurist to accurately identify the twenty exponential technologies that would become the driving force of business and economic growth for decades to come. Since then, he has continued to establish a worldwide reputation for his exceptional record of predicting the future of technology driven change and its direct impact on the business world.


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