Throw away your contemporary dictionary definitions to get at the heart of what makes entrepreneurs tick.
“Entrepreneurship” has become nothing more than a buzzword. It is laden on the lips and social posts of young “hungry-for-success” influencers. The word used to convey the ideology of daring innovation and spectacular risk, but social media has overused the word to the point we rarely take notice of those who claim the title “Entrepreneur.”
The dictionary definition of entrepreneur is a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so.
I’d like to redefine the word “entrepreneur.” My definition would be: One who chooses passion over fear, who understands risk, but chooses to ignore it while chasing even greater gains through innovation in any area of life, but particularly in business.
I think that definition clearly brings back the ethos of the word and gives it a path for people to follow. It sparks the soul of someone who was created to be just that—an entrepreneur.
We cannot remove risk from the definition. Whether it is a real risk or a perceived risk, risk is always present. The easiest way to capture the true definition of entrepreneur is to reference people. To me, entrepreneurs are Wilbur and Orville Wright, Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs, and Elon Musk.
Those names generate strong feelings, emotional reactions. Those feelings are rooted in our ability to see and understand what they were willing to risk to gain what they achieved. But even if the Wrights never successfully took flight, or Edison never got his lightbulb to illuminate, or Steve Jobs never had a computer in every household, or Elon Musk never mass sold electric cars, they would each still be considered entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are identified by their attempt—not by their success.
That brings me to real estate investors. Using the modern-day definition of entrepreneurship, real estate investors would quickly be categorized as entrepreneurs. It is important for you to decide whether that definition really describes who you are. Just because society deems you as such does not mean you personally identify. Are you willing to push past risk and innovate? By and large, most real estate investors are not truly entrepreneurs. Most likely, they are just opportunistic investors looking for a better return.
Being a Real Estate Entrepreneur in the Current Market
Now that we have defined what an entrepreneur is and you have done some self-reflection to see if the definition fits, let’s consider actions an entrepreneur might take in the current economic climate.
1. Passion over Fear.
Some real estate investors invest, buy, flip, hold, and wholesale because they love real estate—and they love the deals. They will never leave the market no matter what state it is in.
I met a lot of these investors back in 2008-2010. While they were running into the market, many others were running out. They saw opportunity no matter which way the market was headed. Real estate is more than just a job to them. It is a life and a lifestyle. They go on vacation and can’t help but look for deals wherever they are. The first email they open every morning is the one listing 10 houses you are sure to love from Zillow. They eat, sleep, and breathe real estate. These are closer to hitting the definition of entrepreneur than those that are just real estate investors at the peak of the market.
Given our current marketplace, many real estate investors will go running for the hills. Rising interest rates, housing shortages, and lean margins have already pushed out some, and others have already run to other mediums for investing.
2. Risk over reward.
Warren Buffett, probably the most quoted investor in the world, said: “I will tell you how to become rich. Close the doors. Be fearful when others are greedy. Be greedy when others are fearful.”
When everyone begins to run out of the market in fear is the time where the intuitive can find the greatest reward. Remember, entrepreneurs go against the grain. They do not follow common paths.
Real estate has always been a place where you can find success in any market. If you are willing to adjust both process and strategy, there are ways to find success. When risk goes up so does reward. There is a reason why there are millions of investors and hundreds of billionaires. By and large, the billionaires are willing to risk more than others think is practical or safe—and they find a greater reward. In our current market, the wrong move could be catastrophic, but the right one could lead to massive success. An entrepreneur lives for days like that. Common investors loathe the thought of days like that.
3. Innovation over Stagnation.
If you are still investing in real estate the same way you have always invested, whether times are good or bad, I am not suggesting you are doing something wrong. The investor that has a long-term strategy will have a long-term payoff. Long-term strategies typically reduce risk.
That is why innovation should be in the definition of entrepreneurship. Innovation is a new method, idea, product, etc. A synonym for “innovation” is “revolution”—a dramatic wide-reaching change. During one of the most dynamic and ever-changing marketplaces, the entrepreneur will not stagnate. Rather, the true entrepreneur will look for areas where they can, with some changes, find massive reward that a stable environment will not provide.
In summary, if the current issues of our real estate market keep you up at night, force you to consider doing something differently, or worry you to the point of complete exit, you might not be an entrepreneur.
But, if the current real estate market has your mind racing about new possibilities and you wake up at night thinking of ways to make your business better or different so you can capitalize in new ways, then you just might be an entrepreneur.
Social influencers can define entrepreneurship however they wish, but true entrepreneurs know what it really takes. We live it every day. And when we identify someone who possesses the same tenacity, risk tolerance, and innovation, we know exactly who they are—A True Entrepreneur.
An entrepreneur and visionary by nature, Eddie Wilson’s widespread interests have led to successful ventures across the globe, from operating non-profits and owning an ad agency that worked with well-known household brands to investing in hundreds of real estate projects and building a nationally. syndicated radio show. Today, he guides AAPL and Think Realty with his marketing, funding, and real estate investing knowledge to ensure their establishment as the premier organizations in their sectors.
Wilson graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in broadcast sales and marketing. He also studied marketing at Georgia Tech and business management at Emory University.