What a George Mason Expert Is Saying about … How to Tell If You’re an Entrepreneur

Posted: June 26, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Tara Laskowski

Jim Wolfe, professor of management and entrepreneur-in-residence in the School of Management, has had 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur.

He founded his own economic development and international investment consulting firm in 1989, a software development and services company in 1997 and a private business consulting firm, J Street Consulting, in 2001.

For Wolfe, being an entrepreneur is about having a certain mindset. Entrepreneurs, in his experience, have tendencies and personality traits such as team building skills, persistence, selling skills and a very low tolerance for mediocrity.

Wolfe has developed a tried-and-true checklist, based on his experience, that can help a person decide if he or she has the makings of an entrepreneur:

  • Instead of playing ball as a kid, you were always the one organizing games so you could sell lemonade to the players.
  • You organized the college spring break trips, with a commission from the travel agent to cover your beer money.
  • Your parents begged you to drop out of college after they saw how much money you were making with the business you started in your freshman dorm.
  • You interviewed prospective dates as if they were candidates to be your first business partner.
  • Other kids made college money baby-sitting; you made money selling your baby-sitting business when you went off to college.
  • You took your first job as a way to explore the industry as maybe a good place to start you own business.
  • In your mind it was never a matter of if, but just when, you would start your own business.
  • Your level of frustration with the managers at your job was always higher than your satisfaction with the pay.
  • You are neither a risky gambler, nor a tightwad. You carefully balance what you see as a big payoff, with the chance of a serious financial loss.
  • You firmly believe there is someone out there better than you at each task you undertake. And you are good at getting those kinds of people to work together.
  • You are convinced you have a unique idea that could help save the world, and since nobody else is doing it, you’d better get to it.

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