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Do You Have What It Takes To Become An Entrepreneur?

J.F. (Jim) Straw
by J.F. (Jim) Straw

Believe it or don’t, I just flunked another test for “entrepreneurial” traits!

From my test score, it appears I am probably better adapted to washing dishes than running a business. Then again, according to the governing laws of aerodynamics, Bumble Bees can’t fly either.

Let me tell you a TRUE STORY about those tests. — You’ve seen them. They usually have a headline like …

Do You Have What It Takes To Become An Entrepreneur?

Back in 1977, an old millionaire friend of mine … in his late 70s … sent me a 20-question test with a personal note asking me to answer the questions and return them to him. — He said he was conducting an experiment and wanted honest answers … no fudging allowed … to all of the questions. So, I answered the questions and returned them to him.

A couple months later, the old millionaire sent me a letter detailing his experiment and reporting the results.

The “test” he had sent to me had been published in a big-name, prestigious business magazine, with a self-scoring answer-sheet at the end of the article. — It was the “work” of a world-renowned psychologist.

After he had taken the “test” in the magazine, my old friend was disappointed to learn that he didn’t have what it took to be an entrepreneur. — As a matter of fact … even though he had been a real entrepreneur all his life with millions of real dollars in the bank to prove it … his “test” results indicated that he should have been a 40-hour-per-week wage-slave and put all his money in safe and secure bank deposit accounts.

Having failed the “test” … miserably … he decided to send a copy of the “test” to 35 real entrepreneurs he knew, just to see if he was some kind of psychological freak. — Maybe he was just a Bumble Bee, flying with the F-14 fighters.

All 35 of the real entrepreneurs … including me … who received the “test” from him were self-made millionaires … no inheritors or lottery winners. Their educational backgrounds ranged from elementary school dropouts to a few with doctorates … ranging in age from their mid-20s to late-80s.

Guess what? — According to the “test” … not one of us had what it took to be an entrepreneur. We all failed the “test.”

The old millionaire sent the fully-documented results of his experiment to the world-renowned psychologist who had created the “test.” To which the learned psychologist responded, “The traits indicated in the test are necessary to becoming an entrepreneur but they are not required to be an entrepreneur.”

In other words …

If you pass the “test,” you have what it takes to become an entrepreneur – but – you can’t be one.

So … why did I tell that story?

Well, I’ll tell ya. — After taking and flunking a number of those tests, I, myself, got to wondering …

What Does It Really Take To Be An Entrepreneur?

Since I couldn’t find an answer in my own experience, I started asking each and every successful entrepreneur I met, “What motivated you to start and succeed in your own business?”

As you can imagine, the answers I received ranged from the ridiculous to the sublime … from mystical hocus-pocus to ultra-logical reasoning … from irrational psycho-babble to textbook business plans.

Then, a few years ago, a young millionaire … in his early 30s … solved the riddle for me. He looked me straight in the eyes and said …

“I don’t really know. One day, I decided to do it and just did it!”

So … all it takes to be an entrepreneur is a decision to be one. — Once the decision is made, you will do it!

The decision is yours and yours alone!

Having spent over 50 years in business, doing business successfully, J.F. (Jim) Straw now shares “Practical Instruction in the Arts & Sciences of Making Money” at the Business Lyceum. —

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