Why You Should Stop Calling Yourself an Entrepreneur

by Alexander Heyne · 7 comments

“Just do it.”


Calling yourself an entrepreneur is the mysterious, badass, and respectable thing to do these days.  You meet someone at a cafe and they ask, “So, what do you do?”

You respond, “I’m an entrepreneur.”

Suddenly in their head they go “Whoaaaaaaaaaa,” which is just the effect you were aiming for.

But unless you are chatting up 17 year old girls, the person you are talking to will probably be thinking this, “So basically you live with your mom?”

Stop being an entrepreneur

I was in a bar last weekend and I introduced a guy I didn’t know very well to a group of friends.

One person asked, “So what do you do?” (That notorious, cornering bitch of a question).

He said, “I’m an entrepreneur, of sorts.  I just haven’t made it big yet.”

Regardless of what she thought, I almost laughed out loud. And then I realized that calling yourself an entrepreneur sometimes is a clear indicator that you live with your mom and spend more time dreaming than working.

Almost all real entrepreneurs I’ve ever met will say what business they own or will answer something that actually is descriptive of what they do.

And something in their words embodies the actual description of an entrepreneur, which in case you forgot, is the following:


“a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, 

usually with considerable initiative and risk.”

Unless you are running something and unless there is serious financial risk, you are not an entrepreneur.

Saying you’re an entrepreneur does not make people instantly admire you (except for the aforementioned teenagers).

Saying you’re an entrepreneur does not make people believe you own a business.

Saying you’re an entrepreneur does not mean you’re some world traveling, multiple passport owning, swiss bank account using  Jason Bourne.

Saying you’re an entrepreneur does not make people assume you are going to make it big one day via a silicon valley deal.

If you ask real entrepreneurs what they do, they’ll tell you what they do.  Not what they intend to do. And that is the single biggest difference.

Next time you meet a wannabe entrepreneur (probably a 20 something living in his parents’ house) that gives his job description as “entrepreneur”, begin violently giggling like a schoolgirl and excuse yourself.

You’ll live longer for it.  And it’ll be your reminder to get back to work on makin’ history.

So stop calling yourself an entrepreneur and just be on.  The rest is unimportant.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura Kimball November 22, 2011 at 2:30 am

Same story is told by a writer at a cocktail party. When he introduces himself as a writer or an author and you ask, “So what have you written?” He responds, “Oh, nothing you’ve heard of.”


I call myself an entrepreneur in training because I’m working on the ‘enterprise’ that I’ll manage. But I sure as hell don’t introduce myself that way.

Excellent post.


afheyne November 22, 2011 at 7:04 pm

Hahaha, totally!

Yeah you gotta have some balls and definitely a business to introduce yourself as an entrepreneur. But maybe I’m splitting hairs. In any case, I’m not fond of this “…serial entrepreneur, among other things” type of introduction. It seems a little ridiculous to me haha.

I’m also working on projects myself, but when people ask what I do it’s still the same: I work at a Chinese Medicine clinic & I’m working on building my legacy in the after hours ;)



Jord van den Hooff January 13, 2013 at 2:55 am

Valid post.

Also true for those who describe themselves using one of the following ‘floating’ characters descriptions:

– twitter-consultant or twitter-expert (often 40+ year olds > WTF?)
– social-media-connoisseur (often 50+ year olds > WTF?)
– online-life-coach&consultant


Alexander Heyne January 13, 2013 at 5:53 pm

Hahaha don’t even get me started on them.

The life coach bunch is the absolute worst. As a general observation I’ve noticed there’s a strong link between people with A) massively messed up lives and, B) No skills that C) Become life coaches.



gel July 6, 2013 at 7:21 am

Oh…need to remove that “entrepreneur slash” part of my linkedin introduction then… :-D


Alexander Heyne July 6, 2013 at 7:09 pm

Hahah, it’s all good ;) Just a reminder to my former self.


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