All entrepreneurs have strengths and weaknesses, and, for the most part, can be divided into different archetypes that represent their characteristics. An archetype is a reoccurring symbol or motif that represents universal patterns of human nature. They are typically unconscious behaviors, determined by motivation and not by personality.
Examining the different entrepreneurial archetypes can help you to understand your strengths, weaknesses, and what drives you as a small business owner.
We all have varying degrees of archetypes, however, one archetype will likely be prevalent at any given point. By identifying which archetype you identify the most with, you can learn to be more self-aware and build on your strengths. Aside from each archetype having positive aspects, they each also have a dark side that you will need to rein in and manage in order to balance your business.
Find out which archetype best suits your business personality in this post.
These are entrepreneurs who are driven by a greater purpose. To them, the bottom line is about social impact, justice, or creating a movement. These entrepreneurs often found social purpose businesses and have a strong moral imperative.
The Dark Side: Many mission driven business owners are so focused on making a difference that they don’t place enough importance on the long-term financial viability of their business. This can lead to burnout and even disillusionment.
Solution: Make it a priority to focus on your business’s financial future or get a partner who places just as much importance on the financial sustainability as you place on fulfilling your mission. The finances of your business and your mission should not be mutually exclusive.
These entrepreneurs value creativity and originality. They can conjure up and create products or services that can be breakthroughs in the industry. They are found in a variety of industries, from the arts, to tech, to food, innovation and new designs and concepts are brought to fruition.
The Dark Side: Artists and inventors can live in a bubble. They may forget that they need customers and feedback in order to thrive. This can lead to myopic or “no one gets me” thinking.
Solution: Allot time to fine tune your ideas in the form of customer feedback. This does not mean listening to every customer, but listening to the right customers.
Most of us think of the “opportunist” when we think of someone who is an entrepreneur. They see a gap in the marketplace—an opportunity that they feel is worth tapping into—and they take advantage of it.
The Dark Side: They often rush into business ideas because they feel it’s all about timing, and may not do enough market research. They can fall madly in love with their ideas and may be blinded by challenges. This only encourages them to play the blame game: “if only I got the right investor, loan, grant etc. everything would have worked out.”
Solution: They need to do proper market research, especially if they have very little experience in the field. One needs a healthy dose of reality testing and a willingness to stay humble in order to succeed as an entrepreneur.
The expert is an entrepreneur who starts their business after accruing years of experience in their field. They have an expertise or specialty they know will be valued and believe they can run a business better than their boss can.
The Dark Side: Because their number one motive is to produce quality work, experts may not want to learn the business side of things or may not care to get clients because they have a base. This works when demand is high, but when the bottom falls out they scramble to get clients (too little, too late).
Solution: They need to pursue long-term business development initiatives customized to their business in order to keep them from becoming too reliant on their existing customer base.
These entrepreneurs start businesses because they want a certain lifestyle such as a flexible work schedule, fewer hours, or working from home.
The Dark Side: Because the motive is about having “more control in their life,” their business idea may become a hobby or a part-time business. As such, they may get the worst of both worlds—working long hours for very little pay.
Solution: They need to be very clear about what they want. If they want a profitable business that brings in a good income, they will need to sacrifice a lot more time and energy to building their enterprise.
However, if they understand that with flexibility and freedom they could earn less income, then they will need to adjust their lifestyle to reflect having a lower salary.
Accepting Your Archetype
All archetypes come with an Achilles’ heel. If the dark side of yours is allowed to fester and grow, it can be detrimental to the success of your business.
With some self-awareness and a commitment to manage the negative aspects of your archetype’s downfalls, you can be the hero in your own story.
Which entrepreneurial archetype do you relate to?
Written By: Dominik Loncar, Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Futurpreneur Canada