7 Types of Entrepreneurs and What Motivates Them

4 min read · 2 months ago

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Many people dream of becoming an entrepreneur and starting their own business. Being your own boss can be quite enticing, after all. But every entrepreneur is built differently–each has their own set of desires and motivations that drive them toward success. Still, even within their uniqueness, commonality often exists. And it’s their shared aspects that make it possible to categorize them among specific types of entrepreneurs.

Knowing your entrepreneur category could help you identify what could push you into realizing your dream and keep you going when challenged. What type of entrepreneur are you? The points below will help you discover the answer.

 

The 7 Most Common Types of Entrepreneurs (With Examples)

1. The Autonomist

We described a generalized entrepreneur above who dreams of being their own boss. While this motivator may be shared across multiple types of entrepreneurs, it’s a prime driver for the Autonomist. These entrepreneurs are most fulfilled when they can be independent and self-reliant. Most people think of this type when they hear the term “entrepreneur.”

The independence that Autonomists desire extends beyond just the work they do—it also includes their financial position. Autonomists are often thrilled at the thought of making money for themselves instead of for someone else.

What motivates them: 

  • Financial and work independence
  • Control over work-related decisions
  • The liberty to turn down work

Examples:

  • Consider any of the millions of solopreneurs operating around the globe—they typically run a service-based business such as bookkeeping, graphic design, or writing.

 

2. The Freedom Chaser

At first glance, you might be under the impression that Freedom Chasers and Autonomists are one and the same. Sure, there may be some overlap in the independence aspect, but Freedom Chasers have some distinct characteristics.

As the name suggests, Freedom Chasers want to be free to do as they please when it suits them. For example, work schedules are often very limiting. These entrepreneurs want to be able to work when they deem appropriate, not according to a set timeframe. This may mean working from 6 pm to 2 am instead of abiding by traditional business hours. The flexibility enables these entrepreneurs to pursue hobbies and other interests they may not be able to otherwise.

What motivates them

  • Schedule flexibility
  • Fluid work arrangements

Examples:

  • Many artists fit into this entrepreneur category, as their work often centers around creativity, which could strike at any time—not necessarily between nine and five

 

3. The Creator

The Creator

The Creator is a type of entrepreneur that also closely aligns with another category: the Freedom Chaser. They share many of the same traits—and it’s likely some people will be both—except that Creators are primarily driven by their art or craft.

The influence of their creations is so strong that it can inspire them to make business decisions that aren’t optimized for profit. Hence, why you may see many Creators selling their work for inconsistent prices or even starting a nonprofit.

They love to bring new things to life, whether through artwork, handmade crafts, music, or books. If people enjoy and connect with what the Creator has produced, all the better.

What motivates them

  • Creative expression
  • Passion fulfillment
  • Community connections

Examples:

  • Artists, writers, and nonprofit founders

 

4. The Investor

The Investor prefers to take a back seat when it comes to entrepreneurship. Instead of operating a business, they stay behind the scenes, providing capital and advice to senior leadership (assuming they have knowledge and experience).

In most cases, the Investor will have a stake in multiple businesses, building a profitable investment portfolio. Whether acquired through previous successful businesses or inheritance, they essentially have their money make more money. While some Investors take special interest in some of their portfolio companies, most are hands-off.

What motivates them

  • Money making money
  • Passive income
  • Portfolio growth

Examples:

  • Ellen Pao, tech investor and former CEO of Reddit
  • Shark Tank cast members such as Kevin O’Leary, Daymond John, and Lori Greiner

5. The Disruptor

Those who see a way to turn an industry or market on its head could be considered Disruptors. They feel the status quo is outdated and needs to change, often by modernizing a traditional approach to business.

Of course, the Disruptor path can be challenging and risky. It often requires blazing a new trail or rerouting the old one to fit their vision of a better (and profitable) tomorrow. Consider how the founders of Uber completely altered the age-old taxi business that, at one point, seemed to be the only feasible approach to what we now refer to as ridesharing.

What motivates them

  • Finding a better or alternative way to do business
  • Modernizing traditional business approaches
  • Going against the grain

Examples:

  • Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp, founders of rideshare service Uber

 

6. The Developer

The Developer

Of all the types of entrepreneurs, the Developer could be considered the most unique. They love to build and develop a business or brand—so much so that they want to keep doing it over and over. This leads them to sell the business once it’s attractive enough to an entrepreneur or larger company, then move on to their next business project.

Instead of nurturing and running a business over the long term, the Developer gets fulfillment from starting something new and overcoming the challenges of the initial growth phases while also profiting from their efforts.

What motivates them

  • Growth and profitability
  • Business challenges
  • Newness

Examples:

  • Some Investors were once Developers—only instead of sinking their time and energy into building businesses, they provide capital

 

7. The Moonlighter

Not every type of entrepreneurship requires a full-time investment. For those that just want some extra income and flexibility on the side, moonlighting could be all they need. A Moonlighter is often happy just knowing they have a financial safety net from another income stream.

What motivates them

  • Additional income
  • Greater financial flexibility
  • Not having all eggs in one basket

Examples:

  • Corporate professionals who have a side business or offer professional services outside of their day jobs

After reading the above descriptions, what type of entrepreneur do you think best fits you? Keep in mind they’re not necessarily exclusive. Like many things in life, entrepreneurship is a spectrum—you may find that you fall under more than one category and have an assortment of motivations. In any case, understanding your motivations can help you find the right path in entrepreneurship.