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Are successful entrepreneurs born or made?

“Born or made”… That’s always the philosophical question we apply when we can’t quite grasp the difference between mediocre and excellence.  Is it talent or hard work?  Is it innate character or education?  Is it vision or tactical prowess? In turn, what about entrepreneurs? Are successful entrepreneurs born or made?

Talent plus training plus tools

Personally, I think the answer is — usually — both! Training optimizes talent, and tools optimize drive. For example, if Lebron James only had access to football and football coaches as a kid, we’d be talking about his MVP season in the National Football League. However, you can’t deny his immense talent — just like you can’t deny the tools and coaching available that led him to become arguably the best basketball player ever.

Successful entrepreneurs who started at a young age

Mark Cuban, celebrated billionaire entrepreneur and outspoken owner of the Dallas Mavericks, started the first streaming service online. This led him to sell his $8000 investment for a whopping $4 billion.  Yes, Cuban was born with an incredible drive to succeed. But his business acumen was cultivated from the age of 12 — when he sold garbage bags door-to-door so he could buy a pair of shoes he coveted.

Neil Patel is a multi-millionaire online marketing guru and serial entrepreneur. He started honing his marketing craft with the tools of the era while in high school, making $20,000 a year. As a child, Neil and his siblings were mentored by his parents to value hard work. They were given problem-solving instruction at home, and an understanding of financial priority. This training empowered Neil to harness his talents to the fullest.

The entrepreneurs of the future: today’s kids and young adults

No one knew that Lebron, Mark or Neil would rise to such international acclaim as adults, when they were merely “locally impressive” kids. We can see a clear connection between their innate talent, plus the training and tools to which they had access. This combination shaped their vision and helped them to achieve that vision. All the while, they started as kids and young adults! It stands to reason, then, that the next generation of successful entrepreneurs are walking the halls of our local elementary, middle and high schools today.

One of the most important lessons any human being will learn is financial stewardship. And most do not have these tools available to them at school. My blog — Kids & Money — is provided as a useful set of tools to help your kids understand basic financial management today: right where they’re at.

Who knows… with the right mix of talent, you may be leveraging these lessons to help shape the next Jeff Bezos! (He runs a small online shopping outfit… maybe you’ve heard of it?)


January 2020