Entrepreneurs are born not made…

The title of this blog entry says it all. Entrepreneurs are a different sort of person. They always believe they can do it better (Even if it isn’t always true). My personal experience tells me that about 5-10% of the people I meet qualify as the “entrepreneur type”. These are the people that stand in the line at the bank or at McDonalds and look at inefficiencies and say to themselves, “I can do this better!”.

The world needs these type of people. They are the ones who drive innovation and efficiency in pricing models. Some are good, and some are great, but I appreciate anyones willingness to go out on a limb to do business when the outcome is not guaranteed. One thing I have learned about these people is that they have ALWAYS been the way they are now. What do I mean? Entrepreneurs have a personality that allows them to believe and take risks and enjoy the process that other people find distasteful. If you are a person that loves to have work end at 5pm and then turn work off until the next day being an entrepreneur isn’t for you :)

I left work a few hours early today to go home and set up a lemonade stand with my kids at a park corner a block from my house. I left my wife with newborn Marissa at home and left with my four boys (twins that are 3, a 6 year old, and an 8 year old) to set up the stand. My kids had a mission to earn money to go to the “nickelcade”, a local arcade. They could only spend what they earned selling lemonade. In 1 hour and 20 minutes they had earned $23.11. Not too shabby!! What was amazing to me is that Luke and Zane (The 3 year old identical twins) outsold the others by a long shot. They knew what they wanted and they went after it. The other kids did great too, but it was obvious to me who was motivated. Even at an early age the signs are clearly visible.

Think about what you did in High School to earn money? The average kid goes out and gets a job and I was no exception, but I did MANY other things on the side. See if you can tell the difference between my personality and others you know. 1) Built a “zapper” in digital electronics class and gave people $10 if they could hold onto it for 10 seconds (I charged 50 cents per try). I did this at lunch for 3 months and earned over $200. 2) I built “blitz cables” for a local Atari dealer in my hometown. It allowed people to copy “protected” disks on the Atari ST. The store had to buy them for $60, so I built my own and sold them about 40 of them at $45 (At a cost of about $9 each and 1 hour of my time). 3) Wrote an upload/download Zmodem system for a BBS in GFA (Too long to explain). I made about $2000 doing this and it was really fun. 4) My senior year I sold a lot of IBM Brand computer parts and memory to a local educational institution. I didn’t want them to know it was just me, so I told them I was the delivery boy when I brought the parts over. I made about $1500 a month for about 6 months.

Notice a pattern? None of those things required me to work for someone else. At the time I didn’t want to be an entrepreneur I simply wanted to make the most I could doing what I liked to do at the time. My attitude hasn’t changed since then and it probably never will. Entrepreneurs are born not made…


Matt Heaton / President Bluehost.com

35 Responses to “Entrepreneurs are born not made…”

  1. 97th Floor says:

    That is for sure. It seems that the entrepreneurs that are doing it to make a better product, or better the world and not just make a buck are the pure breads as well.

  2. greg says:

    I’m 18 and I do basic computer repair for people at 40/hour.

  3. Jason says:

    The zapper made me laugh out loud. I wish I had subjected people to that during my high school lunches. :) They probably would have expelled me for trying though.

  4. Hercules says:

    Hi Matt,

    Being an Entrepreneur really rocks.
    However in The Netherlands it’s more like: Less than 1% qualifies to being one.
    It’s lonely at the top here :)

  5. Dustin Yu says:

    Matt, I’d also like to mention that entrepreneurs might have some type of ‘bug’ that keeps them thinking about business 24/7. I feel like I have this bug, cannot get rid of it, and sometimes I think its a curse, and even an obsession. I’ve decided after working a few years in the corporate world that I can never work for anyone except for my clients within my own company. Anyways, congratulations on your newborn girl, talk to you soon.


  6. Dinah Lord says:

    Sorry to be the skunk at the garden party here Matt but it is being reported on the internet that :
    “The Hezebola site http://www.ghaliboun.net/ is now back online. It forwards to the site http://www.ghaliboun.org/ which is hosted by http://www.bluehost.com/ of Orem, Utah.”

    Can you please advise?

    Cheers and God Bless America – Dinah

  7. vaXzine says:

    Quit your job and start publishing your life. Travel, dance, document! Make sure you RSS it and if you work with a business owner like Heaton, consider yourself real lucky. Take notes!

  8. Mark says:


    This is very true Entrepreneurs are willing to do whatever it takes to become successful, they are willing to work 15 hour days 7 days a week without a guarantee of making a dime. This is just one of the things that sets us apart from the average wage slave. There is nothing wrong with working for someone 40 hours week forever if thats what you want. However I believe entrepreneurs have a stronger desire for success than the average person. A true entrepreneur may have to come up with 20 business ideas before one takes off.

    I started my first business at the age of 13 and by the time I was 19 I bought a brand new hummer and paid cash. Most people looked at me and said man that kid is lucky, however they did not see the sacrafices I made to become a success at such a young age. Yeah I had a company were I was making $10,000/month by the time I was 19 however this was probably close to my 20th company I started guess what the first 19 failed however I never gave up. If you keep coming up with new ideas one of them is bound to work.

    Like you said entrepreneurs are always tyring to do things better and increase profits. My company that was earning me $10k month has now turned into several companies earning me 25 times that amount. When I was broke working on business ideas and not making a dime I would work 12 to 15 hour days, the funny thing is now that I make a lot of money I still find my self working 12 to 15 hour days not because I have to but because I want to. The people around me don’t understand my girlfriend says you make so much money why do you want to work so much?? The thing is entrepreneurs are always trying to create new businesses or improve their current businesses. 99% of people if put in my position would just sit back take vacations all the time and not do anything. Time management becomes very important when you become successful. I think the more money you make the more you have to work on managing your time.

    Everything is relative I might be the big shot on my block however when I go down the street I might not even be worth mentioning. I do pretty well financially compared to the average person however if you were to compare me to the average hedge fund manager they would probably not even be able to pay their monthly bills of of my monthly income. If you want to know about people who make a lot of money… well the average hedge fund manager earn close to $100 million dollars last year with several earning over a billion dollars last year alone. Remember everything is relative.

  9. John Auriada says:

    Hi matt your webhosting company is one of the bestest. I am a web addict creating website for fun. I’ll be signing up with you this Aug. !! btw why is it the domain name of bluehost is expiring this Nov. can you extend it for 10 yrs =) like 2016

  10. It’s 11 August, 2006, and I received an email from Ken Starks (helios) yesterday afternoon.

    Thank you, Matt, for helping in the way that you have.

    It is wonderful to see that I’m doing business with what is so rare these days: a human being. Rarer still, is the human possessed of something called ‘a heart.’

    Clearly, you are that increasingly scarce breed of human being.

  11. Dedekind says:

    Nice post. However, you don’t seem to explain why this is a ability one is born with. After reading this nice post, why couldn’t someone get enlightened and *become* an entrepreneur?

  12. yakyakyak says:

    You know its interesting, that all you ever have here is your happy happy joy joy messaages, hom much fun you had at hostcon, meanwhile Rome is burning, your business is heading to a bad end, your forum moderators are censoring your forum. your customers are wanting a real response to the prevelant problems at your company, down servers, slow servers servers with full disk drives.

    If you want your customers to stay, give them answers to their questions…

    I understand where your company is at in its growth, it is at that transition point from hell, one wrong move and it is all over…

    Your customers understand downtime, so don’t just act like it not happening. Take a look at your competitors like DREAMHOST, they bare their souls to the world, and you know what they also have downtime, but they are open and apologetic about the problem, and I and other customers of theirs respect that. For example I opened an account with them in mid July they went through 2 weeks of repeated outages 2 days after I opened the account, and you know what I knew what the issue was and an ETR, and final resolution on http://www.dreamhoststatus.com/
    The quality of service at bluehost has been on a downward trend for the last 3-4 months, and I personally don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel.
    Having the bluehostforum moderators delete posts discussing outages is also not good…

    Just remember there is a fine line between entrepreneur and unemployed….

  13. Neville says:

    Hey Matt,

    Great Host, keep up da good work. Well, i also call myself an entrepeneur, I am 14yrs old and am already getting into the web design aspect, doing simple things at profitable costs, even setting up a simple cms does a great job.

    …and bluehost will always be my hosts from now on…

  14. Markus says:


    nice ramblings. I had to smile about the Zmodem/BBS thing because I currently have a company based on a terminal emulator product (ZOC) which I wrote (the foundation at least) when I was the age where everybody else went to university. However, I also managed, to get away from the 80hours weeks and guess I’m not really qualified as an entrepneuer in your sense anymore, although I still have the kick. Recently built a website (hosted with bluehost) and the pattern was the same. The vision, the long hours, the wanting to make it better and better. It doesn’t earn me money (nor does it need to), but it’s still that “bug” as Dustin calls it in his comment.


  15. Anthony Lee says:

    Yeah, and keeping your head while others are losing theirs right? Like writing on what makes an Entrepreneur will Bluehost is burning…

  16. Kene says:

    I’m not sure i fully agree with the opinion that entrepreneurs are born not made. Some people are born with a streak of independence and passion to be free and have jobs that permit them to do just that. Others have held jobs for a very long time and got tired of doing the same old thing and against their personality started a business that was a hit.
    I would agree that there are traits that are peculiar to most entrepreneurs. Most people get too comfortable and don’t want to venture out into the deep sea.

  17. To me, entrepreneurship is about confidence, passion, and leadership. Throw in workaholic and people skills, and you’ve got a pretty nice cocktail. I started an environmental group and a weekly running dance competition in 5th grade. These weren’t money-making ventures, but it was a good start with finding a cause and organizing a business-like structure. I didn’t take the leap into self-employment until I was 22 (a senior-citizen next to you guys). In retrospect, it takes some thick skin to keep going through the disappointments, the learning curves, and the perpetual fire under one’s ass to stay alive financially. But no one could convince me now that the rewards would smell as sweet if I were plugging along in corporate America.

    Long story short, I think certain kinds of people are definitely drawn toward entrepreneurship. With enough confidence, passion and leadership skills, anyone can make it.

    Integrity First, Service Before Self, Excellence in All You Do!


  18. I’m afraid I have to be the only person to disagree. I am not at all the type described and yet I have been a wildly successfull business owner. In fact, I’ve been in business since 1997 and probably earn 2-3 times as much as most of the CIOs (the people I serve most directly). Every personality can find a way to succeed as a self-employed individual or business owner. The key is to NOT try and be like you describe unless that is you. If you try to do it the way you describe, and you are like me – you’re right, you’ll fail. Be yourself, find what works for you, and any “type” can be successful.

    God Bless,
    Tom Carpenter
    Senior Constultant – SYSEDCO
    Helping IT Professionals Succeed

  19. Jan Leow says:

    Whoa! You’ve very interesting blogs and comments too. I’m still employed but the entrepreneur bug has bitten me. Starting off seems rather more difficult if you have not tried it before. So I try on part-time basis. Seems like a safe solution, best and not quite best of both side of the fence. Because it meant I have to put in more work time at night and every free time off I get, but still drawing a regular pay check from my regular job. It’s quite exhausting but when the bonus (even for a small bonus) comes from my part time entrepreneur work, there is a satisfaction not felt from doing the day job.
    So keep on going for those who are just starting out, who knows where it might lead you!

  20. Richard $ says:

    Wow, reading all of the post from successful people, true or not, was refreshingly inspiring. I’ve had a few business attempts and crashed them all so far since high school. (Made descent chump change though) Right now I’m just finishing up my degree and then I plan on jumping right back out there. Hopefully one day I can post my success…or maybe even have my secretary do it 😉

  21. Taylor says:

    Or maybe it’s that “entrepreneurs” are more akin to gamblers than the general populace? A higher risk tolerance goes a long way.

    Also, things change when you’re responsible for others. If you’re young and looking to get money for a Hummer (not the most fiscally responsible purchase, but in keeping with the demographic), you only have your own skin to risk in most ways. If you bust, you’ve still got a roof over your head, unless your parents are heartless.

    When it’s a choice between “making it big or bust, come what may” or keeping your family fed between big scores, a little stability starts to look better. Once you’re up and running, sure you can do both, but if you’ve got the “entrepreneur bug” when you should be responsible, you’re little better than a gambler.

    On top of that, these big money makers start to exist solely to make money, and the semi-altruistic ideal of “doing it better” gets lost in the drive to make money. That’s a waste of potential.

    I submit that people have roughly similar drive capacity, it’s just that there are different goals. Some people do all they can to have a strong family. Some do all they can to get education. Some earn money. Ideally, it’s a balance.

    Money is a means to an end, not an end in itself… or rather, that’s how it should be.

  22. Check out http://www.ashoka.com. The Ashoka group is dedicated to “social entrepreneurs,” the people who look at the world, not just business, in that “entrepreneurial” style you talk about.

  23. prashant says:

    entrepreneur are not born, they are trained

  24. Wang Cheng says:

    Yes, I agree with you, I found my company with US$1200, I think it depends on the business opportunities

  25. Maipelo Molosiwa says:

    I don’t agree, entrepreneurs are MADE! My parents don’t know are damn thing about buisness-I don’t even think they can spell entrepreneur corretly. Growing up on an environment that was not so money-wise I have been making money out of my classmates for 5 years using simple schemes. My parents think am going to turn out as a con-artist. There is no way I got it from my folks!!

  26. geff kiplimo says:

    enterprenuers are always born not made since many enterprenuers are always persistent in problem solving. some does not need to be taught to persist problems but them they always tolerate or withstand problems.

  27. HOLYBOY says:

    what makes enterprenurer to be made and be born

  28. […] Entrepreneurs are born not made… « mattheaton.com – The title of this blog entry says it all. They always believe they can do it better (Even if it isn’t always true). They are the ones who drive innovation and efficiency in pricing models. […]

  29. cricut says:

    I love being an entrepreneur. It’s the only way that I can live ever since i got a taste for it. I can’t even imagine what a day job would be like again…

  30. Yes I totally agree with you Entrepreneurs are born not made! I think it already runs in the blood if you are born to be entrepreneur the skills will naturally comes out to you. Good thoughts to ponder!

  31. T girl says:

    I think i agree with you there is always a different an entrepreneur and the average person

  32. T girl says:

    I think i agree with you there is always a difference between an entrepreneur and the average person

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