[Note: This is a guest post from Hannah Corbett.]
The formal definition of an entrepreneur is, “a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.” It’s a fairly standard definition, and is accepted and used by most everyone.
But, with a huge surge in entrepreneurship and business start-ups in the past few years (4.9 million SMEs counted in the UK last year alone), it’s possible that having just a single one-size-fits-all definition is no longer enough. It would be wrong to make any kind of sweeping generalization about all business owners, and so it seems wrong to file them all under the same label.
This seems to have become an increasingly popular opinion, and those in the start-up world seem to have taken it upon themselves to dub themselves and their peers more accurately. As a result, new words describing more specific types of entrepreneur have been slowly creeping into use.
Below is a small glossary of some of the more commonly encountered of these terms:
An antipreneur is the opposite of an entrepreneur. Traditionally, an entrepreneur is someone who tries to build a business to be as large and successful as possible – an antipreneur is completely against large corporations and market-dominating companies.
Antipreneurs try to run their businesses outside of the realms of traditional capitalism. They support the notions of local and independent businesses, sustainable enterprises and a healthy work/home life balance. Antipreneurs often favor non-traditional marketing and advertising methods, and can be closely associated with the socialpreneur, localpreneur and ecopreneur.
A comfortpreneur is one who does not strive to change, improve or adapt their business strategies and structures: they are comfortable in their current habits and processes.
Comfortpreneurs often use almost exclusively old hat or outdated techniques and methods to run their businesses – they refuse to modernize or incorporate new technologies in day to day operations. This reluctance can be due to fear or uncertainty of change, or plain old fashioned stubbornness. Comfortpreneurs are most frequently of an older age generation.
The word e-preneur comes from the word e-commerce. E-preneurs run their businesses entirely on the internet. An e-preneur can include any business owner from those with extensive online stores and huge websites, to those trading through an online shopping platform (such as eBay).
E-preneurs rarely have official, physical business premises, but instead, tend to operate from home offices. They may rent warehouse or storage premises for stock. E-preneurs are quite often also solopreneurs, too.
It’s worth noting that a shop owner who also sold goods online would not class as an e-preneur, even if the majority of revenue came from the online store. E-preneurs must make their money solely through e-commerce.
An ecopreneur is one whose business specializes in environmentally friendly products or services, and/or who business’s activities are carried out with the utmost respect and awareness for the environment. Making sure their business leaves as little mark as possible on nature is at the heart of an ecopreneur’s business values.
Ecopreneurs are often associated with socialpreneurs, and even antipreneurs at times, as their business ethic tends to steer clear of traditional capitalist notions, and align more with social, local and sustainable business sentiments.
The word fauxpreneur can apply to a number of situations. It can be used to describe someone who:
- Falsely claims to be an entrepreneur – for example someone who does not run a business as they say they do, or to the extent they say they do. They make take credit for more than is true, or perhaps for a partner’s work.
- Does not build a company – but instead buildings something else through which they make money, such as an idea or product which they then sell to a company.
- Lacks industry understanding – often having a very surface level knowledge of the industry they operate in, rather than a complex and in depth understanding.
There are a number of other types of preneurs that can be considered fauxpreneurs, most notably intrapreneurs and minipreneurs.
A freepreneur is someone who only uses free or very low cost methods of setting up and running a business. Freepreneurs source all the materials and resources they need to set up and launch their businesses without investing any of their own money, or by investing a relatively small amount. They may secure monetary funding from third party and external sources, but spend as little of their own money as possible.
Infopreneurs use information, as opposed to goods or services, to earn their main source of income. Infopreneurs have existed for many years, but in the modern day, it is most commonly online information with which they are concerned. Some infopreneurs are experts in a given market and sell information stemming from their own knowledge, work and experiences, and other infopreneurs may work on a client basis, earning money for commissions.
An intrapreneur is an entrepreneurially-minded person who works within a larger company or organization. Intrapreneurs embody the same business-mindedness, innovation and creativity that entrepreneurs do, often starting their own ventures, campaigns and ideas without prompting or support.
Sometimes, they are not strictly considered to be entrepreneurs, as they do not technically run their own business, but rather work within someone else’s (see fauxpreneur).
A localpreneur is someone who owns a small business situated within a local community. Often the business’s values and ethics revolve around this community and the ‘local is best’ notion.
Localpreneurs are commonly be associated with socialpreneurs and antipreneurs in their juxtaposition-of-sorts of traditional entrepreneurship.
Also referred to a superpreneur, a megapreneur is essentially a celebrity or superstar of the entrepreneurial world. Megapreneurs are usually owners of businesses which started as small startups, but have grown into large companies – even global companies – usually through pure innovation and creativity.
Megapreneurs are highly respected, and even somewhat idolized, in the start up world, and their advice can be considered as good as law. Sir Richard Branson is an example of a megapreneur.
There are a few different definitions of minipreneur.
1.) The exact opposite of a megapreneur – someone who runs a start up business, but has not fully committed themselves to it. This could be because the person still has another job, because the start up has not yet taken off the ground, or for a number of other reasons.
2.) An owner of a very small business. These entrepreneurs are also sometimes called micropreneurs, in accordance with the term micro-business.
3.) Part time entrepreneurs, such as those who work on a freelancing basis, run side-businesses.
Minipreneurs often do go on to develop into being full-fledged entrepreneurs, but until they do, they are sometimes also considered to be fauxpreneurs.
A mompreneur is someone – usually a woman – who runs a business and is also a full time mother. Mompreneurs often start their businesses while they are pregnant or during early motherhood, meaning that their children are usually very young. Mompreneurs have to juggle starting and running a fulltime business, as well as carding for their child(ren).
A multipreneur is someone who pursues more than one entrepreneurial avenue or opportunity at one time. For example, this could be someone who has started up multiple businesses, or someone who is exploring their entrepreneurial options before committing to one thing or another.
Multipreneurs usually embody the traditional entrepreneurial mindset, ambition, and innovation – they aim high and are very committed to their entrepreneurial pursuits.
A passivepreneur is someone whose entrepreneurial efforts have resulted in them having a passive income that requires little to no effort.
For example, many people in the rental property market spend time building up a portfolio of houses – and income from each of them – until the point where they have enough money coming in to stop working. In this situation, any low levels of maintenance that are required could be outsourced to a letting agent, leaving the passivepreneur virtually work-free.
Passivepreneurship can be viewed as the entrepreneurial equivalent of having a pension.
The word skepticpreneur describes a business person who is somewhat cynical and often very wary of taking business risks. They are overly cautious, and will only aim for low hanging fruit and easy wins. Their motto is to play it safe, and don’t take unnecessary risks.
Skepticpreneurs are usually very clued in on potential business risks, and rarely suffer them. However, this tentativeness also means that they frequently miss out on some business opportunities.
A social preneur is the owner of a social enterprise. A social enterprise is a for-profit company that focuses on human well-bring more than it does making money. This concept is at the center of a socialpreneur’s work ethic.
Often, socialpreneurs have a dislike for larger corporations and are pro local, micro and small businesses, and they also have an awareness of their impact on the environment – closely linking them with antipreneurs and ecopreneurs, respectively.
A solopreneur is a business person who operates entirely on their own, and without support from others. They do not have business partners, and any help they do need, they usually pay for through a professional service.
Solopreneurs are all about being independent and not relying on anyone else, and because of this, they do not have to deal with the consequences of being let down by other parties. However, at the same time, their businesses often grow at a somewhat slower rate than other, multi-person businesses.
The term studentpreneur is used to describe someone who starts a business while they are still in education – either full or part time. Usually, it is students of a higher level of education, such as university. Often, the entrepreneurial endeavors of studentpreneurs are on a smaller scale than other types of preneurs.
Studentpreneurs are often connected with minipreneurs, as their attention and efforts are split between their education and business venture. This also means that studentpreneurs are also considered fauxpreneurs, as they are unable to fully commit everything to the business.
A Twitterpreneur is someone who makes their money – mostly or entirely – through the social platform, Twitter. It could also be someone whose business relies largely on Twitter for its success or income.
Many entrepreneurs use social media as a standing stone on which to build their customer base, and to increase their market and industry authority. If Twitter is the main traffic-driving channel for an online business, it could be said that the success of that business largely depends on Twitter.
A wantrepreneur is someone who wants to start their own business or entrepreneurial pursuits, but has not yet taken any actions to get the ball rolling. All entrepreneurs are technically wantrepreneurs in the idea stages of their start ups.
There are many, many wantrepreneurs in the world, as the term applies to all people who dream of running their own businesses and escaping the rat race. Relatively few of these people actually go on to get their ideas off the ground and running.
This term describes someone who is, essentially, the wingman for an entrepreneur. A wingpreneur is someone who provides something essential to a start up business – be it funding, support, knowledge, skills, etc – but who takes a backseat in the overall running of a business.
It’s worth noting that the term wingpreneur is not synonymous with an investor, as investors are not technically entrepreneurs – they are not starting their own businesses.
As an example, imagine a young couple who start a business together. They are both equally entrepreneurs as they both invest equal parts into the start up. But, then person has to step down slightly and take a back seat to raise a child (effectively becoming a mompreneur) – they could still be an essential component to the business overall, but they take a much smaller chunk of the workload.
If the small business boom continues as it has done in recent years, there’s no doubt that we will start to see more of these words come into use – perhaps some will even be adopted into more widespread usage outside of the business start-up world.
Which type of entrepreneur are you? Are there any that we’ve missed out? Let us know in the comments below.