Last Updated 16 Feb 2021

Types of Entrepreneurs

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Classic Entrepreneur

Wants to innovate, grow big and make a lot of money. The classic entrepreneur is not interested in starting a business to give herself a job. If you want to start a company, make it profitable and sell it, then you are a classic serial entrepreneur. The SAC Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program wants to make sure that everyone understands Classical Entrepreneurship. Most community college entrepreneur programs focus on small business development. Many universities teach entrepreneurship, but from a theoretical point of view.

Small Business Entrepreneur

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Also know as an income replacement entrepreneur. This would include most family owned businesses and franchises. If you open up a small single restaurant, or buy a Pizza Hut franchise, you are a small businessperson, but not a classic entrepreneur. If you buy a franchise you are executing someone else’s plan. Many people start a small business to give themselves a job. If you start a small business or buy a franchise, you need to study small business ownership and there are lots of college classes on small business ownership, management, accounting and marketing, but these classes will not teach you to be a classic entrepreneur.

You can also get help from the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the SBDC (Small Business Development Center). We have an SBDC here in Santa Ana. Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) is a type of small business owner. If you sell life insurance or real estate you are a small business owner. For example, many lawyers, plumbers and landscapers start their own small businesses. See the book, The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber.

Lifestyle Entrepreneur

These are entrepreneurs that love what they do and want to live a certain lifestyle. They are usually not as motivated by money as other entrepreneurs.

They are willing to make sacrifices in order to stay with something they love and to lead a certain lifestyle. For example, hard core surfers may start a small surf shop knowing they will never make much money financially but also know they will be outside in the surfing world they love. Ferriss in the 4 Hour Workweek is a Lifestyle Entrepreneur that is also a Classic Entrepreneur and an Income-Stream Entrepreneur and a Global Entrepreneur. One reason I love to teach college and not practice law is that I like the lifestyle of a college professor.

Social Entrepreneur

Social Entrepreneurs want to make money, but also want to save the world. They are motivated by money but also want to do something good or helpful. They often want to follow the triple bottom line. The traditional bottom line for a business is Profits. Social Entrepreneurs are motivated by the triple bottom line: Profits, People and Planet. Social Entrepreneurs tend to be idealistic. Many young entrepreneurs are interested in Social Entrepreneurship. “Green” Businesses are often started by Social Entrepreneurs.

Social entrepreneurs are still for profit businesses, but they have some of the characteristics of not-for-profit corporations. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about social entrepreneurship: Social Entrepreneurship is the work of social entrepreneurs. A social entrepreneur recognizes a social problem and uses entrepreneurial principles to organize, create and manage a venture to achieve social change (a social venture). While a business entrepreneur typically measures performance in profit and return, a social entrepreneur focuses on creating social capital.

Thus, the main aim of social entrepreneurship is to further social and environmental goals. Social entrepreneurs are most commonly associated with the voluntary and not-for-profit sectors [1], but this need not preclude making a profit. Social entrepreneurship practised with a world view or international context is called international social entrepreneurship.

Not-for Profit Entrepreneur

These are entrepreneurs that are totally interested in doing something helpful and making the world a better place.

After all, someone had to start the Red Cross or Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Non-Profits can be big businesses and pay a lot in salaries; they just cannot make a profit. Peter Drucker, one of the best business minds ever, has written that he thinks that Not-for-Profit businesses are the most interesting of all forms of business and he thinks they have the most impact.

 Global Entrepreneurs

Some people start businesses because they love to travel and want to interact with people in other countries. In the early 1990’s I started a small trading company to do business in Indonesia.

For a short time I traveled back and forth and lived and worked in Southern California and Jakarta. Global Entrepreneurs combine a love of entrepreneurship and international business.

Science/Technology Entrepreneurs

Much innovation comes out of new scientific discoveries and technological discoveries - think the Internet or mapping human’s DNA. Think engineers and Silicon Valley. When you say the word entrepreneurship to people, many think of starting a company that uses some type of technology.

Copycat Entrepreneurs.

Forget all the talk about innovation and creativity, you make money by finding a good business and figuring out how to make small but significant changes or improvements in that business with your new business. You can start a Copycat business fairly quickly. Copycat Entrepreneurs focus on operational excellence and execution intelligence.

Creative Entrepreneurs

Some entrepreneurs are “right brained” entrepreneurs - art, music and design entrepreneurs. Often they create and learn from a non-linear visual point of view.

Their book is The Creative Entrepreneur by Linda Beam.


If you work for a company, but have a high degree of autonomy, you are an intrapraneur. Imagine that you work for Motorola, a very large corporation. But, you run a division and every two years your division designs a project and competes with other divisions for the capital to carry out that project. You are acting like an entrepreneur even though you do not own the business. The word intrapraneur is out of fashion in academia today.

As a teacher, I am an intrapraneur – I have a high degree of autonomy, but I don’t own the school.

Income Stream Entrepreneur

An Income Stream Entrepreneur is not looking to work in the business created. An Income Stream Entrepreneur may have a job and is just looking for extra money. The Rich Dad Poor Dad books talk a lot about creating income streams. An easy example is someone that creates a nice income stream by selling rare comic books on EBay. Rental properties that have a positive cash flow also create an income stream.

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