There are many types of entrepreneurs (and entrepreneurships) that make it very difficult to classify them into categories. However there is a characteristic that allows us to classify entrepreneurs in two giant categories: for profit and nonprofit. In one side we have the “traditional” entrepreneur, where he creates companies seeking financial retribution as one of the main goals. The other side of this map if those social or nonprofit entrepreneurs that are seeking other goals, mainly social objectives.
The previous statement doesn’t mean that at some point the for-profit entrepreneur is seeking social goals, as this is still valid. In the same way the nonprofit entrepreneur can make money and even a living with his social entrepreneurship. However, these are secondary goals.
With the previous definitions in mind, I want to explore in this article both sides form a personal perspective and how they can be quite compatible. In my case, I started off with a for-profit entrepreneurship many years ago. One of my main goals was to create financial wealth and a living for my employees and myself. I wanted to help people, for instance my employees and clients, but this came second. Later I was introduced to a nonprofit that I really liked, so I became part of this project. The two projects as it can be deduced, where quite different, but both came to me as a challenge. In one I gain money and in the other different elements, such as experience and personal growth (I also gain these elements form my for-profit company).
Time has pass and my first entrepreneur project doesn’t exist anymore. I learned many things from it and help me grow as a person. For the nonprofit, I resigned earlier this year because I didn’t have time and it didn’t challenge me anymore. Today I have a new for-profit entrepreneurship, which includes Internet Strategies Consulting and this Blog. From the two previous entrepreneurships I learned many thing that have come in handy in this new project.
It’s worth noting that several things I learned in the nonprofit world have really helped me in the profit world. You never know where you’ll learn these things and where you can apply them.
These two types of entrepreneurships are very different and you have to understand this. For example I’ve seen people who dread having their own business but are brilliant in social entrepreneurship. The same thing has been true for several entrepreneur friends who have outstanding companies but lack the passion for social entrepreneurship.
My advice is to seek what you like and where you are confortable. If you’re like me, you might want to mix them and learn from both. If not, take the road you like for as long as it makes sense. And have a blast with this decision!
Image taken from Flickr.com