Want to Be a Bona Fide Entrepreneur? Avoid These “Wantrepreneur” Habits!

by | BiggerPockets.com

Entrepreneurs are a breed we come across very often, and many people we know are choosing to shift from the comfort of a regular 9 to 5 job to the thrill of entrepreneurship. In fact, this shift has become so common that most of us have heard about a seemingly endless amount of ventures being started and failing. But the more I look at the world of people starting out with new business ideas, the more I bump into a new breed of people who call themselves entrepreneurs but who possess very few of the normal entrepreneurial qualities. Let’s call them “wantrepreneurs.” And to tell you about the trend I see today:

“Entrepreneurship” is going out of fashion, and a new breed is ruling the world — “wantrepreneurs.”

How I Bought, Rehabbed, Rented, Refinanced, and Repeated for 14 Rental Properties

This is the dream right? Going from zero to 10+ rental properties, providing stable cash flow and long-term wealth for you and your family, and building a scalable business model to boot! Learn how this investor did just that, in this exclusive story featured on BiggerPockets!

Click Here For Your Free eBook

What is a “Wantrepreneur”?

Have you checked your social media accounts recently? Seen those fancy posts from entrepreneurs and thought to yourself, “So, entrepreneurs are instantly successful now?” This new breed of entrepreneurs is all about touting their awesome lives. There’s even a mantra to go with it: “We’re living the start-up life.” And because they’re trying to start their own business, they call themselves entrepreneurs. But I think that the term doesn’t apply to them. Starting a company doesn’t make you an entrepreneur per se. Being an entrepreneur takes so much more. That’s why I’d call these people wantrepreneurs. They see all the great results entrepreneurship brings and want that too, right away.

I simply don’t see the above mentioned people as entrepreneurs in the real sense of the word. Entrepreneurs are hard working people who use money wisely and plan carefully. Entrepreneurs do use social media, but in a very different way. In fact, I say that the people who use social media to show what extravagant lives they lead should be called “wantrepreneurs” automatically because that’s what suits them best. So how do you categorize a person like that? Look for these inequalities:

  • Their social media posts are all about themselves — how great they look in their Armani suit, the cruise liner they took on a holiday, or the yacht they’ve been eyeing.
  • You know very little about their business. All that you know perhaps is the name of their firm and the status that calls them an “entrepreneur” or a CEO or something equally grand.
  • You know a lot about their personal life. In fact, much more than you need to. You know where they’ve had breakfast or dinner and where they’re going to party tonight.
  • They’re obsessed with being picture perfect. So you see hundreds of selfies and a personal “thanks” to all those who “like” or comment on them.

But is the trend of wantrepreneurs a good one or a bad one? Some may argue that having a good lifestyle is what it’s all about. Some will comment that they, in fact, would love to be in the shoes of the guy on that cruise! Others may also say that, after all, becoming rich is the end result of entrepreneurship, and the guy who shared it on social media is already there. But those with a bit more experience know what it really takes to achieve success and that of the stuff they post is fluff and fake.


Related: The Dangerous Side Effect of the Entrepreneurial Bug No One Talks About

The wantrepreneurs, on the other hand, know very little about what it takes. In their hurry to become rich and famous, they are missing a big middle piece. It’s like they are jumping from the idea of becoming an entrepreneur to the “now I’m rich enough to splurge” phase directly. What’s unfortunate is that they completely overlook plenty of stuff that happens in between. In fact, that’s where the real action lies.

Entrepreneurship isn’t about becoming rich and famous overnight — and that’s a statement I keep repeating over and over again. But then look at the trend, and you’ll see that very few ideas that start up actually succeed. Most of them last for a few months or a year at the maximum before falling apart. Per Forbes, approximately 90% of start-ups fail. It is only a small 10% that succeed — and only 1% that do very well. This isn’t anything new, but I’m guessing that percentage would be a lot higher if the people’s focus wasn’t so much on getting there immediately with as little effort as possible. Very few entrepreneurs are able to shape their ideas into a commercial business venture.

So Then, Is the Word “Entrepreneur” Dead?

I really hope not because at the end of it all, it is the entrepreneurs and not the wantrepreneurs who can bring tangible change to the world. It is they who bring new ideas into the market with unique solutions and actually make them happen.

If you want to be sure if this is the case, all we need to do is take a look at the world’s biggest and richest entrepreneurs for inspiration. Take Mark Zuckerberg, for instance, who spent hours and days coding, rather than hanging out at some awesome frat party. Had he spent his time like most people do, Facebook would have been a non-entity and Zuckerberg a nobody. However, today he is one of the richest entrepreneurs the world has generated. The story of Bill Gates is similar. Entrepreneurship without hustle is nothing, and selling your software without even having it is about as hustle as it gets.

Since things are different today than, say, 15 years ago, maybe the word “entrepreneur” is indeed due for a rebranding. I’m not talking about a rebranding in the sense of the wantrepreneur. No, I’m talking about something new entirely.

Become a “Lifestyle-preneur”

The days of the door to door salesman making it big are long gone. The hustle has changed. And that’s a good thing because where previously an entire state would pretty much stop working after 5:00 p.m. since there was nothing to do anyway, that’s no longer the case. If you’re running a business, you can call people 24/7 these days. That’s why things are slowly starting to change. Instead of competitive pressure, that 24/7 window is now turning into a window of flexibility. Sure, you still have to work 16 hours a day. But you can work whenever you want, wherever you want.

The nature of work is changing, too. Where previously you had to literally do whatever it took, today you can make choices. I do this, this and this, but I outsource that. Have only one hour of work to give away? No problem! That’s huge. Time has become a commodity available to everyone, and you know what? People are actually starting to use it.

Keep the Dream Alive

For all those who really want to make a difference, I suggest they “keep the entrepreneur alive.” Just in a new way. Don’t be one of the wannabes; instead, become the real deal. And for the real entrepreneurs to understand what it takes, it is very important to learn from not only their mistakes but also from the mistakes others like them have made. And in today’s context, you’re finally able to live your life the way you want in the process. You’re still going to be doing loads of hours, but you can do them however you want. Today, there are no restrictions left.

For entrepreneurship to give you its best results, it requires a tremendous amount of work.

  • Make your idea workable. You need to make your idea workable and take your work very seriously. Many people make the mistake of treating it just like another hobby. Don’t fall into that trap.
  • Network. No man is an island, especially not when business ventures are involved. Every business person needs to network with people, who form a part of your value chain. If you think that posting fancy pictures on social media is a way to network, then remember this — your narcissist image will only take you away from people and not closer to them.
  • Use social media wisely. Use the benefits of social media’s reach, but not just for bragging about how great you are. Instead, use it in a way that builds your brand value and doesn’t take away from it.
  • Work, work, work. These are the three words that’ll form the core of your business. Think of the effort put into a 9 to 5 job, and double it for your venture. You have to be at it, right from the stage of planning, to budgeting and then executing.

New ventures need to grow quickly. The first year is crucial because slow initial growth only slows down the momentum for the years ahead. Alternatively, fast growth translates to an expanded customer base and a wider variety of work, which needs to be handled with improved strategies.


Related: 21 Quotes to Keep You Going — Even When the Entrepreneurial Life Gets Tough

How does this tie in with the wantrepreneur’s way of doing things? Well, often they have a great idea, get some money from investors, and squander it all in the first year. They’ll spend ridiculous amounts on branding and a nice office and not really achieve anything. It all looks great. The company looks like it’s growing and hiring people, and everyone has loads of money. But it’s not the company’s money, and nothing about it has been earned with the company’s product or service. So, while a wantrepreneur may be pleased with his illusion of fast growth in the first year, a normal entrepreneur or a lifestyle-preneur wouldn’t like this. For them, it isn’t time to relax.

I’d like to sum it up by saying that entrepreneurship isn’t about earning or getting access to quick money and splurging it on stuff you’re passionate about. Entrepreneurship in itself should be the “stuff” you’re passionate about. It should be about creating something that will sustain even long after you are gone. It is about creating a legacy that will last forever and perhaps make people wonder how you could’ve possibly created it. Money is volatile, but legacies, like good businesses, remain.

Investors: Have you seen an influx of “wantrepreneurs” on social media (or otherwise)? What do you think of this new trend?

Let’s discuss in the comments section below!

About Author

Engelo Rumora

Engelo Rumora, a.k.a.”the Real Estate Dingo,” quit school at the age of 14 and played professional soccer at the age of 18. From there, he began to invest in real estate. He now owns real estate all over the world and has bought, renovated, and sold over 500 properties. He runs runs Ohio Cashflow, a turnkey real estate investment company in the country (Inc 5000 2017 & 2018) and is currently in the process of launching a real estate brokerage called List’n Sell Realty. He is also known for giving houses away to people in need and his crazy videos on YouTube. His mission in life is to be remembered as someone that gave it his all and gave it all away.


  1. Douglas Skipworth

    Engelo, I totally agree with work, work, work. I just stumbled across the phrase “labor omnia vincit” yesterday in SUCCESS magazine. I had never heard it before, but I love the translation and application, which is “work conquers all.” Truer words may never have been spoken.

  2. Earl minnis

    A million dollar portfolio in 6 months- maybe some properties worth a million but what is owed on them? This is just another bullshit story from some young guy trying to sell something. This is not reality people. Look at his website, enough said. Have been in the business for over 40 years. Bought and sold over 2,000 houses. Earl Minnis

  3. Jack Knochel

    GREAT article Engelo! With still having my 9 to 5 I have to confess, we’re still running it like a hobby but Mama Knucks is kicking it into gear so its starting to change course. Its time to create our future and our legacy instead of the bossmans. Later

  4. Abe Gonzales

    Are you able to mention what amount of money did you get started with and with whom you borrowed this initial capital at what return to your lender or group of lenders? I’m a newbie and always in the learning curve. $1M may not sound aspiring to high market like California or Australia, but a small borrowed amount of money done properly and executed timely may just be all you needed to get your boots in the pit. Were you reading the market trends and blend this with psychology knowing people would always seek out shelter no matter what? Or maybe the opposite of the market trend? Happy investing!

    • Engelo Rumora

      Thanks Abe,

      I started with $50,000 and was very creative with financing back home in Australia.

      My advice would be to be more patient than I was and to only use cash to build the foundations of your portfolio.

      Thanks and much success

  5. Courtney Jones

    Good read. I am just starting out and from the little I know I would say it is completely accurate. I intend to work and keep working until I get where I want to be….and then just a little more. Hope to see you at the top.

  6. Chris Newman

    Great article, as usual, Engelo.

    I haven’t noticed the “wantrepreneur” trend, but then I don’t hang out on social media. In any event, the trend won’t run longer than past the time when the deluded wannabes run out of money and credit. They’ll either wake up or go under. Nowhere will that happen faster than in real estate investment. 🙂 If only it were as easy and fool-proof as they make it look on late night TV.

    The problem with learning from experience is that the tests come first and the lessons come later. The true entrepreneur digs out those lessons and doesn’t repeat their mistakes.

    Have you heard about the new book/idea, “Entrepreneurial Personality Type, your guide to the most important and misunderstood among us?” We entrepreneurs really are a different slice of the human spectrum, quite often the troublemakers, and what the author had to say confirmed suspicions that I’ve had for decades. If I’d had this information long ago, it would have changed the course of my life. But, there’s still a big release that comes from finally understanding.

    The free e-version of the 50 page book, released literally just a few days ago, can be downloaded directly from https://s3.amazonaws.com/charfen-leadcapture/EPT+E-Book/EPT-Ebook-v1.1.pdf There’s no registration, cost or sign-in required. If you really want to do the social media thing, there’s a link at the end for the EPT Facebook page, with lots of action.

    I’m not a shill for the author. Far from it. “Gurus? We don’t need no stinkin’ gurus!”

    But, if anyone wants to start a BP forum thread on EPT and REI, especially in Snohomish county, WA, to share their thoughts on this idea, I’ll happily join in. Be sure to include the keyword “Snohomish,” which will bring in a lot of Puget Sound folks.

  7. Great piece. I have seen too many ‘wantrepreneur’. People who claim to be gurus who charge others thousands of dollars for know-how’s on how to buy properties without money down, how to own biz with only half hour a week, how to be rich without work etc. they show off their branded cars, on cruise holidays, etc. Best part is, when question on why do they need to do talks for a living, they claim they are doing charity!

    Somehow the real McCoys are ones who remain silent and avoid publicity and for fear of being criticize as show off.

  8. Peter Mckernan

    Hey Engelo,

    Your posts are always very good! This one is no different. I have been watching many different entrepreneurs and the main men/women believe that the big hype for this is just a trend that is going away at some point because it is not as glamorous as you stated with the work that is needed. I believe that it takes a lot of work that is not shown, and it truly does, people need to see that real side of it though! Many nights and weekends taken up by putting time into your passion, not to having a fun, great time!

    Good post as usual!

Leave A Reply

Pair a profile with your post!

Create a Free Account


Log In Here