Changing the Employment Paradigm, the New Definition of Entrepreneur

Since our country’s inception, American entrepreneurs have played a major role in driving U.S. economic growth and success. You have only to watch ABC’s reality show Shark Tank to realize that America’s entrepreneurial spirit is as strong today as ever. But as noted in our previous post, changes in the U.S. employment paradigm are about to swell the ranks of the country’s entrepreneurial community with a new class of entrepreneurs that are taking on the challenges and risks of managing their own business less by choice than by necessity.

For these accidental entrepreneurs the very definition of an entrepreneur as someone who is willing to take on the often considerable risks of launching a business can be a source of extreme discomfort. It is the risk many people associate with being an entrepreneur that is at the root of their fear. But the same employment shifts that are forcing more people to launch their own businesses are also forcing a redefinition of our collective concept of entrepreneurship, as Brett Nelson explained on

Our economy is now being fueled by two distinct breeds of entrepreneur:

  • Traditional entrepreneurs: Visionary thinkers who are constantly looking for new ways to change the world and are willing to assume major risks to turn their ideas into reality.
  • Accidental entrepreneurs: Regular folks with skills, services or products to sell who are looking for a marketplace for their services that entails minimal risk.

There is room in our economy for both breeds. In fact, as demonstrated in the Funders and Founders infographic recently published on, the employment shift from full-time employees to self-employed freelancers, independent contractors and consultants is pushing many U.S. workers into the entrepreneurial trenches.

Next time: The 5 habits of successful entrepreneurs

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