Are You An Entrepreneur Or An Investor?

Recently, I’ve had a peek “behind-the-scenes” of a number of very large businesses, and very successful entrepreneurs… and investors.


The difference between entrepreneur and investor is an important one…

Entrepreneur: someone who works their tail off, risks everything, and either makes a bloody fortune or goes bankrupt.

Investor: someone who takes a calculated risk, with capital they can afford to lose, in exchange for an enormous potential payoff… and who does virtually none of the work.

By their very nature, Entrepreneurs tend to see things in terms of possibility (why things will work out). If Entrepreneurs didn't see the world fundamentally this way, they'd never be willing to “dare greatly”. There would be no America, no airplanes, no railroads, no iPad.

And by their very nature, Investors tend to see things in terms of obstacles (why things will not work out, why an investment will not pay off). If Investors didn't see the world fundamentally this way, there would be no system of checks and balances to keep Entrepreneurs from risking all their chips on a crazy roll of the dice that could mean losing everything. There would be no cash reserves, no emergency fund, no fortunes built on the principle of compound interest.

Neither of these approaches is the “right” approach; we all need both kinds of thinking in our businesses and our lives. Nobody is exclusively one type or the other.

And yes, there are those who have are very balanced between the two.

Yet for most of us, we tend more toward one end of this scale or the other.

It is important to know which is your dominant style, or natural tendency, and to be intentionally informed by the opposite approach.

This way, if you are an Entrepreneur, you might be prevented from taking a risk that's just… well, too risky.

And if you're an Investor, having an Entrepreneur on your “personal board of advisors” will help you avoid playing it so safe that you miss out on potential breakthrough windfalls.

[reminder]Are you more of an Entrepreneur or an Investor, and how does that show up in your life?[/reminder]

Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at

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  • mschmidlen

    I am both, a long-term solo entrepreneur and an Angel Investor. I have somewhat successfully managed to straddle the fence between the two, but agree that it requires two entirely different mindsets. Time will tell whether the experience I’ve gathered as an entrepreneur will pay off substantially as an Angel investor…

  • Cathy Goodwin

    Definitely an investor and take the portfolio approach to diversification! Never thought of this before. I might be too cautious. 😉

  • This was one of those posts that made say out loud – “I love Rays articles”. I always look forward to learning from your insights Ray. But anyway – a great read that delves deeply into these mindsets is “The Cash Flow Quadrant” – one of the classics by Robert Kiyosaki. I read it back in the 90’s and for me it was the book that moved me away from being an employee and toward becoming a business owner and investor. It’s been a long crazy-ass journey with many twists and turns, failures and heartaches. But you know what – I wouldn’t change it for the world!

  • This is critical to understand, Ray. I started out as an Entrepreneur, dabbled as an Investor, then went extreme on the Entrepreneurial side. In 2015, my thinking has evolved to more Investor with an Entrepreneurial spirit. 🙂 Thanks for pointing this out, as this inner worldview can taint or bless our core business decisions. It’s definitely a balancing act.

  • Rick Carter

    I’ve always been more of an entrepreneur even though I would be fearful and did it anyway. Some worked and some didn’t! My history has been one of illnesses in our family. I mention this because it is true. If you don’t have your health you’re pretty well out of luck. It matters not if your are an entrepreneur or an investor! It is an old saying and true. Next time you pray … pray for your health so you can then pray for wisdom as did Solomon and you might have them both! !

  • I’m a blend of both, and often they war with each other. This can lead to indecision as my creative brain and practical brain duke it out. What I’m learning to do is analyze what looks like the downside, or the most I think I could lose if something becomes all sunk costs. If it isn’t unreasonable and I can absorb it, I go for it. That’s the beauty of this internet marketing space; the up-front financial investment is relatively low, and the gross profit margins are high. That allows both my entrepreneur and my investor self to be happy. 🙂

  • Trish Duke

    I am definitely an Entrepreneur and have so many ideas for new projects and products that I will have to live to 120 to finish them! Some of my ideas have been surprisingly successful and others just ‘good ideas’ instead of ‘God Ideas’….bit difference in the success rate and my ability to keep me working on them.

  • I’m the Entrepreneur and my hubby is the Investor. It’s making for a fun ride.