The 10 Types of Entrepreneur: Which One Are You?

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Everyone wants to be the next Steve Jobs — or at least their own version of the iconic entrepreneur.

In fact, in 2021, Google searches for “how to start a business” were greater than “how to get a job.” Translation? There’s an increasing desire to be an entrepreneur.

But you don’t need to be the next Steve Jobs to consider yourself an entrepreneur.

There are many types of entrepreneurs. As the rise of entrepreneurship continues to grow, it’s important to understand which type of entrepreneur you want to be in order to better position yourself online, reach your ideal customers, and achieve success.

The word ‘entrepreneur’ is defined as a person who owns or operates a business. While the term can be applied to a broad number of people and businesses, it doesn’t touch on the specific areas of entrepreneurship that people can focus on.

There are several types of entrepreneurs, from the well-known types like small business entrepreneurs to lesser-known types like the researcher entrepreneur.

Knowing which type of entrepreneur you are can help you better position your brand and your business online, whether you want to run an ecommerce shop, become an industry thought leader, or build a membership site.

Here are the 10 most common types of entrepreneurs and examples of each type.

1. Membership Business Entrepreneur or Creator

membership business entrepreneur

There’s a new sheriff in town, the membership business entrepreneur, also known as a creator or founder. This type of entrepreneur is extremely popular because earning monthly recurring income is one of the most appealing and lucrative types of revenue.

Think about it. Every month, you automatically get paid as long as you consistently deliver quality digital products.

Popular digital products include:

  • Newsletters
  • Paid Podcasts
  • Content Libraries
  • Videos

See full list of digital products.

Become a Membership Entrepreneur!

The easiest way to accept membership payments or one-time charges for digital products like online courses, communities, content libraries, and more — all from your own website!

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2. Small Business Entrepreneur

You know that local restaurant that you take visitors to when they come to town? Or your favorite coffee shop that you pop into every morning before work? Those are owned by small business entrepreneurs. Many of the businesses that you know and love are small businesses, or at least started out as one.

A small business is independently owned and operated and doesn’t have plans to expand into a large company. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), there are 32.5 million small businesses in the US as of 2021.

One example of a small business is The Social Broker. The Illinois-based small business empowers real estate agents to build a polished & thriving online brand. They provide monthly content plans with daily post ideas, images, graphics, and captions. There’s a curated library of photos along with editable templates, all provided via their Social Broker Membership. Everything The Social Broker does is an independent decision made by a small business entrepreneur.

3. Large Business Entrepreneur

The opposite of a small business owner, a large business entrepreneur refers to the leaders of large companies and corporations such as Microsoft or Disney. These types of entrepreneurs are often C-level executives like a CEO.

A large company is different from a small business in that its goal is to expand by developing new products or services — or even buying smaller companies — to meet consumer demand. The goal of a large business entrepreneur is to lead the initiatives that will help the company increase its market value. To be a large business entrepreneur, it helps to be strategic and have the ability to focus on high-level goals.

4. Startup Entrepreneur

While the term ‘startup’ is often associated with Silicon Valley, you don’t need to reside in the tech hub to be a startup entrepreneur. A startup entrepreneur is the founder of a scalable company. Startups are often technology focused and are either bootstrapped or rely on funding from outside investors.

Examples of startups include Canva, Airbnb, Square, and Uber, to name a few.

Even if you aren’t the founder of a tech startup, there are still ways to get involved with this type of entrepreneurship.

If you want to be a startup entrepreneur or get involved in the startup industry, you have to have an idea for a scalable solution, be scrappy, and be willing to put in a lot of hard work before you see results.

5. Solo Entrepreneur

A solo entrepreneur, or solopreneur as they’re often referred to, is someone who operates a one-person business. Similar to a small business entrepreneur in that they are independently owned, a solopreneur doesn’t work with partners. These types of entrepreneurs often run service-based businesses like consulting, coaching, or freelancing.

Solopreneurship has grown tremendously over the last few years as more people desire autonomy in their careers. In fact, freelancers currently make up 36% of the workforce and the personal coaching industry is valued at over $1 billion.

A great example of a solopreneur is Inge Hunter, an Instagram marketing specialist. In addition to offering 1:1 consulting, Hunter has also built a membership hub that offers numerous social media and content resources and workshops for her community.

Though solopreneurs work independently, there are countless business opportunities for them to pursue.

6. Innovator Entrepreneur

Apple. Google. Amazon. Tesla. What word comes to mind when you think of these companies? Innovation. The brains behind these brands — Steve Jobs, Larry Page, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk — are examples of innovator entrepreneurs.

But what exactly makes them innovators? And how can you tell if you’re an innovator entrepreneur?

To start, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you have a product or service that’s unlike anything else that’s on the market?
  • Are you solving a problem with your product or service?
  • Are you addressing a market or customer that no one else is?

If you find yourself nodding along to these questions, then you may be an innovator entrepreneur with a groundbreaking business on the horizon.

7. Imitator Entrepreneur

Before you question the credibility of an ‘imitator entrepreneur,’ keep reading. These types of entrepreneurs take an existing business, product, or service, and make it better. Many entrepreneurs fall into this category. There can only be a few true innovators, after all — most businesses are usually an iteration of something that already exists. But that doesn’t mean these types of entrepreneurs can’t build massively successful businesses from it.

Take, for example, Whitney Wolfe Herd, the founder of Bumble. After co-founding the dating app Tinder, she went on to create a new dating app that addressed a different market and focused on empowering women. Today, Bumble has around 45 million active users and is valued at over $3 billion.

Though Herd can be identified as an imitator entrepreneur, she’s proof that, when done right, imitation can yield incredible results.

8. Social Entrepreneur

If your mission is to change the world, then you’re a social entrepreneur. This type of entrepreneur strives to make a difference with their company, on either a small scale or a global one. Leaders at nonprofits are great examples of social entrepreneurs.

How can you tell if you’re a social entrepreneur? Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is your company a for-profit or a nonprofit business?
  • If you’re a for-profit company, do you plan to donate a portion of profits to a charity? Do you partner with a nonprofit organization?
  • Do you wish to change the world with your company?

If you answered yes to these questions, then there’s a good chance you’re a social entrepreneur.

9. Buyer Entrepreneur

Rather than building a business, a buyer entrepreneur either buys or funds another business to help them grow. This type of entrepreneur typically has extensive experience building companies throughout their career and uses that expertise to improve the companies they buy.

Warren Buffet, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, is a buyer entrepreneur. His successful investments have earned him the position of being one of the wealthiest people in the world.

10. Hustler Entrepreneur

A hustler entrepreneur lives up to their name. They are driven, highly-motivated, and hustle hard to get to the top. These types of entrepreneurs are often a natural when it comes to sales and will pitch their product or service to anyone and everyone they meet.

Spanx founder Sara Blakely is the definition of a hustler entrepreneur. The self-made billionaire built Spanx from the ground up — from creating the first prototype of the now-famous shapewear to personally reaching out to major retailers to get them to carry her clothing line.

If you’re the type of person who doesn’t flinch at a rejection email, always has your elevator pitch ready to go, and will stop at nothing to get your business in front of the right people, then you’re probably a hustler entrepreneur.

Bonus: 11. Researcher Entrepreneur

Researcher entrepreneurs are, as the name implies, research and data-driven. They have in-depth expertise about the product or service they offer and are motivated to share that knowledge with their customers.

Christy Harrison, a registered dietician, certified intuitive eating counselor, and author, is a great example of a researcher entrepreneur. Harrison uses her background and expertise to offer private coaching and online courses around an anti-diet perspective. Through her membership business, Harrison is able to use her research-driven offerings to educate her community about topics that are important to them.

How to Position Yourself Online

Knowing which type of entrepreneur you are or want to be is just the first step in your entrepreneurial journey. Once you’ve pinpointed the type of entrepreneur you identify as, it’s important to lean into your unique traits if you want to better position yourself and your business online.

Here are a few ways to position yourself online as an entrepreneur.

Refine Your Message

To best position your brand in front of the right people, it’s essential to have a clear and refined message.

Ask yourself: What is the one thing you want your audience to know about what you do? This can be as simple as, “I want to simplify complex processes” or “I want to inspire people to start their own business.”

Once you know what drives you and what you want people to take away from interacting with you online, it’s easier to determine what your strategy will be, such as which platforms you want to be on and who your target audience is.

Know Your Audience

Once you’ve defined your key message, it’s important to hone in on who that message is for. Every type of entrepreneur has an ideal customer. If you want to position yourself in front of the right audience, then it’s essential to know how to reach and communicate with that customer.

If you’re not quite sure where your ideal audience hangs out online, research your customers or clients. Figure out which platforms they spend the most time on, whether that’s LinkedIn, Instagram, or even email, and focus on one platform at first.

Next, determine how best to communicate with your audience. Do they prefer to read long-form content like e-books? Or would they rather watch a short video clip? Does your audience enjoy inspirational messages or do they want to stay informed? Knowing all of this will help you find your audience and speak to them in a way that resonates with them.

Build a Community

Whether you sell software or offer private coaching, building an online community is essential for every type of entrepreneur.

Building a community around your business is key to creating relationships with your target customer, building trust, and ultimately increasing brand loyalty (which often translates to sales).

A couple ways to build community online is through a newsletter or social media platforms. These outlets are a good way to communicate with a large number of people in a shared space.

But if you want to take the idea of community one step further, it may be worth it to start a membership site. Not only do membership sites act as a resource for your community, but they give people a chance to connect on a more personal level than they could on social media platforms.

No matter which type of entrepreneur you are, MemberSpace’s team of experts and flexible membership software will provide you with the tools and guidance you need to stand out online and take your business to the next level.

For additional resources on marketing and selling digital products and memberships with MemberSpace, check out MemberSpace University, your one-stop resource hub full of step-by-step guides, educational videos, helpful tips and tricks, and more.