Becoming entrepreneurial is very much like learning a new language. While others are headed off for another predictable day, entrepreneurs are thinking about ambiguity, uncertainty and, even, paradox.

Eavesdrop on a group of self-employed folks at your neighborhood coffee shop and the conversation bears little resemblance to those overheard in an employee lunchroom.

To aid in the transition, I’ve created The 21st Century Entrepreneur’s Lexicon to help you become fluent as quickly as possible.

Adventure—any undertaking, the outcome of which cannot be known at the outset

Boss—a four-letter word that is banished, unless, of course, it’s what other people call you

Businessperson—Duncan Bannatyne said it best. “Business is not the same thing as being an entrepreneur. Businessmen have fat bellies, red braces and pin stripe suits.

“Entrepreneurs do their own thing to create a business. I want to raise the profile of the entrepreneur and make it a sexier word so that more people will do it.”

Collaboration—working with kindred spirits to produce a project or product of mutual benefit; far more satisfying than the old competition model of business

Comfort zone—place to avoid or exit from quickly

Creativity—the secret weapon of entrepreneurs

Dreambasher—one who attempts to interfere with the dreams of another; also known for nipping their own dreams in the bud

Dreambuilder—person assuming responsibility for creating the life of their dreams

Expense—financial outlay used to run a business

Failure—an option often mistaken for running out of patience

False security—trusting someone else to take care of you

Fun—the acid test of a good idea

Homework—gathering information, doing research, talking to trusted allies; a preliminary to taking action, but not a substitute for action

Inspiration—an entrepreneur’s trusted invisible friend

Integrity—the cornerstone of any worthy enterprise

Investment—financial outlay spent in the expectation of a greater future return

Kindred spirit—those folks whose faces light up when you walk in the room

Laughter—sound emanating from the Joyfully Jobless throughout the day

Lifelong learning—wonderful bonus of being self-employed

Multiple profit centers—the jigsaw pieces that make up your perfect business

Natural monopoly—when you are so perfect for the situation that the competition disappears

Options—the more, the better; sound decision-making comes from considering multiple choices and selecting the best

Problems—the hiding place of great opportunity

Purpose—the guiding light for decision-making and business-building

Quotation—wise thoughts to be collected; a good one is a seminar in a sentence

Remarkable—a worthy aspiration for an entrepreneur

Right brain—the generator of entrepreneurial ideas

Risk—not knowing for sure, but being confident enough to move ahead because you’ve done your homework

Security—knowing you can solve problems, create profit centers, always find a way

Supervisior—see Boss

Ubiquitous—my favorite definition says “appearing to be everywhere at once”; a smart entrepreneur keeps looking for new ways and places to appear

Vision—a place to come from


Although I’ve shared my lexicon in other places, I was inspired to dig it out again today after reading Scott Stratten’s delightful Top Tep Things Entrepreneurs Never, Ever Say.

If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out for yourself.