I have a picture in my head of what the average entrepreneur is
like. I’d guess pretty young (think Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc.) living the
red beans and rice lifestyle and working 80+ hours a week and sleeping under
their desk. On some parts, I’m probably right — but on many, I’m flat-out
wrong. This is demonstrated by a recent report from the Kauffman foundation for
entrepreneurship. The report is titled “The
Anatomy of an Entrepreneur”. It’s based on a survey of 549 company founders
across a variety of industries (that’s my first mistake, as it turns out
entrepreneurs start companies other than Internet software companies —
In any case, here are some of the points from the report that I
found the most interesting.
1. The average and median age of company
founders when they started their current companies was 40.
2. 95.1 percent of respondents themselves had
earned bachelor’s degrees, and 47 percent had more advanced degrees.
3. Less than 1 percent came from extremely rich or
extremely poor backgrounds
4. 15.2% of founders had a sibling that previously started a business.
5. 69.9 percent of respondents indicated they
were married when they launched their first business. An additional 5.2 percent
were divorced, separated, or widowed.
6. 59.7 percent of respondents indicated they had at least one
child when they launched their first business, and 43.5 percent had two or more
7. The majority of the entrepreneurs in the
sample were serial entrepreneurs. The average number of businesses launched by
respondents was approximately 2.3.
8. 74.8 percent indicated desire to build wealth
as an important motivation in becoming an entrepreneur.
9. Only 4.5 percent said the inability to find
traditional employment was an important factor in starting a business.
10. Entrepreneurs are usually better educated
than their parents.
11. Entrepreneurship doesn’t always run in the
family. More than
half (51.9 percent) of respondents were the first in their families to launch a
12. The majority of respondents (75.4 percent) had worked as
employees at other companies for more than six years before launching their own
Which of the above surprises you the most and alters your mental model
of what entrepreneurs are like?