Justin Brooke started a great discussion on Facebook a few months ago, asking if Affiliate Marketers qualified as Entrepreneurs.
I'm a Super Affiliate and earn the majority of my income online via Affiliate Marketing, so I found this topic very interesting.
You may be asking "Why does it even matter?" - and in fact, several people asked that very thing in the original thread. And while I'm not sure it does matter, some very interesting things came up in that discussion regarding the difference between making money online, being an entrepreneur, and being "just" a business owner...
Here are just a few responses to the question:
I liked the "Affiliates are just hustlers" comment. 😀 lol
My response? I said:
"A professional affiliate makes good business of bringing products to markets, and markets to merchants. And a smart affiliate marketer has a variety of revenue sources, with a business that serves a market to the point that it's independent of any individual revenue source or single merchant." -Lynn Terry
So what's the real difference between a small business owner, an entrepreneur, and a "hustler"?
A Small Business Owner wants a regular income, and the stability and enjoyment of being self-employed. They are content to make a good living and run their business doing the day to day tasks.
A Hustler is out to make a quick buck and "cash in" then "cash out". They aren't committed to a cause or a lifestyle, but rather money-focused and looking for the fastest, easiest way to make money online - with no real roots, or business to manage.
An Entrepreneur is a visionary, with a mission and a purpose larger than themselves - and their own life. They seek to make a difference, leave a mark, and add value to the world (or to a market).
(Those are my definitions and my thoughts - I'd love to hear yours!)
The best resource I found in that conversation was a link to this chart, outlining some of the main differences between a small business owner and a true entrepreneur...
Top 12 Differences Between A Small Business Owner and Entrepreneur:
I found that chart very interesting, and very well done. It confirmed that I am indeed an entrepreneur, which of course I already knew. 😉
I've been in business more than 17 years now, weaving through a variety of business models and markets - with two primary goals: to make a real difference, and to have the freedom to use my talents to do so.
A big part of that (for me) is for my life to mean something. To have a mission that fuels me, and something that gives meaning to the otherwise mundane cyle of eating / working / sleeping / etc that makes up everyday life.
Of course, I also wanted to create an ideal lifestyle for myself and my family (which includes two awesome children, and now two beautiful Great Danes). I wanted to be a full time parent and have an awesome career at the same time, and under the same roof. Mission accomplished!
I work from my home office, and often from my back deck as you can see in the photo above. I used to have an office and shop in the city, but for more than a decade now I've been working from virtually anywhere - from mobile devices in airports, with a beach view in Australia, on a gorgeous resort patio overlooking the mountains in Colorado, you name it!
Back when I still had clients (before I phased out my service-based business), I was "quiet" about my nomadic office space. I had my business line forwarded to my cell phone, and kept a professional "appearance" even if I was sitting poolside with my laptop. These days it doesn't really matter where I am - so long as I'm moving toward my goals - and I love that!
I don't miss having an office, and I especially don't miss having "office hours". When I get bored with my home office, I grab a few things and go sit by the river to work - like in the photo above where I was writing my review of the Problogger Workbook.
Am I an affiliate marketer? Yes.
Am I a business owner? Yes. (The IRS agrees. lol)
Am I an entrepreneur? Definitely!
While labels don't really matter in the grand scheme of things, knowing who you are - or knowing your objectives, and knowing who you want to be - is definitely the key in reaching your goals in life.
Regardless of whether you're an "entrepreneur" or just a "hustler", I say go at it full-on! 😛