Rise Of The Wantrepreneur!

January 10, 2017

Wantrepreneur: { A Wannabe Entrepreneur}, is an emerging persona in the business world. A self-proclaimed expert in all areas of business, be it marketing, finance, R&D, I.T or H.R. It may seem harmless enough, a modest fantasy even, but it's rise is having a more profound impact upon real world business. Their wild claims of potentially lucrative deals, of contacts in far off places and other boastful ways in which they can help you are distracting, misinforming and financially disrupting many legitimate businesses. At best they are wasting your time and as real business owners know, thats worse than wasting their money. 

 

Firstly, Wantrepreneurs fall into two distinct age brackets, the young go-getter who just hasn't got-going yet, and more commonly the "Has Been" who can't let go of past glories. We've all read overly polished LinkedIn C.Vs but Wantrepreneurs take it to a whole new level of fantasy, just because you once bought petrol next to Richard Branson doesn't mean you co-developed Virgin Atlantic. Yet similar dubious connections are being drawn upon everyday by Wantrepreneurs.

 

 

So how do you spot a Wantrepreneur? Heres what to look for:

 

They have a terrible website

You'd think this would be a total giveaway, but many just search for the wantrepreneur on LinkedIn. Their actual website is often a well chosen URL but a horrid blend of wordpress templates, stock business photos and old pictures of themselves; in either the style of a criminal mugshot (taken with a webcam) or cropped and white vignetted to look like an "In Memoriam" card. There will be minimal informative content, no address or "contact me" form. They will also have several menu headers with different job titles "Entrepreneur", "Brand Consultant", "Social Media Consultant", "SEO Expert" are all favourites, as they are totally unprovable. 

 

 

They Collect Followers

Just like a cult, the wantrepreneur only maintains his status by having people to lead. They therefore "collect" social media followers, this also makes a very impressive first impression when you connect with them. The numbers however will always look out of proportion. 

   Example:     

      

           FOLLOWING  354            FOLLOWERS  687K                TWEETS  8 

 

That amount of followers from 8 tweets is certainly grounds for suspicion. They want you to believe they have great influence and reach, but in reality these will be purchased / bot accounts or old work contacts. A giveaway is also the level of interaction one of their posts attracts, to achieve just one like for a post seen by over half a million followers is ridiculously poor, meaning no one is listening to them. 

 

Photoshopped Pictures 

Yep, that old chestnut. Not just the preserve of North Korean dictators, the wantrepreneurs secret weapon. Good photos can sell almost anything, especially a lie. The wantrepreneur wants you to believe they have been somewhere, met someone or made something. However they have no genuine way to do so, so they photoshop it. With the use of google images and photoshop, they can add themselves into photos, remove logos from backgrounds at genuine events and imply a connection to a celebrity. So scrutinise their photos, wantrepreneurs love to use photoshop to blur distort and edit both their pictures and the truth. 

 

 

Enterprise, Worldwide, Global, Network, Inc.

They love to turn their name into the business name, without registering a business. Genuine company suffixes in the UK, PLC or Ltd. etc are all protected and issued by regulatory bodies. To avoid running fowl of the law, they use similar but suitably high powered suffixes.  "H.G Benning Enterprises" , "Dick Gently WorldWide" or "Lilly Wright Inc". When they gain enough of a pseudo following they will rebrand to add further credibility, terms like "Network", "Group", "Initiative" or " Enterprise".  All to give the impression of a Trump sized industry to back up their illustrious claims. 

 

 

Motivational Quotes

Wise words should always be heeded, regardless of where it comes from. A wantrepreneur loves motivational quotes, especially on social media. In order to increase their number of tweets and ,more often, instagram posts, the wantrepreneur will copy-paste google image pictures of motivational quotes. This ensures they never have a blank social media feed, that they may appear well read and world wise, and also saves any time having to come up with an original thought. So glance at their social media feed and if it's a sea of Warren Buffet quotes typed over beach sunset backgrounds....move on.

 

"I'll Connect You"

 "It's not what you know , It's who you know" is a well known maxim. It's why face to face networking and business relationships are so important. The right call to the right person can do almost anything. The Wantrepreneur would love to have you believe that with one call they can raise £3,000,000 for any purpose, or that they can affect the Bank of Englands interest rates. Silly as it sounds, the "I can raise the finance" move is one of the more dangerous ploys in the wantrepreneurs arsenal. Keeping genuine startups waiting for capital that never materialises and far worse. At best the wantrepreneur will "help" you to connect to some random person half-a-world away on facebook. 

 

 

They're Always Somewhere Else

If and or when a wantrepreneur checks in on social media or even emails you, it'll always be from or on the way to somewhere upmarket and stylish. Emails ending "follow up with you soon, rushing to catch a flight to Monaco". or posting on Twitter that they "had a lovely time at the Savoy last weekend". Perhaps hoping brand association will impress you. Business addresses will be similarly swish, 1A knightsbridge sounds suitably grand. Often it'll be a PO Box or a shared office with a post and telephone forwarding service. The Japanese have a saying "In the dark, the ceiling is as high as you're told", so too on the phone the office is as grand as you're led to believe. 

 

They Love Events 

We all love a night out, free drinks and canapés. Social events at business shows, art galleries, car showrooms, fashion boutiques are the wantreprenurs hunting ground. Orating their rehearsed patter on anyone who'll listen, all with the aim to impress or recruit. If you aren't well connected they'll try to impress you, if you are well connected they'll want to recruit you. Collecting you for later and using your name to open more doors. You'll know you've been collected when you receive a LinkedIn invite to connect the next day. 

 

They Have A Book 

To be an accomplished author is no easy feat, be it fact or fiction, it requires knowledge of various subjects, imagination, original concepts and a keen grasp of the written language. The wantrepreneur too will have a book, if not a self published paperback then definitely a kindle e-book. If they opt for non-fiction, they will often steer clear of researchable business topics, skirting instead into workplace anecdotes interwoven with stories from their last real job. However if in doubt they will have written a fiction novel, men often write a spy or SAS potboiler, women usually write a kids book or fantasy novel. With a few well chosen testimonials on the sleeve, they can add "accredited author" to their repertoire.

 

They Love Apps

Wantrepreneurs will be on every new trend going, their inbuilt FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) won't let them miss a new app or trend. They'll join snapchat three years late and still say they were an "early adopter". Their smartphone homescreen will be a sea of technicolour app logos, all apparently vital to unlock those "hard to reach markets".

They'll confidently inform you that the reason you're not making sales is because you're not using this, that or one app or another. You'll spot this one because with so many apps to keep track of they need another app to manage them, so you'll see crowdfire, hootsuite or market samurai trademarks or links in most of their posted content.

 

Solution?

We've become very laissez-faire with the title of entrepreneur, it was once defined as individual who, rather than working as an employee, runs the business, assumes all the risks and with hard work reaps the rewards of a given business venture, idea or service offered for sale. The entrepreneur is commonly seen as a business leader, an innovator of new ideas and business processes. Now it seems to be an umbrella term for anyone who's got "fingers in many pies" but treats business as a hobby and people as tools. 

 

The only way to counter the wantrepreneur is to stand your ground. They may speak, write and act in a manner that exudes confidence and knowledge on many subjects but they are only as well informed as the other readers of the last magazine article they read. They regurgitate facts and opinions from the one source they've seen and have to stick to it or admit poor subject knowledge. So know your own business, inside out. The market as a whole, trends in your consumers buying habits, new tech and apps relevant to you. Have the courage to trust in your own abilities and knowledge, saying "Thanks, but I know what I plan to do". 

 

 

 

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