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A QUIZ: The Entrepreneurial Spirit

An Entrepreneur's Guide

Are you an entrepreneur?
Building From Nothing
Choosing a Partner
Starting a Tech Firm
Essay: Politics of Entrepreneurship
Online Business Resources
Local Business Incubators
Do Start-Ups Generate Jobs?
Six Entrepreneurs' Stories

Continuing the Family Business
Commuting to the Virtual Office
Putting Your Training to Good Use
Marketing to the Minority
Getting Pulled into a Partnership
A Shop Owner's Horror

Live Discussions

Monday: Getting Started
Tuesday: Franchising
Wednesday: Picking a Partner
Thursday: Getting Funded
Friday: Consulting
By Sarah Schafer
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, June 27, 1999; Page H7

Could you cut it as an entrepreneur? Try this quiz. It's not exactly scientific, but it might give you an idea of whether you could be the next Bill Gates or are destined for the life of a worker bee.



  • Your most common recurring nightmare most closely resembles the following scenario:

    1. You're in a competition with your biggest rival from high school. Each of you sits in a sinking boat and must bail out water to see who can stay afloat longer. He has a bucket. You have a teaspoon.

    2. You're trapped in an elevator, and a booming voice breaks in over the alarm to tell you it will be another six hours before anything can be done.

    3. You're at a party. In the middle of describing your upcoming trip to New Guinea, one by one, the guests excuse themselves and leave the room.

  • Your ideal vacation is:

    1. A trek through the Himalayas

    2. Your significant other kidnapping you and taking you to a tropical island.

    3. A trip to Las Vegas.

  • You have always wanted to work for yourself because:

    1. You've been in the same industry for 10 years and have finally decided you can do better than any of the existing players.

    2. You've been doing photography on the side your whole life and want to try it full time. Why not make money at something you love to do?

    3. You want to be your own boss.

  • Checklist: Which of the following apply to you (check all that apply):

    1. After each major accomplishment at work, I reward myself with a night out.

    2. In college, people always wanted me on their team for group projects, but I never thought others contributed enough.

    3. I like to play solitaire.

    4. I like to play blackjack.

    5. I like to play bridge.

    6. I fly by the seat of my pants . . . things always seem to work out.

  • You would most like to be:

    1. An advice columnist.

    2. A daring adventurer.

    3. A brilliant scientist.

  • If you had to work from home, you would do the following

    1. Consult.

    2. Day-trade.

    3. Write a novel.

Before looking at the descriptions below, look at the "checklist" and give yourself an extra "a" for each if you checked numbers 2 or 5. Give yourself an extra "b" if you checked 4 or 6. Give yourself an extra "c" for checking 1 or 3.

If you answered mostly "a's" . . .
You're entrepreneur material. You have what it takes. You're willing to work hard, are a bit of a perfectionist and like adventure as long as you are prepared. You also are a bit paranoid, which should help you stay ahead of your competition.

Mostly "b's" . . .
You have potential. You may very well have what it takes to start your own business, but not yet. You have chutzpah but lack a practical nature and a willingness to work harder than anyone else. Entrepreneurs may rely on instinct, but they hate relying on luck or other people. And remember, feeling trapped may mean you're in the wrong profession, not that you should start your own company.

Mostly "c's" . . .
Cubicle lover. You're no Sam Walton. An entrepreneurial soul wants to solve problems in this world, not save it single-handedly. They think they have solutions, which is why entrepreneurs are convinced that everyone wants and needs to hear what they have to say. When you think of starting your own business, your fantasy probably ends with selling it and sailing around the world. A true entrepreneur does not create a company as a means to an end.

© 1999 The Washington Post Company

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