Entrepreneurial Personality Types, the Most Important Club in History
by Alex Charfen
This story is about me, but I also think it's about you.
As a kid, I struggled in school. I was so different from the other kids and felt separated from how I learned. The only time I did well was when I got along with a teacher, and that didn't happen very often. I didn't know where to turn, so I started reading obsessively and looking at what creates success. At eight years old, I began reading self-help books. By the time I got to the 10th book, it almost completely negated the first. So I decided to shift strategies.
Instead of studying self-help books, I began studying successful people. Reading about successful people was my escape. Here’s what I learned: When you look at 100 successful people, their stories appear very different, disparate, and unique. But, when you obsess over thousands of success stories, you begin seeing a clear pattern of success. The successful people I was reading about were not like the people around them. But, they were and are all eerily similar to each other.
The more I read about these people, the more I was encouraged. Before, I always thought I was separated somehow from success because I was a kid with behavioral disorders. Getting to know all of these unusual people made me believe that could do it, too. They were different just like me, and they even appeared broken to those around them. Yet, we revere them for their accomplishments and write books about them. Thankfully, these people were able to find their place in the world, maybe in science or the arts or business. For me, the place where I knew I would find success and comfort was business.
I began creating business plans in my garage as early as nine years old. I started my first business at sixteen. By the time I was 20, I had launched and sold a business. At 21, I became a Fortune 500 consultant. I started working with Fuji digital cameras, SanDisk memory, and Fuji media. My first three clients sold groundbreaking technologies that changed the entire world. My partner in the consultancy and I put the first flash memory into stores. We helped plan-o-gram the digital camera revolution and expanded that market both nationally and internationally.
In my 20s, I learned how to make businesses grow. I also learned that sometimes, the entrepreneurs in those companies weren't ready for the growth. Sometimes the business itself wasn't prepared for it either.
The question, “how do you make businesses grow?” became my obsession. I kept reading, studying, and trying to understand it better. That led me to a different question that needed an answer, “how do you help people grow?” Helping people grow was the next equation that I wanted to solve.
That quest turned out to be the catalyst for a life-changing epiphany. I sat down to write what I thought would be my life's work, a book called Constructive Company. A book that would allow me to share what I have learned over the years about how to grow people and how to grow a business. You cannot do one without the other, and I found that when you do both, companies explode. I've proven that throughout my life. My wife, Cadey, and I put one of our companies at number 21 on the Inc. 500 list. In fact, we made that list three consecutive years in a row. We were voted Best Places to Work every single year we made that list because when a company is growing, people are growing and they love it.
In beginning to write this book, I thought I had it all figured out. But, when I got to the part of the book proposal where you describe the market for the book, I started explaining entrepreneurs, and I couldn't stop. What was supposed to be a 200-word section of a book proposal quickly grew to over 20,000 words! While describing entrepreneurs, the successful people throughout history that I've obsessed about, I realized, almost like an epiphany or a lightning strike, that all of these people throughout history that I related to so well, were all the same. We look different. We might accomplish things differently, but what binds us all together is our Entrepreneurial Personality Type.
When I discovered the Entrepreneurial Personality Type, it was like a spiritual awakening for me. Here it was, the Rosetta Stone to share with entrepreneurs. This content would show entrepreneurs how they think and how they can create unlimited momentum. The most important part of discovering the Entrepreneurial Personality Type is that throughout my entire life growing up; I was so different. I felt isolated, alone, a party of one. When I sat down to define the entrepreneur, the thoughts of the thousands of success stories I had studied kept running through my head. I thought of the hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs who woke up one day and envisioned and demanded a better future, those world-changing people who were just like me and in this case, just like you. We are part of the most important club in history. There is nothing wrong with you or me, and we are not alone.