So, I’m doing the dishes this evening and this question pops into my head …

Can someone have the entrepreneurial spirit and also be averse to financial risk?

I have no idea why this particular question came to mind. I hadn’t even been thinking about entrepreneurial endeavors or financial risk aversion, but one synapse clicked with another and there I was, thinking this thought.

Often when I read about entrepreneurial endeavors, there is some element of financial risk involved. Could I, being financially conservative (i.e. a tightwad), ever be considered entrepreneurial? Is the willingness to take financial risk irrevocably intertwined with how entrepreneurs are defined?

While risk-taking is certainly a common trait among entrepreneurs, I don’t believe that the only way to take a risk is by putting one’s self into a monetary bind.

I asked Hubby his opinion. He, too, didn’t think financial risk was necessary to being entrepreneurial, that it was enough for a person to risk reputation or criticism for a project or idea. He also related my question to a current thread he’s following on a discussion board. Someone there claimed that no one with a centrist view could come up with any good ideas. (!) Only extremists (extreme liberals or extreme conservatives) could have good ideas. (!!!) Aside from believing this is utter hogwash, the notion that one HAD to take financial risks in order to be an entrepreneur was in itself an extremist position. Once an extremist idea takes hold, if no centrist views are allowed, the quickest way to invalidate the extremist is to take an even more extreme position, which makes the first extremist idea appear to be centrist. Can you imagine how nasty this cycle could get?

Hubby had a great illustration for this. If financial risk and entrepreneurship are tied together, then to be an extreme entrepreneur you’d have to be willing to dig Granny out of her grave and pluck her gold fillings in order to finance your entrepreneurial endeavor.

What do you think? Can you be an entrepreneur and not be willing to max your credit cards and take a second mortgage on the house to realize your dream?