Passion and entrepreneurs

Authored by: Melissa S. Cardon

The Routledge Companion to Entrepreneurship

Print publication date:  September  2014
Online publication date:  September  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415631761
eBook ISBN: 9780203096512
Adobe ISBN: 9781136218620

10.4324/9780203096512.ch5

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Abstract

It started with an argument with a colleague. A senior marketing professor was interested in how pharmaceutical sales reps were able to face rejection day in and day out and continue to persist in making sales calls every day, every week, every month, every year of their careers. How did they keep going despite being rejected and failing on 95 per cent of their sales calls? He called me into his office to discuss this because he thought there might be some parallels with entrepreneurship. After all, entrepreneurs starting a new firm also face high failure rates, disbelief from friends and colleagues that they want to embark on this risky venture instead of maintaining a steady career, and perhaps even uncertainty themselves as to whether they can be successful in this highly volatile, highly uncertain and often terrifying career path. My answer was a simple one – they persist because they cannot help themselves – they are passionate about what they are doing or about becoming an entrepreneur. His response was also a simple one – laughter and disbelief. Passion is not an academic construct and certainly cannot drive behaviour, at least in his opinion at that point in time.

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