Every Entrepreneur starts somewhere—and sometimes that means starting from nothing. When you’re just getting started, it can be hard to know where to begin. You’d think that after decades of war and unrest, Iraqis would be tired of the whole entrepreneurship thing. After all, who wants to go through all that trouble just to get shot at? But it turns out that when you’re constantly living through conflicts, there’s no better way to keep yourself sane than starting your own business, and Iraqis are doing just that. They’re not only surviving, but thriving in the face of adversity – and they’re doing it by making the best use of their skills and talents. That’s why Iraq has become a hotbed for entrepreneurship and why everyone wants to get in on the action.
While news about hotshot Iraqi startups like Miswag, Tip Top, or Baly getting multi-million dollar investments comes up once in a while, many aspiring young Iraqis start to feel the urgency to follow these examples and start their business. Yet, and for several reasons, they never start. The term ‘wannapreneur’ is often used to describe these people. But what does it mean? What are the characteristics of a wannapreneur and how can you spot one? Here we’ve got you a list of twelve types of Iraqi wannapreneurs.
1. The “I’ll Give It A Shot” Wannapreneur
This wannapreneur is in it for the long haul. They don’t have a concrete plan or a specific target, but they know they want to make their way in life. They’ve always been good at making things happen on their own, and they want to take advantage of the fact that they can make anything happen if they put their mind to it. They’re willing to take risks because if there’s one thing war has taught Iraqis, it’s that nothing is guaranteed—and that’s exactly why you need a backup plan for everything!
2. The “I’ll Take My Time” Wannapreneur
This one is also in it for the long haul, but they’re not willing to take any risks. They want to ensure that everything is under control before moving forward with their plans, that’s why they don’t have one yet! They’ve been told by everyone around them that starting a business is easy; all you need to do is get some capital and start your business. They need to understand that when you’re an entrepreneur, there are no half-measures. You either go all in, or you don’t even bother.
For example, in 2008, Elon Musk had a very tough decision to make with SpaceX and Tesla. Either save one company or risk losing them both. He decided to go all in and now look at him – he’s the CEO of two separate companies that are changing the world for the better. But how does an average person like yourself learn to be as successful? Well, by going all in on your dreams! You have to take risks and take action if you want to achieve greatness in business or anything else!
3. The “I’ll Start A Business Because I’m Tired of Working for Someone Else” Wannapreneur
This one is in it for independence. They’ve been working their way up through the ranks of some hotshot corporate for years, and now that they have enough experience under their belt, they’re ready to take control of their destiny and quit being “job slaves” and serving their boss. What they don’t know is that in starting your own business you become a “slave” to new bosses, the customers. When you’re working for someone, you have to please that person by doing your job well. But when you own a business you are serving thousands of customers, and those customers may not always be happy with what you do or how much it costs them!
4. The “I’m Going to Get Rich Quick” Wannapreneur
This one is a hustler. They don’t have a lot of money or business experience, but they know how to make things happen and they’re willing to work hard if that means making more money than they would otherwise. They’re looking for quick cash, and there’s nothing wrong with that—but it takes time to build up your brand, create products people want, and establish yourself as a viable competitor in the marketplace.
5. The “I’m Just Looking for an opportunity” Wannapreneur
This one is all about the money. They want to make as much cash as possible, and they’re willing to do whatever it takes to get there—even if that means selling themselves short. These Wannapreneurs are quick-witted and ambitious, but their lack of loyalty makes them difficult to deal with in the long run. They’re the type of person who has a plan A, B, C, D… Z. They’re constantly on the lookout for new opportunities and are willing to make sacrifices to achieve their goals. While this isn’t always a good thing—sometimes it’s better to just go with your gut feeling! It’s what makes them great Entrepreneurs.
6. The “I’m Gonna Quit” Wannapreneur
This person who wants to succeed but doesn’t know what they’re doing or how to get started. They feel stuck, frustrated and unhappy because they can’t make money. This type of person often gives up too soon—they become discouraged when nothing seems to be working out! This person gets so caught up in making their idea perfect that they never actually take action. Like if they are working on a website, they ignore its market fit, and only focus on making the website 100% finished before they launch it. They work on it for months and months and then realise that no one cares about how pretty the background is or how many fonts are available on your menu page.
As an entrepreneur, you have to learn how to let go of what doesn’t matter so you can focus on what does. Instead of letting that fear hold you back from getting started on their journey, use it as motivation to learn more about Entrepreneurship—and then take action!
7. The “I have an MBA” Wannapreneur
This is usually an Iraqi man who has attended college in the US or the UAE and obtained a degree in business from a college whose name sounds like BMC or AUX. He has come back to Iraq and found a job at an international company or NGO with offices here. His friends are mostly other expats, but he lives with his family who still live in Baghdad or Erbil. Though his family is extremely rich, this person doesn’t have much money. Yet he has multiple mobile phones for different purposes (work, family, friends), drives an SUV, and always parks it in front of his house so everyone knows how important he is.
This wannapreneur is an expert at presentation skills and motivating people to quit their regular jobs and launch their own startups He always talks about the big opportunities for business in Iraq. Ironically, he has no intention of leaving his job anytime soon.
8. The “I’m Going to Start a Business When I get out of College” Wannapreneur
This person always talks about starting his business when he graduates. When he does complete college, he still doesn’t have a job and doesn’t think about starting a business. So, he looks for jobs on LinkedIn or NCCI, which takes up his time and prevents him from starting his own business until another year passes by. Then finally, after five years of this cycle repeating itself, he finds himself unemployed with no real employment prospects. This story is so common and it’s happening all the time. it’s not just because people don’t know how to start their businesses; it’s because they’re not in the right mindset. They don’t think that entrepreneurship is possible for them or that they can do it.
So, what’s the solution? For starters, don’t wait until you’re out of university to start your own business! If you have an idea for something that could be profitable, try it out while you’re still in college. If it doesn’t work out or doesn’t make enough money to support yourself financially during those last few years before graduation (which can be difficult), then go ahead and look for jobs on LinkedIn—it’s better than wasting all that time trying to start up your own business from scratch when you’re already out of college!
9. The “I’m an Influencer” wannapreneur
This wannapreneur, in particular, is female. She probably has more than 10,000 followers on Instagram, and she keeps trying new things to create her own business or brand (usually related to cosmetics) but to no avail since she hasn’t taken the time to learn about entrepreneurship yet. In fact, she doesn’t even know what it means to be an entrepreneur; she thinks it’s just the cool thing to do. She’s been trying to make money on social media for a while now, and she’s just realised that just because you have a lot of followers doesn’t mean they’re going to buy whatever it is you’re selling.
The “I’m an influencer” wannapreneur is certainly a lot like the “I’m a photographer” wannapreneur because they both have Instagram accounts with thousands of followers but have no idea how to monetize their following. For these wannapreneurs, it’s all about the numbers and not about putting any effort at all into their business. They think that just being there will make them successful—but it doesn’t work like this!
10. The “I have a Million-Dollar Idea” Wannapreneur
The one who has a million-dollar idea and thinks that no one else has thought of it before. The one who is convinced that someone will steal it from them, so they never do anything. That’s not an entrepreneurial mindset, but it’s all too common among people who think they have a million-dollar idea. Instead of doing anything about it, they sit on the idea and wait for someone else to do it first. This type of person is what we call an “idea person.” They’re the folks who sit around, daydreaming about their million-dollar business idea all day long—but they never actually do anything about it.
Well, let me tell you about another type of person out there: the “action person.” These are the folks who believe that if you have an idea, then you should do something with it right away. And if you don’t have an idea yet, then it’s time to start brainstorming. The action person is someone who knows that there’s no point in waiting around. They don’t let fear or doubt stand in his way—instead, they turn those feelings into fuel for action and determination.
11. The “I Need to Stay Put” Wannapreneur
This one wants nothing more than stability in their life. He is someone who has been working in a government job or a small business for years. They’ve saved up a little bit of money but don’t have the courage to get out there and start their own business. They’ve always dreamed about it, but they’re scared. This person needs to find a way to take that leap. They need to get out there and take some risks because they’ll never know if they don’t try!
12. The “I’ll start tomorrow” Wannapreneur
This Wannapreneur is ready to take that leap, but gets hung up on all the small details: “What should my logo look like?”, “How much should I charge for my product?” or “How can I get people to notice me?” They often feel overwhelmed because there are so many options available to them. With social media it’s easy to get distracted by all these new options. This person is afraid to take the next move. They don’t want to make a mistake, so they never actually do anything! They often feel paralysed by fear of failure and will often say things like “I can’t afford it right now”, but remember, every journey begins with just one step.
As you can see, wannapreneurs are everywhere. They’re your neighbor, your cousin’s best friend, and even you! The good news is that most of these people have big dreams and brilliant ideas—they just need a little help to get started. They could be working on something amazing right now, if only they knew what to do next. And if you’ve read this far, maybe you’re that person for them! You can be their guidance, support, and encouragement in turning their idea into reality. You can help them take those first steps towards success. The simplest way is probably just by listening—you might find out about a great new business idea during a conversation with someone who doesn’t even realise it yet!
So ask yourself: are you an entrepreneur or a wannapreneur? If you’re the latter, then it’s probably best to reconsider your plans, check what type of wannapreneur you are, and work on changing that. But if you’ve got what it takes to be a successful business owner, then go for it – Iraq is ripe with opportunity.
About the Author
This article was written by Abdulla Thaier, a freelance writer who helps startups, SMEs, NGOs, and companies with reporting, content creation, blogging, technical writing, ghost writing, and proposal development.