So, You’re an Entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurship is a trending topic. Looking around today, it seems like everyone is an entrepreneur. So here’s a fun game: pull out your phone, open your dating app and count the number of self-identified entrepreneurs (I’m kidding, don’t do that). All jokes aside, I’m sure many of you have become accustomed to having people describe themselves as entrepreneurs, but what does that really mean?
If you ask google’s oxford dictionary, it’ll tell you that an entrepreneur “is a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so.” That definition has a lot less sex appeal than people care to admit. For the most part, people enjoy playing it safe, they want consistency, and they’re unwilling to lose things that are valuable to them. Entrepreneur is a title that sounds grand but comes with a lot of baggage, but that's a good thing. It means that people are committed to investing in themselves and building something that is entirely their own.
In a perfect world, the majority of people would have some form of entrepreneurial pursuit. A unique “side hustle” that demonstrates talent or develops talents of others outside of the norms of a “traditional 9 to 5”. Some of you are reading that and thinking, “I’m not creative enough for that” or “I wouldn’t know where to start.” One can approach entrepreneurship in many ways, but two commons are: 1) Identifying a problem and trying to solve it and 2) Trying to improve upon something that already exists. These ideas come down to a fundamental truth; people will pay you very well to make their lives easier (case and point: Amazon). So start by generating some ideas, write them down, and write down all your thoughts surrounding them until you have a clear vision of what you want your end goal to look like.
Secondly, make a plan. It doesn’t have to be a formal business plan at this point (but you can find hundreds of examples online). Just do one thing a day to move you closer to making your business idea a reality. Research the industry that you’re interested in, find out what it takes to form a business, and find out if what you want to do is financially viable in the short term or long term future (please do this before quitting your day job). By doing these small things every day, you are actualizing your dream and getting closer to making your business a reality.
Third, move in silence, be very selective about who you share your ideas with until you have a clear vision for yourself. Outside influence can completely knock you off course. You don’t have to be sneaky but be cautious, and if you are trusting people with your ideas, and if you’re trying to see how viable your business will be, be prepared to endure ridicule and judgment. Don’t get me wrong, there will also be people you share your ideas with, and they will be completely supportive. However, be cautious even with them because they could be allowing their feelings about you to cloud their judgment.
This fourth point contradicts the third seemingly, but here it goes: surround yourself with people you can learn from and help you develop your ideas. You don’t have to give these individuals an all-access pass to your development. You don’t have to tell them that they’re helping you (and in some cases, it’s better not to); all you have to do is synthesize the information you gather and apply it to actualize your goals.
This last point is to offer some perspective. Some people want to be the biggest fish in the pond, and others want to be comfortable. So operate based on your timeline, scale your business as you see fit, and if you find that you’re no longer as invested as you originally were, cut your losses and try something new. Entrepreneurship can be incredibly rewarding when approached with intention and without expectations.