Echilon Communications (NY) The term “entrepreneur” is a word that some attach a certain honor to. Today successful entrepreneurs are seen as special human beings with different character than the general population. This distinction of a risk-taker mindset, tenacity, and intellect is something that many people gravitate towards. We ask the question “Do You Have It?” because it is a very important question.
It’s noticeable that most people right off the bat without much thought, agree that they have the mindset. They’ll say things like “I make six figures working at company XYZ which makes me a boss” (Boss being slang for entrepreneur) or “I have plans on starting my own company but I’m working a job, hopefully this venture just takes off on the side” By definition a person who works for someone else is an employee, not an entrepreneur. Especially if said person(s) are not truly attempting something entrepreneurial on the side of that job. What we mean by this is that:
1) An entrepreneurial mind is not judged alone by how much money you currently make.
Professional athletes are some of the highest paid employees in the world and often times they are given the title “entrepreneur” when they jump into a new business venture. But they are not entrepreneurs they are highly paid athletes.
Many of their business ventures never even generate a profit because they lack the knowledge to properly start one, and the ones that are successful have had many chances to succeed due to the uncommon surplus of start-up capital and media exposure generated from being a pro athlete.
2) Just because you engage in a creative aspect outside of your daily work it doesn’t mean you are an entrepreneur.
What makes an entrepreneur an entrepreneur is a combination of creativity, innovation, business savvy, and strategic goal orientation. Everyone has had short-term aspirations that they’ve never truly attempted to materialize into generating any real level of income, some people feel that these minor experiences enable them to wear the title “entrepreneur” To be an entrepreneur one must be very focused on what they are building, with intent and a plan to grow what they are building into a business that generates revenue and profit.
This area of entrepreneurship deserves its own section because it carries so many misconceptions. The biggest myth about a plan that most people fall into is that the plan needs to be flawlessly written with a start and a guaranteed finish culminated over years and years of study. The problem with this is that people fall prey to their own delusions when they start a business by writing out super intricate plans. This is why often times the best ideas happen through a process of either circumstance or serendipity.
[An Example of Circumstance: Today you may get out of bed and hurt your toe on a dresser, and because of that circumstance you design a plastic soft mold to attach on the end of every square edged object in your house, in doing this a light-bulb goes off in your head and you decide “I’m going to make and sell these everywhere I can”]
[ An Example of Serendipity: While designing these things you begin to notice that the material is fun to play with. Now instead of a dull boring design where your foot is protected from hitting the sharp edges of your drawer, you design a glow in the dark fun one that caters to kids, and those who walk around at night barefoot. ]
With either of these situations there is the intent to build the product/service and then sell the product/service. The best thing about finding something this way is that by default you are addressing a concern or issue that millions of people can probably relate to. Today with Social Media and Search Engines
It’s relatively easy to go online and type something to see if other people have experienced the same thing as you. More often than not, you will find that you are not alone, which will give you a boost to move forward.
Eventually businesses grow to a point where intricate planning is needed, but the first few plans that an entrepreneur has must maintain a level of simplicity that allows for the process of trial and error.
If your plan doesn’t allow for the process of immediate trial and error then it’s just too long-term. If you have to plan for an entire year before you even start your idea, then your plan is obsolete. Entrepreneurs starting out do not sit idly by and wait for an environment to be suitable to them, they act regardless of the environment.
This world is so fast-paced and technological today that the only plans that should take a long time to develop are revolutionary world-changing plans. Just look at how fast cell phones change. A device that people previously never held in their hands.
If you’re in a classifiable field doing something that other people can be or are doing then you must be able to differentiate, execute, and act quickly. Everything has a learning curve. A long-term plan that doesn’t give way to immediate trial and error only postpones the start of that learning curve.
It’s ok to plan less and make more mistakes, you can always regain capital and resources but if you plan too much and take no action you will lose time that you can’t ever get back with the added danger of not even seeing the potential error of your planning; fast enough to make a necessary change.
People will tell you all sorts of nonsense
1) You don’t have enough money
2) You don’t have enough experience
3) You’re dreaming it’s never going to happen
You can’t let these things discourage you from cultivating your entrepreneurial goals. These critics will even wait for your inevitable mistakes and then use that against you to say “see I was right I told you so”. Being an entrepreneur is similar to riding a bike, or learning how to drive. Most people will bruise themselves a few times, but they don’t stop completely because it’s all part of the process. You have to understand that you do have the mindset but it is developed through personal training where you consistently take risks, and step out of your comfort zone a bit. It doesn’t mean that if you find something that works in business, you should jump out and take gigantic risks that could present a threat to your creation - it just means that the start-up phase is one of the roughest, toughest points on the road to financial freedom, and entrepreneurship and you only get through it by going through a phase of consistent trial and error.
Entrepreneurs may start thinking small but they do not think small for long. This is not to say that every endeavor you have has to make multi-million dollar returns, but it is to say that you should at least at some point and time develop the intent, plan and corresponding action for this to occur even if it never happens. If you start a business that is very small with no intent to achieve growth that’s not true entrepreneurship. It’s self-employment but it is not true entrepreneurship to want to remain small forever. Real entrepreneurs move with the intent to achieve as much growth as possible. If you’re currently running a business by yourself as a self-employed individual and you are not even considering the possibility of working with a team, or hiring a team you’re not an entrepreneur. The magic really happens in entrepreneurship when you begin tapping into the human element.
There is only so much a lone individual can do by themselves if you do not have it in your plans to one day employ then you do not have it in your plans to be an entrepreneur.
Have you ever seen a multi-million dollar business operated by one person alone? We haven’t either.