What picture gets conjured up in your mind when you hear that word ….
It’s one tricky word (apart from being challenging to spell), as it can mean so many different things to different people. I know some folks who have a business & they love the word as it resonates with it. But for others it just doesn’t connect & seems like a label that they don’t quite fit.
In fact, I’ve been running my own business for around 7 years now & I’ve only recently embraced the word myself!
It’s been a hot topic of conversation with some of my coaching clients & also fellow business-owners who I ‘hang around’ with in various online groups.
So I thought today, we’d explore 5 key things that I hear people say around the topic & really see if you are an ‘entrepreneur’?
1) You have to be a certain ’type’ of person:
‘I’m no Branson or Dragon’, is the one response I recently got. The good thing is that you DON’T have to be like them or any other well known ‘entrepreneurs’ like Michelle Mone or Lord Sugar.
You can be YOU & still be an ‘entrepreneur’. Even if you look at different entrepreneurs, you’ll see that some of them are like chalk & cheese compared to each other. For example, Sir Richard Branson has his finger in a lot of different pies with all his different companies, while on the other hand you have someone like Ingvar Kamprad who founded IKEA & focused on one thing.
Whether they’re famous to the world or the business owner who runs that amazing wee bakery down the road from you, there’s a lot you can learn by modelling the ‘right’ entrepreneur – who’s most like you in terms of personality & talents.
It’s super important to understand where your talents & strengths are, so you can then focus upon them & follow the entrepreneurial path that will be the most fun, rewarding & in flow for you! (You can find this out easily by understanding which of the 8 Talent Dynamics profiles you’re most aligned with here).
So remember don’t think you got to act like one of those ‘entrepreneur’ off the TV or who get written about in the media all the time.
2) ‘You have to be BORN with it!’
I was never one of those lads who had a lemonade stand on the street corner, or was always looking for ways that I could wheel & deal to make some extra pocket money. In fact, I was the complete opposite.
As soon as I got my national insurance card through the post, I got my first ‘proper’ job collecting trollies & being a checkout operator for Safeway (now Morrisons). I then went on a very traditional & ‘corporate’ path to then work for Sainsbury’s, IKEA while studying at University, before then getting my full-time roles at Marks & Spencer & then Lloyds TSB after graduating.
I totally loved being part of those BIG companies & really never had any desire to have my own business. It was all about climbing that corporate ladder for me back in the days as quickly as possible!
But then one day, after I went on a training course (Neuro Lingusitic Programming (NLP)), I just had such a strong feeling that I wanted to go out there & share this amazing coaching toolkit with everyone! There was no big NLP company out there that I could apply for a job with & do it that way. So the best way was for me to start my own business & do it for myself! When I look back at my time though in the corporate world, I can see so many things that I would love doing that would ignite that ‘entrepreneurial’ spirit in my everyday roles.
I share this with you, as I know so many people who think you either have corporate or entrepreneurial blood running through you. You can have both – honestly! In fact, the majority of people I coach now, are those who’ve had a more traditional corporate career and are now embarking upon their own exciting journey of starting or growing their own business.
So if you’ve never thought you were a real ‘entrepreneur’ because you’re either still getting paid by someone else or spent a lot of time in the ‘corporate’ world – then think again!
3) ‘I don’t have a new idea or product‘
Another common ‘I’m not an entrepreneur because ….’ that I hear, is around people thinking that they need to have a brand new product or idea. That’s simply not the case!
Quite often the best businesses, are those who find a way to improve something that already exists to help those customers that you want to serve. In fact, there’s only 1 out of the 8 Talent Dynamics profiles who would naturally find it easy to create brand new things … the other 7 use their entrepreneurial talents in different ways.
In the world that we live in today, businesses don’t also need to be ‘traditional’ anymore either, which is also a trait that I hear people saying that ‘proper’ entrepreneurs need to have. A large proportion of my business coaching clients, run their business from their laptop, internet & phone/Skype. They often take their knowledge, experience & expertise and package it up into products or services that is UNIQUE to them & attracts the people they want to work with. (They also never wear a traditional ‘business’ suit anymore either – in fact I only wear ties these days at a wedding or funeral!)
So if the ‘entrepreneur’ word hasn’t connected with you before because you don’t have the same type of working environment; goals or dreams as those ‘traditional’ entrepreneurs … just remember you’re still an entrepreneur ….. just one who makes different choices!
“Entrepreneurs replace ‘I wish’
with ‘I will’.”
4) ‘But I’m not in it just for the money!’
I love it when a coaching clients said, ‘I’m not really an entrepreneur because it’s not all about the money for me!’.
I think that shows like Dragon’s Den can paint ‘entrepreneurs’ in a negative light & don’t truly reflect what drives the majority of business owners. It’s not all about profit margins; P&L; turnover; top line & projections for everyone.
When I work with my coaching clients, I use a NLP tool to quickly bring to the surface what their ‘values’ are. This allows us both to see what’s going to light them up & keep them motivated, through the ups & downs.
Yes, ‘money’ will often feature in their list of values at some point but I’ve found very few people who have it as their number 1 value. Other things that can be important to them including having the freedom; helping people; making a difference & responsibility, to name just a few.
So even if you don’t feel like you’re driven by money, that’s ok … you can still be an ‘entrepreneur’!
(Beware though, if on the other hand if you’re not focused about the money you’re business can bring about or even think that ‘money’ is a bad word when it comes to your business – then you may find that you either end up with a very expensive hobby or charity.)
5) Who does the ‘buck stop with’?
The penny dropped for me around believing that I was really an ‘entrepreneur’ when someone asked me – ‘Who does the buck stop with for you?’.
The answer is ‘ME’. So if you can answer that question in the same way, then I present you with your ‘entrepreneur’ badge too.
For me, there’s no one that checks up on whether I’ve done all the things that I’ve written on my ‘exciting things to achieve & experience list’ each day; no one who authorises my holiday request form and no one who will still pay me a wage at the end of the month if I’ve slacked off & not achieved the goals that I set out for.
I’m not saying that being an ‘’entrepreneur’ is all fun & games … it’s certainly not.
There are times that you’ll have many sleepless nights; work more hours in a row than you can imagine; have to say ’no’ to things because you’ve got so much that you want to do; not call in sick because if you do then it may all grind to a halt and rarely fully switch off when on holiday.
But the big difference to me is that ‘work’ as an entrepreneur very rarely feels like ‘work’. In fact it can sometimes feels a bit too good to be true, that we can make decisions & design things in the way that we can do more of the things that we love doing & get rewarded for the value that we add.
So what’s your thoughts now – ‘Are you an entrepreneur’?
Even though I’ve used the ‘E’ word a hundred times or so far, the word itself isn’t really important. You can choose to call yourself whatever you want. They key is more about the identify you have as either a current business owner or aspiring business owner.
Please do share what word you use to describe what you do & which of the 5 keys above really connoted with you, in the comments below.
Enjoy the journey & continue to make Rapid Transformations, so you get more, better or different from the ‘work’ you choose to do.