The internet is flooded with stories of people who quit their 9 to 5 to follow their dreams. You remember Tiffany who left her day job as a lawyer to explore the world and become a travel planner or Myles, the director of sales who gave guitar lessons on the side until he made enough money to do that full-time. There isn’t a shortage of guides that show you the steps to take towards becoming your own boss. Entrepreneurship is in vogue these days. The influence is so ubiquitous that you might start to feel like you’re doing something wrong if that’s not your goal.
When most people think about it though, they picture the end result before they even consider the journey. They imagine a CEO laying on a beach somewhere in the Caribbean and making money while she sleeps, but not the long nights she spent couch surfing and testing prototypes. No one can deny the perks of owning a business – unlimited income potential, freedom to travel and decide how to spend your days etc. The strongest appeal is the control it gives someone over their own time, but that all comes with a fair share of sacrifices and hard work.
One thing is clear: entrepreneurship is not for everyone. The constant hustle and bustle is a challenge only few are willing to take on. Maybe you prefer having more structure in your days or you’re more of an enabler. That’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to work for someone – though mainstream media might make you feel differently.Self-awareness is key to figuring out what works for you. And this is why this article will also speak to my multipotentialites with regular jobs and who don’t necessarily want to start their own company.
Deep down, I believe everyone is an entrepreneur. It doesn’t necessarily take running a business to manifest that. As Doug McCormack once said, “No matter what your profession, you are a business owner. Your business sells labor and manages assets to support the spending needs of your family. Labor is likely your largest asset and must be actively managed just like your finances.” If we think of ourselves as startups, we are all in the business of developing our abilities. And in the words of Bertie Forbes, “If you don’t drive your business, you will be driven out of business.”
Channeling your entrepreneurial spirit
More than anything, entrepreneurship is a growth mindset, a proactive attitude that anticipates change before it happens and always looks for ways to innovate. As FlexJobs CEO Sara Sutton Fell puts it, “an entrepreneurial spirit is a way of approaching situations where you feel empowered, motivated, and capable of taking things into your own hands.”
Most importantly, having an entrepreneurial spirit can help one realize their full potential. It’s a driving force that pushes you to think like an owner and continuously learn.
How do you develop that mindset?
Use your expertise to streamline a process or creatively solve problems
Few companies give you the opportunity to take initiative as often as startups do. At my old job, one of the interns stood out by creating a database that kept all our records in one place. It was much needed, but no one had the bandwidth to do. He used his knowledge of Excel and coding to build the tool. It was all within his area of expertise. By championing the idea, he demonstrated leadership that eventually got him promoted.
If you’re sitting at work frustrated with the speed of the internet, maybe you can work with the IT guy to find a solution? Or if your boss always makes you manually look for contacts at a specific company, you can probably create a spreadsheet that stores all their info in one place? Whenever you take the initiative to fix a problem at work, you are acting as an intrapreneur and making yourself more indispensable to the company.
Look for opportunities to train or manage a team
Being in a leadership position can help you flex your entrepreneurial muscles. If your role doesn’t allow you to do so, volunteer to train the new hires or supervise their day to day. You might take some load off your boss’ shoulders and stand out as an employee. Most importantly, you will learn how to deal with (or prevent) crises, roll with the punches, improvise solutions and develop your interpersonal skills. You will feel overwhelmed at times and ask yourself why you signed up for it in the first place, but the lessons will be invaluable in helping you better work with people.
Tap Into Your Creativity
You probably never thought you could make art on a canva until you went to that paint & sip event or write a poem until you attended that workshop. Within all of us exists the infinite potential to create. It’s just a matter of experimenting with things until some of them stick. And once they do, focus on honing what you already know. When was the last time you did something for the first time? Take a chance on yourself!
Did you notice that more people are coming to you for fashion advice? Maybe it’s time offer styling services or start a YouTube channel! Do you know more about something than the average person? Think about how you can share that information with others and maybe monetize it! It could be as simple as a blog or an event series. An entrepreneurially minded person is essentially always looking to start something. They’re always observing, noticing problems, questioning what already is and figuring out how to make it better.