The making of an entrepreneur
The well known parable of a man, who goes travelling while entrusting his wealth to his servants, is helpful to understanding the making of an entrepreneurship. In the story, a man going on a journey distributes his property to servants. The wealth is not distributed equally, and we have no insight as to why one man received a greater portion than another man. Regardless of the amount, however, the instructions were the same: Take what you have and make more.
Entrepreneurship is not about stewarding of the wealth or talents you have, but using these to create more. There are three key things this story teaches us about the making of an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurs are made not born
The age-old debate about nature v nurture has not been concluded. But, when it comes to the vast majority of people, I believe entrepreneurship is a skill to be learnt and a journey path to be taken. The man distributed his property to servants, not sons. These servants had worked with the man, observing and learning while serving. Today’s entrepreneurs mostly want to be in charge and be the boss, but it is important to work for somebody else for a while. Budding entrepreneurs should identify the industry they are passionate about, and work within that industry. It may be boring, routine work but, like the servants, be faithful and loyal and committed in serving someone else first.
Entrepreneurs never start with nothing
The servants were given talents. We were not given any insight as to the inequality in the distribution of these talents. It may have depended on the servant’s position, or the man’s assessment of the servant… the story is silent on the reason. So we learn as entrepreneurs not to focus on what others have, but to recognise that, whatever we have, the quantity is not important. To call yourself a budding entrepreneur is to recognise that you have been given ‘a talent’ – something you can use as an answer to somebody else’s challenge. If you are empty-handed, then I am sorry to break the news, you are not an entrepreneur. Just because you go to conferences and listen to podcasts and tell other people what to do, does not make you an entrepreneur! Your entrepreneurial journey starts with the recognition, acceptance and confidence of the ‘talent’ you have. This could be an idea, contacts, money, an opportunity, a skill or expertise, courage, an ability. Whatever it is, your entrepreneurial journey starts with something tangible in your hand.
Entrepreneurs are creators
The word ‘entrepreneur’ is overused in today’s world, and not everyone who professes to be an entrepreneur is one. The online dictionary defines entrepreneurship as “a person who sets up a business or organisation, taking on financial risk in the hope of profit”. It is helpful, but I am not 100% sold on this definition. Digital products can be set up using bootstrapping methods – sometimes with minimal financial risk. So risk is not the defining word here. Social entrepreneurs are not in it for the profit, so it cannot be the defining word. I believe that the defining word in entrepreneurship is the word ‘create’. The confirmation of being an entrepreneur is when you make something out of what you have been given.
Talking about it, teaching about it, dreaming about it, etc. does not make you an entrepreneur. Faith without works is dead. In the same way, entrepreneurship without the proof is sheer nonsense.
If you want to be an entrepreneur, here is the journey: start out by working in somebody else’s business, recognise what you have, and then create a tangible result through work. Chances are you have the potential to be an entrepreneur if you decide to take these first steps.
A resource to help budding entrepreneurs, start-ups and established businesses.
You probably have a to-do list, but how well do you manage this? I used a variety of methods, writing lists, using notebooks, various online tools, but discovering Nozbe has brought a level of effectiveness to managing my to-do list. Nozbe has a free package, but you can also try out the pro packages with a 30-day free trial.
Keeping abreast of social media strategies, events and resources for business growth.
Know thyself – I get asked a lot about how to use social media for business. My first tip is to be clear about your message. Social media is not real. Most people use it to portray how they want to be perceived – being selective about the stories they share and post. Facebook Live and Snapchat inject an element of authenticity, hence it is useful to clarify your business offering and/or focus. Carefully craft your description and profile, and ensure these are consistent on all platforms. Then stick to your message whilst injecting your personality.
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