In 2011, for the first time, I finally understood entrepreneurship.
Previous to that, I had started a graphic and web design company as well as a home studio. But back then, I had no idea what it meant to build a business.
But like some things in life once you see it you can’t un-see it.
As I engaged in everything from articles and books to podcasts and audio programs, I saw it for the first time.
Here are a few things I began to see:
Business is about having a long-term mindset. It’s about applying yourself daily to achieve a worthwhile ideal. It’s about consistency. It’s about your willingness to sacrifice and grow as an individual.
I see people pushing back on these ideas every single day. It’s not that these thoughts represent truth. But they do represent the struggle, dedication and persistence of those who’ve actually done it.
As my friend says:
You don’t know the weight of it unless you go through the momentum of it. — Mabel Wong, Founder of Dermaly Inc.
Granted, every journey is different. But business is rarely easy. It takes time and effort to build. It requires your blood, sweat and tears.
Unless you’ve boiled it all down to a formula that you can apply to every industry, challenges are inevitable. You will encounter obstacles on your path.
As you go through the momentum of it, you will begin to view the world through a new lens.
Building a Business is Counter-Culture
These days, many people’s eyes are opening to the potential rewards of building a business. Financial freedom. The ability to be your own boss or make your own schedule. The ability to create more time for the people and activities you truly love and enjoy. And so on.
But just because more eyes are opening to it doesn’t mean more people are doing it. Though, I do see people trying all the time.
Entrepreneurship is not something to try. It’s a way of being. Unless it’s a way of being, you will be swallowed up by the momentum of it.
And, once people begin going through the momentum of it, many balk and even give up. I understand why. The challenges you encounter on the path will test you. You may even find yourself questioning everything you thought you once knew.
This is where the idea that entrepreneurs are problem-solvers comes from. We need to be able to think outside the box and come up with solutions to problems Google can’t solve for us.
There’s nothing counter-culture about starting a project or engaging in creativity. But there is something counter-culture about dedicating your life to a worthy ideal and standing for a possibility.
The Difference Between an Entrepreneurial Mindset & an Employee Mindset
It’s not uncommon for entrepreneurs to start butting heads with people they once got along with. This is because they begin seeing things from a different perspective.
It’s not a matter of right or wrong, as some people interpret it. In many ways, it’s a matter of survival.
If an entrepreneur continues to think and act as they’ve always thought and acted (from the time they were an employee or self-employed), they’ll probably be wiped out in a hurry.
To an entrepreneur, their business is a matter of life or death. It’s not a game.
An employee has a salary, and in some cases, benefits. An entrepreneur does not. An employee has vacation time. If an entrepreneur takes a vacation, they may have to put their business on hold. An employee only needs to take responsibility for the work they do. An entrepreneur often needs to take responsibility for the entire business and ends up wearing many hats. An employee always has a certain amount of work to do. An entrepreneur may not have paying work unless they hit the pavement and leverage every connection they have.
Ultimately, there are pros and cons on both sides. And, there are no rules saying that you can’t be a wealthy employee or a poor entrepreneur. It’s all in how you approach it.
But I would argue that a wealthy employee applied an entrepreneurial mindset to their career while a poor entrepreneur applied an employee mindset to their career. Or, at least, that’s how it would play out over the long haul.
But if an entrepreneur wants to survive, they need to be willing to grow. And, there’s no succumbing to peer pressure. If everyone is going one way, they must run the other way!
I have not shared truth with you. I’ve shared a perspective with you.
I’m sure there are people that would disagree with what I’ve said on both sides — employees and entrepreneurs.
My contention is that entrepreneurship requires a different commitment, different way of thinking, and a different lifestyle. It doesn’t matter where you apply an entrepreneurial mindset to — your hobby, your job, your business or otherwise. You can bring an entrepreneurial mindset to any area of life.
The question is, are you doing the work?