“Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled.” ~Howard Stevenson~
This is a note for ‘reluctant’ Entrepreneurs!
To become a successful Entrepreneur, it is important to first establish what it means to be one. Most people erroneously believe that Entrepreneurship is limited to simply creating great and marketable inventions or running profitable businesses ventures.
You can be an employee with a regular 9-5 job and still be an ‘entrepreneur’. You can be in professional services and be an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship is LESS about a one-off or meteoric success but more about your attitude and mindset.
It is about how you monetize your skills and talents, your ability to see what isn’t visible to other people, a knack for creating comparative advantages and an ability to lead the curve.
Most significantly, entrepreneurship is reflected in your approach to problem-solving and risk-taking. (Note that entrepreneurs do not necessarily take bigger risks than others, rather, they have a deeper understanding of the ‘risk-reward’ relationship and manage it effectively with better creative and monetary payoffs and/or outcomes).
Entrepreneurship is a consistent and persistent process that is more about the journey and the commitment to creating better solutions without the constraints of resources.
As Howard Stevenson puts it: ” Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled.”
‘Reluctant’ Entrepreneurship’ is a growing trend, especially in this period of economic recession. It is also a more common feature among ‘womEntrepreneurs’, this is because women are affected by so many other factors which make their career growth path in the labour force non linear. Some examples of such factors are: Maternity leave, unexpected job loss and downsizing, taking time off to care for elderly parents (sandwich generation), growing desire towards socially responsible businesses etc.
So ladies, if you are not quite certain whether you are a reluctant entrepreneur, here are some pointers to give you better clarity:
1. You always seem to have great business ideas and concepts but lack the resources, discipline and focus to follow through on them and if you do follow through you make unrealistic financial projections.
2. You are thoroughly dissatisfied with your current job but you are caught in a familiar dilemma: to settle for a steady stream of income/security or dive into uncertain waters, pursuing a creative and fulfilling path with zero guarantee of success, monetary or otherwise!
3. You are skilled at providing valuable solutions and solving problems for friends, family and colleagues but you are still very uncomfortable with the concept of monetizing your skills.
4. You are certifiably unemployable; constantly attending events and networking, always seeking and open to new opportunities, diligently researching the viability of different products and services. However, you haven’t quite found real sustainable success with the ‘one’.
5. The only reason that you’re even considering entrepreneurship is due to a downturn in the economy and the fact that your chances of re-entering the labour market is almost non existent. You hope to be in business temporarily until you find work again.
6. You grew up in an environment where success was defined as being a professional-Doctor, lawyer, engineer, architect, accountant etc and so you succumbed to family and societal pressure, went through decades of schooling, earned multiple degree(s), got the 9-5 gig but always felt unfulfilled because you failed to act on those seemingly ‘unpractical ideas’ you’ve nurtured and refined over the years…..
If you identified with at least 2 of these points listed above, you’re most likely a reluctant entrepreneur!
So now that we’ve established that, lets share some tips and strategies on how to take some simple, practical yet effective steps and help you get off the fence, ‘own’ your entrepreneurial calling, ignite those dormant ‘passion’ business genes to dissolve your sense of reluctance and finally get you to be on the path of sustainable success.
Here are some simple steps to address the 6 points above:
1. Pick one of your business ideas, do your market research, test it, develop it, focus on it and run with it!
2. Work hard at your day job and work harder on your passion and/or idea. Continue doing both until the income from the latter surpasses the former or at least until your business becomes sustainable. Understand and use the different dimensions of time. Learn to leverage your resources (time, money, energy and networks).
3. Engage the services of a ‘life and business coach’ and turn your skills and passion into a money maker! (Tip: your local chamber or small business resource centre most likely offers this service for free). Whenever possible, learn to also pay for critical services or solutions that will take you to the next level. Begin to view money as a medium used to exchange values.
4. Network meaningfully with purpose and keep engaging/building up your prospect list while you decide on the product or service offering for your business. Position yourself as a resource person; offer value and proffer solutions to challenges for free and then learn how to monetize your skills by understanding your true worth.
5. Focus less on ‘why’ you are an entrepreneur and more on the ‘how’ to be a successful one. A focus on ‘HOW’ will lead to solutions, resources and collaboration/joint ventures. Take disciplined, consistent and focused ACTIONS. Have an accountability system and measure your results.
6. Surround yourself with successful entrepreneurs. If you can, find a mentor. Remember that they may cut across many different fields-business, arts, e-commerce, social media, education, medicine, education, not-for-profit, sports, religion etc You reflect the attitude and actions of those around you. Model excellent behaviour in others. Understand the different business models in your industry and choose the right one to build your business upon. Think of what you want your legacy to be and let that be your yardstick to stay focused and committed.
Entrepreneurship requires sustained passion and commitment, especially during tough periods of growth in your business. You cannot have the success you desire if you are ‘reluctant’ about your pursuit. You cannot be lukewarm in your approach by sitting on the fence, you need to get off the toxic fence and choose one side of the entrepreneurial divide; to be or not to be! You have to BE a success to be a success. In the words of the Nike slogan: Just do it! And do it with everything you have, for as long as it takes. No half-measures allowed! Remember that whatever you focus on, EXPANDS! So focus! focus! focus! Welcome to success.
Remember, you are not ordinary, you are divinely unique.
You are WOW (Wonderful One-of-a-kind Woman)!
The preceding is a guest post from Juliet Ume, MBA –Wealth Management Consultant & Life-Coach at Whole Woman Network. Juliet is an avid Life Connoisseur and a passionate advocate of WomEntrepreneurship, Leadership, Investment & Financial Literacy for women. Her mission is simply to engage women, regardless of their levels of income, to return to ‘wholeness’ and live Healthier, Sexier, Wealthier Lives using Faith-Based, Scientific and Common-Sense principles! Follow her on Twitter: @wholewomaninc, @julietumeinc
- Alana Muller: Optimism Should Be at the Top of an Entrepreneur’s Checklist (huffingtonpost.com)
- 5 Qualities Of A Great Entrepreneur (tech.li)
- The Myth of the Celebrity Entrepreneur (chrisyeh.blogspot.com)
- Are Entrepreneurs Born or Made? The Case for Entrepreneurship Studies (grasshopper.com)
- 9 Common Myths About Entrepreneurs (grasshopper.com)
- The Stupidly Easy Way to Figure Out if Entrepreneurship Is For You (millennialambitions.com)
- A Book in 5 Minutes: The Entrepreneur Mind: 100 Essential Beliefs, Characteristics, and Habits of Elite Entrepreneurs (tech.co)
- The History of Entrepreneurship in Nigeria (omanjaf.wordpress.com)