February 11, 2016
For whatever reason, what it means to be an entrepreneur is always a popular topic among people independently chasing their dreams and goals. I think that this question is always asked, at least in part, because those it applies to feel such a connection to the word.
“Entrepreneur” can be interpreted in myriad ways, and every person that embraces the title in some way or another upholds it like a badge of honor. What do you do? “I’m an entrepreneur,” you’ll hear with a smile. It’s strange, really, how much pride is placed in a single word that not twenty years ago was always accompanied by a tone of disapproval.
Historically, an entrepreneur has been known as someone unable to settle into something stable, who’s always trying out some new scheme. I think this, in some regard, is what gives those who claim the label such a strong identity. They never settle.
What does it actually mean to be an entrepreneur? Well, it’s a very flexible term, which, not ironically, is also a large part of being an entrepreneur – flexible. Typically, an entrepreneur or group of them will start with an idea or a makeshift business, and head in one general direction. Despite the level of expertise, this person or group will inevitably have to shift their thinking, usually based on market research. They have to be flexible in their strategy.
“Flexible” is also what an entrepreneur would use to describe her daily schedule. Maybe they start working at 6am one day and 10am the next, schedule meetings whenever they can, work in a different location everyday, or sometimes work obscenely late. This isn’t a lack of structure. It’s a sense of elasticity to fit everything in, including much needed rest.
Some might say that to be an entrepreneur means to be passionate, or to be skilled and knowledgeable in many and varied areas. I think these are true. Though, they’re not what differentiates “entrepreneur” enough to define the term. Plenty of employees and even full-time students, who never become entrepreneurs, carry these characteristics.
I think that what it really means to be an entrepreneur is this. It means to create an idea of your own, and to see that idea through until it becomes something that can stand on its own. To be an entrepreneur means to be cognizant of a common need or desire, and to have the fortitude to fill that hole. Being an entrepreneur means following a dream or passion or goal to its completion, and being the leader who got it there.
A lot of pride is placed in the title “Entrepreneur,” and for good reason, too. It’s something very personal for those who use the label. An entrepreneur is someone who gladly accepts risk and ambiguity. Someone who doesn’t fit in the typical boxes, who’s always looking to grow. Someone who’s (usually) capable of taking a novel idea and turning it into a profitable venture.
As an entrepreneur myself, the word means that I have the flexibility to create. I’m not relegated by a time card, or by company rulebooks. I’m able to see needs in business, people, and the world, and I have the opportunity to resolve as many of those needs as I choose in the best ways I see fit.
The question “What does it mean to be an entrepreneur” is a popular one. I believe it’s such a popular question because everyone who claims the title has a different answer that is personal and unique to them. At the root, being an entrepreneur means recognizing an opportunity to improve the world. It means seizing the chance to be the most fulfilled a person can be. It’s something that allows you limitless possibilities. It’s something in which to take pride.
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