Are entrepreneurs born or made?
This is the most no brainer question I have ever been asked.
At the same time, it has been made the most complex and subjective question to answer, such that there is no wrong or correct answer.
We will not go on about that here.
I will go ahead and tell you that if you are born of a woman, you are an entrepreneur.
That’s it. Easy to Answer.
The inspiration to write this piece came when the Looksharp Global team and I drafted Rule 5 of our Salary Negotiation series on Instagram and Twitter.
I remembered the words of Kerry Hannon, who mentioned, in the foreword of the book 'Think like an entrepreneur, act like a CEO', that learning to view her primary employer as her client was one of the most liberating decisions she made in her career.
"I learned to view my primary employer as my 'client'"
Now think about that for a second, is your employer indeed your client?
How powerful a statement to make?
Suddenly, I realized that you can well be someone’s employee and still own your output and make the absolute best out of your career choices.
Let us backtrack and think through the definition of an entrepreneur and how everyone is an entrepreneur of their own company. Of what company even?
The most uncomplicated Google search will lead you to a definition as follows:
This is a fundamental and accurate enough definition, so we’ll take it.
There are 4 components of this definition that we will quickly go through.
A person | who sets up a business, | taking on financial risk | in the hope of profit.
You are a person.
I initially pointed out that everyone born of a woman is an entrepreneur. Anyone who identifies as human fits within the entrepreneur category very respectfully - to take out ambiguity.
Who sets up a business
If you decided to keep the life you were given at birth, you have set up your life as a business. You are the company, the CEO of this company, and the board chairman of this same company.
Your first employees are your human organs. They work to make sure the company is working and producing results. They have KPIs, such that when they fail to get the work down, you bring in analysts (doctors) to find the problem to make the team work well together again.
It is essential to treat your employees well and give them flexible leave dates and rest times to stay healthy and happy enough to go the long haul with you.
In every sense of both words, your parents or guardians are your first and major shareholders and investors.
Think about it.
Your parents or guardians, just like investors, have an undoubted say in the significant decisions of your life. I am a product of my high school because my dad always dreamt of his kids going to that school.
This dream was well before he got married; how that dream came to affect me, only God can speak on. However, I was very motivated to walk right into his hopes in my case. I understand this is very different for others.
Second, your parents expect a good return on their investment. As investors would, your parents expect good grades, presentable behaviour, and even at times, a career that they can proudly mention in their friend group. They can harass your very being to get you to conform, and almost rightfully so. You are a product of their capital and time investment.
Your parents are so powerful as investors to the extent that they determine your company's name.
Every other person in your life is a minority shareholder, as is on a typical stock market. Your siblings and first friends from primary school are the early adopters who invest in your IPO. They do not know what or who you will turn out to become in the future, but they take the risk to become your friend.
Later in life, as you clock desirable feats and make good progress, the investors rush to buy your stock. When you slip in life, you lose them as fast as they came
It is at this point that you release a public notice on your Whatsapp status condemning your haters and fake friends.
Taking on financial risks
Time fits the description of money more than money itself does.
Fiat currency is just a physical representation of what time is. You build value using time, and you quantify this value using currency.
You are given a huge starting capital when you are born - the time ahead of you.
Every decision you make concerning using that time is a risk to build value and determine what the company will turn out to be.
The time you have is also the marketing budget you are given to market your product, typically referred to as personal branding.
Your personal brand is simply the story of your value marketed through whatever self-expression you choose.
There is physical money involved as well. Your major shareholders decide where to make school fee payments to, what food suppliers to partner with, and what office space to invest in.
All those decisions are risks that will affect how the company turns out.
In the hope of profit
This portion of the entrepreneur definition is probably the most critical aspect of this piece.
Everyone is living for an end goal, to be successful.
Our profit is greatness. We want to 'make it'.
Suppose I trust anyone concerning the philosophy of purpose and life's desires - it would be the bible and Dale Carnegie.
The Bible because it is the single most foundational historical text of humanity, seeing as it was once the most central compilation of writings covering much of human history.
Essentially, the Bible was the first enquiry into understanding and formal education – the beginning of western and middle eastern civilization.
There is a verse in the Bible that says eternity has been set on the heart of men. Eternity is all things glorious and desirable.
You can validate this yourself. Do you wish all things glorious in your life?
I am yet to meet someone who dislikes prosperity and progress in life. Someone who is actively looking forward to their subsequent downfall. A lady who is hopelessly in love and in a toxic relationship probably fits this description, but hey, what can I say.
In his canonical text on influencing people, Dale Carnegie cites Sigmund Freud. The latter says that everything a person does springs from the sex urge and the desire to be great.
"Sigmund Freud said that everything you and I do springs from two motives: the sex urge and the desire to be great."
You are the judge of that.
Now that we have expanded on how you fit the definition of an entrepreneur, how does it fit into your career narrative?
Should you take your personal brand, which is your company's marketing department, more seriously?
You probably should. Simply, your entire self has been built and developed to solve a need in society. Like every typical company, you exist to solve a need. What is that need?
How are you applying this mindset to the typical company within which you work? Here, I am talking about your salaried job.
If you think this way, you will see your employer as someone who has hired you to benefit from your value because that is precisely who your employer is.
He or she is hiring your company to offer services for a fee. Your salary is not the authority that the company has over you; it is the confirmation that you have the value worth paying for.
To adequately expand on this part of the topic, I will work on a second piece that will break down what you should do in response to offering your services as a company.
Suppose you are the owner of a typical company. In that case, your work is probably more difficult because you are managing two companies - your [insert your name here] company, and your typical company. And we will hammer on this later as well.
Follow Looksharp Global on Instagram for more updates on our Salary Negotiation series and to be updated when the following piece for this article is out.
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