Be an Entrepreneur By Michelle L. Casto, M.Ed.
The Department of Labor predicts that the #1 employer in 2010 will be “self.” A recent Internet poll of 25-44 year olds revealed that 90% of them hoped to own their own business. A survey conducted by Ernst & Young found that 75% of influential Americans believe that entrepreneurship will be the defining trend of the 21st century. Some of the factors that have attributed to the rise of the modern day entrepreneurial spirit are access to technology, a global economy, and corporate stagnation. Many workers have experienced feelings of discontent, which are likely due to the upsizing, downsizing, and right-sizing of corporations. But whatever the reason, modern workers want to have more control over the work they do. And they want work that is meaningful and important to them. Now is a great time to become your own boss. In fact, the number of Americans who are running their own businesses will continue to grow as we move further into the millenium. As workers’ values are changing and people want more time to do the things they love with those they love, having employment that allows for a greater balance in their lives is critical to today’s worker. In fact, it is downright un-American not to believe in the principles of entrepreneurship. We started out working on the family farm or in the family-owned grocery store (or other small business), but as our country became more industrialized, families were pulled apart. We had to go where the work was. We left our homes and hometowns and ventured into the big cities. Big companies, industries, and corporations popped up all over the country, and we became reliant on them to take care of us. Today, with the advent of the computer, we don’t even have to leave home to conduct business. It frees us up to concentrate on the “business of life” again. And we are also returning to the concept of performing more work for the community. Back in the early 20th century, we had a strong sense of self-reliance and family ties. Matthew Fox talks about this in his book The Reinvention of Work: “Life and livelihood ought not be separated but to flow from the same source, which is the spirit…spirit means life, and both life and livelihood are about living in depth, living with meaning, purpose, joy, and a sense of contributing to the greater community.” The new world of work encourages the entrepreneurial mindset, in that we need to learn to use our imagination to dream up new ideas, challenge assumptions and belief systems to find a better way, and break through worn-out thinking to create new and innovative products and services. This way of thinking is helpful whether you are working for yourself or someone else. An entrepreneur can be defined as anyone who undertakes a commercial risk for profit, and/or tackles new challenges. They are the change agents of society because they see a problem and want to find a way to solve it. They believe in being self-reliant and taking action to better their communities. Robert Schwartz’s definition: “An entrepreneur is essentially a visualizer and actualizer. He can visualize something and when he visualizes it, he sees exactly how to make it happen.” Successful entrepreneurs realize that if it is to become a reality, they are the ones to make it happen. An entrepreneur is someone who is able to continually reinvent himself, and to rethink an entire project (and possibly start all over) if he finds that something is not right. Thus, someone who has vision, flexibility, and a risk-taking nature fares very well in self-employment ventures. Of course, like anything else, there are pros and cons to becoming an entrepreneur. One pro is that you are the boss. The con is that you still have other co-workers, customers, and vendors to rely on to get the job done. People who are self-employed often only have illusions of control. For instance, you may think you have everything under control and then something happens that puts everything out of your control. The difference is that being the boss means that it all comes down to you. You are fully responsible for your success. For many people this level of personal responsibility is part of the challenge and enjoyment. The truth is that any successful entrepreneur rolls with the punches and moves with the winds of change. Take this test to find out if you have what it takes to be an entrepeneur.
Are You the Entrepreneurial Type? Check if applicable to you. _____Responsible _____Hard Worker _____Risk Taker _____Creative _____Flexible _____Follows through with ideas _____Personable _____Optimistic _____Perceptive _____Self-confident _____Determined _____High degree of energy _____Innovative _____Independent _____Ability to anticipate needs _____Effective communicator _____Responsive to criticism _____Able to take the lead _____Learn from mistakes _____Self-directed
Would you say that you are always, sometimes, or never like these statements: 1. I am goal and action-oriented. 2. I am a self-starter. 3. I am self-confident. 4. I am a persistent person. 5. I like taking risks. 6. I am flexible and adaptable when necessary. 7. I am a problem-solver. 8. I am an innovative thinker. 9. I can sell myself and/or my product to others. 10. I accept responsibility for my actions. 11. I enjoy networking. 12. I can function in an environment of uncertainty. 13. I like being in charge. 14. I am willing to devote whatever time and energy it takes to be successful. 15. I am able to see what needs to be done and then do it.
Ø Get Smart! If you checked off and answered always to ten or more questions, you are probably the entrepreneurial type. If you answered sometimes or never to ten or more, you may be better off working for an organization.
Michelle L. Casto is a whole life coach, speaker, and author of Get Smart! About Modern Romantic Relationships, Get Smart! About Modern Career Development, and Get Smart! About Modern Stress Management. Her coaching practice is Brightlight Coaching, she helps people come up with bright ideas for their life and empowers them to freely shine their bright light to the world. Contact her for a free 30 minute coaching session: www.getsmartseries.com and www.brightlightcoach.com
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