When you conure up the image of an entrepreneur in your mind, who do you see? Odds are you see a person who has gone on her own and who, through sweat, tears and sheer determination to succeed, builds a business. What about the guy who still goes to his office every morning at 8am and leaves at 5pm? Do you imagine him when you think about entrepreneurs? Probably not.
I think it is fair to say that when we think about entrepreneurs, we tend to think about the brave souls who leave the security of employment and head out into the unknown. The difficulty with this conceptualisation of an entrepreneur is that many people who go out and start their own businesses wind up in a different class of employment – self-employment. As we have discussed on this site previously, there is a difference between being self-employed and being a business owner (which is what we really think about when we imagine entrepreneurs). Pamela Slim has another approach which is more inclusive and probably better reflects what it is to be an entrepreneur:
But another definition could be to take full ownership and responsibility for your work experience, no matter how you are getting your paycheck.
This philosophy can be extremely helpful for those of you who are in a place where you need to work for another year or two or five to either more fully develop your business plan or to bank up enough cash to go out on your own.
The bottom line is that being an entrepreneur has more to do with your mindset than it does about what you are doing to bring home the bacon. Sit back for a moment and consider how you perceive entrepreneurs and how your see yourself. A small shift in your perceptions could make a big difference. If you happen to be an entrepreneur who is still employed then make an extra effort to learn as much as you can. In a way you have an advantage over your fellow entrepreneurs who haven’t been employed in the environment you are in – you have a wealth of knowledge and work experience to learn from and to help shape your business when you walk out that door for the last time.