If you want to become an entrepreneur, you have a lot of digital tools at your disposal to make your ideas happen and blossom. Internet is readily available to search for information and data. Social media platforms make it easier to contact and start a relationship with a mentor, supplier or investor. Because of Facebook, some say the old six degrees of separation has shrunk to four.
Entrepreneurship has become a word on everyone’s lips and is often portrayed as a fairy tale.
We want to set the record straight and paint a more down to earth picture.
What entrepreneurship is not
1. Entrepreneurship is not buying and selling
Buying and selling is not entrepreneurship, it is trade.
Buying products from suppliers and selling them to customers for profit doesn’t make you an entrepreneur, it makes you a merchant. Although trade is part of entrepreneurship, it is just one small part.
Entrepreneurship involves a lot of soft skills: grit, looking around corners, strong ability to lead and inspire, self-awareness, creativity, team management, reframing, negotiating skills, risk-taking, empathy.
An entrepreneur isn’t someone who owns a business. It’s someone who makes things happen.
2. Entrepreneurship is not a job or a career
In one of his blog articles, Seth Godin dwells on entrepreneurship not being a job you can apply to. At the end of the month you are not receiving a salary paid by your employer. You don’t work a 9-to-5 schedule. You are not entitled to 20 day of vacation a year.
Entrepreneurship is a chance to trade a solution to someone who has a problem that needs solving. Solve more problems, solve bigger problems, solve problems more widely and you’re an entrepreneur. It’s tempting to industrialize this work, to make it something with rules and bosses and processes. But that’s not the heart of it. The work is to solve problems in a way that you’re proud of.
3. Entrepreneurship is not sipping cocktails on a beach
You may see glamorous pictures on your Instagram feed of entrepreneurs sipping cocktails on exotic beaches, but don’t be fooled – it’s probably just a break of thirty minutes to an hour.
Even if they travel to luxurious places, the entrepreneur is working most of the times. Although it may seem this way, the entrepreneurial life is far from comfortable or glamorous.
It’s physically and mentally demanding.
It challenges your personal and family life.
You are constantly pushing yourself to learn and develop new skills and abilities.
Every work day, you find yourself performing a balancing act.
It’s stressful when you are going against a deadline.
It’s pressure when you have to outperform your competitors.
4. Entrepreneurship is not about the money
If you begin your entrepreneurship journey with money as a purpose, you are not an entrepreneur and you are completely wrong.
Mark Krieger and Kevin Systrom created Instagram because they believed people can tell stories through photographs.
Jan Koum started WhatsApp after he got annoyed that he was missing calls when he went to the gym.
Spotify is still not making a profit but it’s a successful app because it changed how people listened to music.
These entrepreneurs did not set out to make money. They found a solution to a problem.
If you are looking to make money you should work towards becoming a lawyer or other high paid professional.
Because as an entrepreneur, money is not a guaranteed outcome.
From my very first day as an entrepreneur, I’ve felt the only mission worth pursuing in business is to make people’s lives better.