The Entrepreneurial Lens
I always imagined I’d be a writer… but that was the problem. I was imagining it, dreaming it, alluding to it. I never actually got started. The very mentality that kept me from writing my first piece is the same mindset that keeps many smart and capable people from following their dreams, working for themselves, and ultimately gaining the tools to become successful entrepreneurs.
Some people are just born with the Entrepreneurship Gene. In a society where FINDING a job and working 9-5 is the norm, these are the rare breed of individuals who choose to see through the lens of opportunity and create their own version of “normal”. From a young age, my Mom had a typical work schedule for a large corporation; clocking in at 9, leaving at 5, Monday to Friday. I never thought anything of it – she worked super hard and seemed to make what was considered an average income for the 90s. However, at the end of the day, she was tired. This was her normal… and when Monday rolled around, I knew that she would have to get up and do it all over again.
Sometimes, finding the opportunity isn’t the issue, rather the implementation and execution that poses huge risks and commitment. Investing our time and money into something unprecedented, and therefore risky, is no small mental feat. Ultimately, the business we choose is simply our vehicle, but WE are the drivers! We are the ones responsible for getting ourselves there. In the same respect, it doesn’t matter so much if the vehicle is a rusty old dump truck or a Maserati. If you don’t get in and learn to drive it, you’re not going to be getting anywhere.
When I was a kid, I always wanted my own money. I wasn’t afraid to work for it and I often squirreled cash away to the side while my siblings would spend every dollar as they earned it. We once had a neighbor who told us he would pay us 5 cents per pine cone we picked up out of his yard. I think back to this and can truly remember my business brain starting to organically form… “If I pick up 200 pine cones today and come back 2 more days in a row, that would put me at $30 for the week…” I was gonna be rich!
Working hard didn’t bother me, but I had to start thinking about what I was going to do once the pine cones ran out. Would I start venturing into other yards? Would I start my own pine cone removal business with the neighbor kids? I would, surely, have so much work that I would have to send them out to some of the yards since I could only be in one place at a time. Hmm… Maybe I could pay them 4 cents per pine cone and I would keep the rest because, I mean, I was the one who procured the work, right? Ah ha!
The pine cone business didn’t take off as I had hoped, you can imagine. 8 year old neighbor kids make horrible employees: they are unreliable and their work ethic is questionable at best. The point is, an opportunity was presented… and instead of just taking the job, I started to think about how to maximize on the potential here and then create more work from the experience I had gained from the first job. Certainly, the wisdom I gained from getting some on-the-job experience under my belt would boost my credibility within the industry.
That’s the ticket, right there. Never just take and finish a job. Always be looking for ways to maximize your earning potential from a job and create new opportunities for growth within that experience. This, in many ways, is what sets an Employee apart from an Employer. For today, just get started. Do something. It doesn’t have to be perfect… it just has to be a start. You’ll grow and learn from every new experience. I have learned that in times when starting something new scared me the most, I have therein reaped some of my life’s greatest rewards in business.
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