I always find it interesting how we subconsciously paint a picture of what a word means to us.
Mentally we get out our colored pencils and paints and we magically create a description of a word in the back of our minds.
Along with that painting comes emotion—and right behind that emotion comes a belief.
Most of these beliefs are not even ours. From birth to age seven we are just downloading information from our surroundings and environment. Then we slowly start to create our own beliefs based on our personal experiences.
So I have to ask you:
What comes to mind when you think of the word Entrepreneur?
Answer this in slow motion for me.
First, what picture comes to mind? Is it a picture of someone you know? The cover of a magazine? A man on Wall Street?
Second, what feeling shows up? Feelings can be felt throughout the body. If fear shows up, it’s usually in our chest—we can feel our chest tightening up as if we hold our breath.
Is it sadness? That word may remind us of something in the past and often shows up in the gut.
Is it anger? Anger and tension are normally formulated in the head and neck area.
I ask this question because my interpretation of what an entrepreneur was very different then it is today. When I would hear the word, I used to picture a man in a three piece suit holding a briefcase. The man would be very educated and powerful. He would have a team of people behind him taking orders of whatever ideas he would dream up. The Steve Jobs and Bill Gates of the world were the people I saw in my head.
Those that were out there creating massive corporations. Then the feeling would shift and an emotion would come up because I wanted to be that but I wasn’t a man in a three piece suit.
My fear was that I could never live up to that identity.
You can imagine my surprise when I stepped into that role as a woman in a skirt, with long blonde hair and a hot pink bag in place of a briefcase. I am living proof that the word can have many descriptions.
So I thought I would test this theory out.
I actually posted this question to my list of followers on social media and their response was quite interesting. I was able to see who responded and what career choice they had. For some, I knew their personal history.
Many were not even entrepreneurs. Most were working employees that traded their time for money in a job environment.
That particular post inspired this article. I wanted to shed light on how we make assumptions based on emotion and create some truth around the concept of an entrepreneur.
I may it be of inspiration!
1. Entrepreneurship is equated with hustling.
I think that assumption comes from our drive. The perception that we are out there making a difference and jumping from one idea to another isn’t because of the need to hustle. It’s the determination in our gut that we can’t ignore, not that the electric bill is due. It’s the way we are wired. We are often our own worst enemy. We set certain standards and goals so far outside of ourselves that we will stay up sleepless nights trying to accomplish them. That my friend is not “hustle”, that is determination.
No one is holding a gun to my head to publish my book, it’s the life force inside of me that is wanting it on the book shelves as soon as physically possible. It’s as if the book itself is burning a whole inside of me to be shared with the world. No hustle here my dear, no deadlines other than the ones I’ve created for myself.
2. We think that entrepreneurship equates to freedom.
Yes…but not exactly.
Freedom to me is having zero responsibilities and collecting interest off of your savings while sipping a mojito at the beach without a care in the world. Most, if not all Entrepreneurs have zero interest in retirement, including myself. Think of people like Donald Trump. They are driven to work until their death bed. It’s just how we are wired.
I chose to work for myself because it’s very freeing being able to choose my work hours as I make decisions that I wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to do so in a corporate environment.
But, the other side of the coin is that our driven nature wants to work all the time, especially if we work from home. We can plug in during the mornings, go meet a friend for lunch or drinks and then you’re tempted to plug back in all evening.
We probably work more hours than most do in their day jobs. The secret, it doesn’t feel like work.
3. We think the word means jobless—as in cannot get a job.
Sometimes we make this terrible assumption that entrepreneurs go into business for themselves because we can’t find a job. I do have to agree that the jobs listed in society today are pretty boring and sadly we do not have a lot to choose from. I feel for the young adults that are leaving college wondering what is next.
The truth is, we don’t want to get a job, we don’t even want to be on a job posting website. The very thought of having to trade time for money, sit in a cubicle, feel like our ideas and worth will have to fit in a nice neat box sounds like hell to us.
In fact most of us do not want to even create or update our resume. Most, like myself walked away from jobs. I actively created a Plan B so that I could leave my corporate job for good. I would day dream during board meetings of working for myself. I would picture myself working from home, as much as I want, whenever I want. In fact, since I left that job, I’ve been offered six jobs which I’ve all politely declined.
The very thought of being pulled into losing my freedom all over again just didn’t feel right to me. Even though many of the jobs were paying me higher than my current income. I couldn’t bear the thought of dismissing everything I had worked for.
4. We think that entrepreneurs are loners and not team players.
Wrong again! This one confused me but I can see how they came up with this assumption. We do love to hang out at coffee shops and travel the world alone. I can’t speak for all entrepreneurs but at times we do feel lonely and wonder if anyone out there is like us, so we venture into Joint Venture partnerships to feel connected to something bigger.
I work with other entrepreneurs in my industry often and belong to a large Women’s Leadership Live platform as a content expert. I along with 100 experts submit content to help women thrive in leadership in their communities.
I also create online communities to help support my clients from all over the world so they can feel connected and empowered with those that are also in their industry.
There are many organizations for entrepreneurs also where they can network, brainstorm and be inspired by their peers.
5. All entrepreneurs are risk takers.
This description can also be seen two different ways. To me, allowing someone to decide when I work, what I get paid and if I still have a job tomorrow is risky. In fact I woke up every day in fear while I was employed for that very reason.
Once you know how to make income on your own you will feel extremely powerful—the word risk will never enter your mind.
I tripled my income last month due to consistency and just stepping on the gas pedal a little harder then I normally do in my business. That’s a very empowering feeling!
I know that if I had asked my past boss for a pay increase I would have gotten laughed at. In fact right before I quit the corporate world I was given a pay decrease after five years without a raise. Their story, was the company was lacking profits.
Who was to blame for that? I’m thinking upper management but it effected my house hold big time as a single mom. So who is the risk taker again?
See how it all is in perspective? If you’re currently employed and want to live out your dreams of working for yourself, it’s entirely a possibility! If I can do it as a single mom without any other means of support, so can you!
Author: Karie Millspaugh
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: elephant archives