This is part two of the “What is an Entrepreneur?” series. I’ve found there are many people interested in entrepreneurship, but many myths surrounding what an Entrepreneur is. I plan to answer these questions:
- What’s the definition of an entrepreneur?
- What’s the meaning of an entrepreneur? Life Purpose, Vision, and Purpose (you’re here)
- Can I become an Entrepreneur?
- What are the Characteristics of an Entrepreneur?
- What’s the Evolution Process to become an Entrepreneur?
I hope this series can clear some myths for you and expand your entrepreneurial creativity. You can read the entire series by going HERE. Please read to the bottom and get all the AMAZING FREE STUFF at the end!
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There’s a huge discrepancy between why entrepreneurs get into business and the outcomes from business. While we want freedom, profit, purpose, and fulfillment, most entrepreneurs exacerbate the worse parts of having a job. Stats showed that more than 60% of entrepreneurs work more than the typical job (40+ hours weekly), 39% lose money, 30% break even, 30% make a profit (but not all live comfortably from that profit), and only 6% can use the profit as their sole income source. This isn’t the dream.
When we decide to start a business, we start it for more than this.
In his book, “Start with Why”, Simon Sinek discusses how we need to transcend the logical process of “how we do what we do” into “why we do what we do” in order to get real satisfaction and meaning from what we do. If we stay too consumed by how we do what we do, it’s easy to get burned out and stuck at the tactical level–the daily get up and work grind–that causes 80% of small businesses to fail. In this post, I’ll explain why the conflict occurs between the underlying business desire and the failure rates by answering the question, “What is the Meaning of an Entrepreneur?”.
- 1 What is Meaning and How Can a Profession Give Meaning?
- 2 A Bad Foundation for Entrepreneurship
- 3 The Paradigm Shift
- 4 Life Purpose
- 5 The Evolution of the Entrepreneur
- 6 After The Evolution, You Realize…
- 7 The Life Purpose
- 8 Life Planning for Personal and Business Success
- 9 How Does Your Life Purpose and Life Plan Impact Your Business?
- 10 How Some of the World’s Richest People Maintain Their Work Ethic
- 11 Quotes By Some of the World’s Richest People to Answer “What is the Meaning of an Entrepreneur?”
- 12 Final Words on “What is the Meaning of an Entrepreneur?”
- 13 Now, it’s Your Turn…
What is Meaning and How Can a Profession Give Meaning?
In my previous article “The Definition of Entrepreneur”, we discussed various definitions, statistics, and facts about the role of an entrepreneur. The prominent meaning being “an inventor of a system that makes money in his/her absence”; however, we didn’t discuss the underlying meaning. The meaning is the “Why” Simon Sinek spoke about. It’s the root cause of this career path.
In his book, the E-Myth Revisited, Michael Gerber suggests that many of us (Entrepreneurs) start with a “why” that’s not a good foundation for a successful business, and we need to have a complete paradigm shift in order to build our businesses successfully from the ground up. The beginning of a successful business starts with the entrepreneur.
A Bad Foundation for Entrepreneurship
For example, people start businesses because:
- They couldn’t get along with people at work
- They didn’t like having a boss
- They didn’t like “being controlled”
- They wanted more money
- They want to prove people wrong who said negative things about them
- They’re looking for a personal void to be filled (insecurity, abandonment, etc.)
I can say this laughingly, but…All of these reasons send them into business with a “rebel” mentality, and business doesn’t cooperate with rebellions.
The Paradigm Shift
You can reach certain milestones, and maybe even make some nice extra cash in “rebel mode”, but things don’t REALLY start to work until you realize the business is not about you. The business is a service for others.
Once you realize the true meaning of an Entrepreneur as a Professional Problem Solver or Professional Solution Maker, then you are off to a better start.
When you can see that your job is to serve, then you feel a sense of purpose. You realize that your life is a service, and your service is to help others.
Many people struggle with hardships that they’ve had in life. They build their business as a means to heal themselves by “proving others wrong” or “defying the odds” or BLAH, BLAH, BLAH…
But, although business is often marketed in a way that it fits well as a savior, in reality, a business isn’t a Savior.
Instead, the healing revolution should be personal; not taken out as the foundation of the business. You can allow the story of your hardship to be on your resume for service, but don’t make the business the expression of your defiance. It can be a symbol of being whole, but not a rebellious tool to get the attention, affection, or rewards you think “should have had”.
Do you understand? I hope so…
The Evolution of the Entrepreneur
Unfortunately, the un-evolved entrepreneur typically goes into business in “rebel mode”. They think the business or the market owes them something, and they have expectations to cash out quickly until their epiphany. This “aha” moment is where you see rags to riches stories founded. It’s where the person transforms from being a “technician”, or a person who is capable of a job into an entrepreneur, or a person whose had the mental shift necessary to begin conceptualizing a business enterprise.
You’re probably asking, “What are the ingredients for the evolution?”
Michael Gerber says, the evolution happens when you wake up the four entrepreneurial hats —your Dreamer, your Thinker, your Storyteller, your Leader.
It’s a process, but it starts with the epiphany that it’s not about you, and the dreams expound by asking enterprise-size, mega company-size questions like:
- How can I create something to exacerbate a condition from this earth?
- How can I reach the people who also want to get rid of this condition (employees, vendors, contractors, investors, allies)?
- How can I serve the people with the condition (clients)?
- and on and on…
Your story (even a hardship one) can make you relatable, but it shouldn’t be the foundation or the rebel force of the business–otherwise you’re always projecting from a bad reflection rather than projecting good.
The things you were running away from are the things you need or need to develop
- You need to get along with difficult people
- In business, you have several bosses called “customers” and you need a candid “mentor” or “accountability person”, so you can’t run from a boss
- You may have disliked “being controlled” but an enterprise NEEDS rules
- If you want more money, you have to give first
- People will always say negative things about you and you’ll need to internally toughen up rather than stay rebel-minded
- and, busness won’t fill spiritual voids
The Life Purpose
When you can see the dream of eradicating a condition from the Earth, it’s so big, your creativity explodes and it drives your work ethic. The dream is bigger than your lifespan, but you can see how your contribution can light a fire of good.
For example, look at Martin Luther King. His dream was much bigger than his 50 year lifespan, but his contribution played a major role and still lives with many people today.
Your dream gives you a sense of purpose that is beyond dollars, so it magnetizes money as your focus stays on service.
Life Planning for Personal and Business Success
In their book, Living Forward, Michael Hyatt and Daniel Herkavy talk about how most people spend more time planning a vacation than planning their lives. They suggest that we should take time to plan our lives.
The components of the life plan include:
- Your desired obituary – In the obituary, you personally imagine what you want people to remember you for when you die. What do you want them to say, see, and leave from your funeral remembering. We have control of our legacy. We contribute to it with each action we take.
- Your life accounts (or priorities) – The life accounts include relationships: parenting, marriage, work, business, recreation, personal finance, our health, and our communities. The lists will vary from person to person based on their values, but it’s important to acknowledge what your desire for the prioritization of your life accounts is because many people find it difficult to match the desire with the result. If you document the desire, you can begin visualizing the conflicts if your desire and outcomes don’t match. Identifying the problem is the first step to making a solution.
- What you want your life accounts to look like – Once the priorities are written, then you can dream and visualize how you would like the accounts to look. You can answer questions like:
- What would I like my marriage to look like?
- What would I like my relationship with my kids to look like?
- What would I like my personal finances to look like?
- and so on…
It’s so important to awaken the dreamer in business and in personal life. The same functions that are performed to restore meaning in personal life are the same practices that are translated into business.
When we talked about the definition of an entrepreneur (on yesterday’s post), I mentioned “transcending to transform”. We have to “transcend to transform” in our personal lives also. Rather than looking at situations for what they are, we have to elevate ourselves above them, look down on them, see the contributing factors, and strategize to make change.
Your action plans – The action plan is the strategy. Now, we’ve dreamed and we need to act. The action plan answers the question:
- What tactics or babysteps can I take to get one step closer to the dream?
- What metrics will I use to measure my success?
- When will I re-visit this goal to modify my action plan prototype?
Your action plan is a prototype to success in one area or another. It may need to be expounded upon, but it’s your go-to book or your operation manual for each area of your life.
Many people who stay “technician-minded” stay synonymous with the business, so their never able to transcend and see how the business is a small portion of the whole. The life purpose and life plan create boundaries. From there, the business is seen as a vehicle to impact your legacy rather than synonymous with you.
There are other important life accounts that require resources (like time) from you. When all of the life accounts look optimally in your eyes, it creates peace, meaning, fulfillment, and excitement about life.
How Some of the World’s Richest People Maintain Their Work Ethic
When there is purpose and meaning, it’s not about reaching a certain bank account balance, acquiring material goods, or vacationing every other day. There are material accomplishments that come along with achieving your maximum potential and serving well, but the world’s richest are examples.
Even after they’ve acquired billions of dollars and more money than they could ever spend on a personal pleasure, they still work because the meaning of their work is not a means to make money. Their meaning as an entrepreneur is to eradicate a condition, to stretch themselves and maximize their potential, and to help people beyond their own families.
Here are some quotes from some of the world’s richest men to show you what they think about the meaning behind entrepreneurship and the driving force for their work.
“I want to see good financial returns, but also to me there’s the extra psychic return of having my creativity and technological vision bear fruit and change the world in a positive way.” – Jeff Bezos
“I have been struck again and again by how important measurement is to improving the human condition.” – Bill Gates
“If I’d had some set idea of a finish line, don’t you think I would have crossed it years ago?” – Bill Gates
“Remember, there’s no such thing as an unrealistic goal–just unrealistic time frames.” – Donald Trump
“In the end, you’re measured not by how much you undertake, but by what you finally accomplish.” – Donald Trump
Final Words on “What is the Meaning of an Entrepreneur?”
The goal of this article was to answer the question, “What is the meaning of an entrepreneur?”. Hopefully, this gives you a glimpse past the definition into the underlying root causes of entrepreneurship and how to create a mindset for a successful enterprise. If you have questions or concerns about this, don’t hesistate to leave them in the comments section. I’d love to help you out!
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Now, it’s Your Turn…
Have you noticed a discrepancy in the reason entrepreneurs start businesses? Do you see how that could negatively impact a company? What are your thoughts about the alternative viewpoint or “Enterprise viewpoint” of a business? Leave your comments, questions, and feedback below.