Are you an Entrepreneur?

Recently I read a thought provoking article in the Entrepreneur Magazine.  You can read it by following this link: http://www.entrepreneurmag.co.za/advice/starting-a-business/are-you-suited-to-entrepreneurship/are-you-an-entrepreneur/

I have been pondering the points highlighted by the author, Tim Bishop. Firstly, as he points out,  the term Entrepreneur is over used and used incorrectly.  The definition provided by Robert B Reich defines an entrepreneur as “someone who also possesses strong qualities in the areas of leadership, management, team building and has the ability to succeed, albeit success is never guaranteed.”

The author points out that the term Entrepreneur is too widely used, and is confused with being Entrepreneurial or a self starter or business starter.  That challenged me – I am not an Entrepreneur – I am not radical about changing the world using my talents, skills and training.  I am definitely not a “Richard Branson”, but I just can’t do the same old, same old offered by the corporate world that boxes one into your skills set.  That makes me a self starter – a do it alone kind of person.

This past year has been incredibly challenging in many areas.  I have worked long hours, battled through the inefficiencies offered by various legal bodies, struggled to get the right information from various authorities, held on the line for hours dealing with an inefficient systems and uncaring call center operators.  Despite this, I have not felt so enriched in a very long time.  Yes going it alone does mean a risk in earning a consistent income – but I have shaped my own learning and direction.

I am not sure I could squeeze back into the function of only been a Personal Assistant to a director or CEO of a company.  Some how, the challenge of learning new skills, and succeeding has been far more rewarding than meeting an organizational objective discussed in a performance review that is compulsory but neither party is committed to the process.

One must always keep the context in mind.  The author was addressing self claimed entrepreneurs in the digital industry.  He does make a valid point that collectively talented and skilled people can achieve far greater impact than an individual going at it alone.  Working in team, where each team member uses their skills to the best of their ability does provide the soil for greatness and change.

I will sign up for that – to be part of a team that makes a difference.  My talent and skill is that I am a good administrator.  I am orderly, and can work independently.  The beauty of what I offer is that on its own – it’s just sorting out my own personal life, and personal administration, however, when partnering with a client, it takes the overhead load off their shoulders creating space for them to do what they are great at.

I quote another paragraph from this article: “…each of which is consumed with 50% wastage of running that business.  Less time for digital brilliance and breakthroughs when you have to invoice, pay salaries, keep the VAT man happy and so on.”  Partnering with an Administrative Consultant frees up this time for the business owner creating space and time to let those creative juices flow, and offer better service to your clients.

I also agree that to go at it alone, to do so with caution as it is hard out there.  Suddenly the guaranteed salary is no longer a guarantee, and having financial skills is necessary to stay in the game.  Going at it alone also doesn’t offer the cushion of having an off day and a colleague covering for you.  Those are the negatives – but the positives are just as powerful.  Aligning up with good advisers who says it like it is helps.  Having a peer drop a line to check in on you and offer guidance.  A client that appreciates your efforts and values your work.  It is no longer about trying to achieve that elusive “5” on the performance appraisal, but achieving a satisfied client and succeeding at achieving goals.

So to conclude – I am not an Entrepreneur – but I am a self starter wanting to partner with business owners, who may or may not be entrepreneurs, using my talents and skills to make a positive difference in their business.