Being an entrepreneur is weird
Please tell me that you don’t also feel the air quotes around that word.
And I do mean feel.
For example, I can’t even say it out loud for fear someone will call me a phony. Not that I would:
- Actually give two shits
- Blame them
But, it does still feel odd…? Kind of like the milk in my fridge that has the sell-by date as today and I know it’s still technically safe because you are supposed to have 5 days or so after that to consume it but I still convince myself that I will die on my bathroom floor from dehydration after puking my guts out.
Yes, I did just lose myself for an indeterminable amount of time in 3 articles about milk and food safety…and then panicking while reading a few more articles on WebMD and Mayo Clinic website about food poisoning, the dangers of dehydration, and then clicked an external link to read more about the imaginary cancer that I am now convinced I have. The milk is fine, you are crazy, and no there is nothing odd about it other than how it pans out in your head.
Back on track: I’m a big ole phony
But really, entrepreneur will probably always have air quotes around it for me. I see these real entrepreneurs out there making, what seems to be to me, a lasting impact. I have created an LLC, Illinois business tax registration, created a website and did the whole product offerings and brand story bit but somehow it still feels like all I am doing is creating a very elaborate monkey suit to wear around.
What makes me entitled to use that word? Just because I filed some papers to make it official, makes it official? At what point of success gives me the authorization to put my entrepreneur badge on? It has come to the point where I see job titles in LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter profiles: digital entrepreneur, internet entrepreneur, entrepreneurial leader, global entrepreneur, or plain old entrepreneur and I just roll my eyes.
I have my job title because some company decided it would be the best representation of what my job function is. It feels like to me when you slap on “entrepreneur” to your job title, it doesn’t say any specific about what you have to offer. It’s like someone having “nationally recognized” or “experienced” [job title] which only immediately makes me question their credibility. So what if you are actually critically acclaimed at your position? If you are really truly great at what you do, other people will stop just to tell me about it.
That is something a good friend of mine tells me often. He knows he is really great at his job because people take time out of their day to tell other people about his work. He never ever goes out of his way to boast about himself which I suppose would be part of the reason why I do not like entrepreneur as a job title. I feel it really means something when someone else calls you it but means nothing when you are the one giving yourself the title.
When I introduce myself, I say something along the lines of:
“Hi, my name is Leenah and I work in IT. I also recently created my own company as a way to provide a lasting impact”
I want to be my most authentic self and truly believe what I am saying. Is that wrong? Am I taking this meaning of entrepreneurship too far?