Creators and Entrepreneurs rarely work in jobs.
Let’s get things clear. Many of us who have worked in a job whether it be for a large corporate or a small business have at some point dreamed of creating our own product, service, business or something which is ours. If not, then stop this reading this article now and get back to your desk (your boss is watching)
The point of this post is, if you want to create something great you can’t be working in a low risk 9 to 5 or even a 9 to 9 job. No creator / entrepreneur of any major achievement was sitting and finishing that report or managing meaningless staff conflict through the day or influencing key power groups within the organisation and building on his idea through the night.
A lot of articles, books and documentaries have been made on the great entrepreneurs of our age. I am sure they all have great common traits like, superior intelligence (this is always under rated), hard work, resilience, self-belief, risk taking ability, and some luck, but none talk of them being good at working for someone else in a job? Right from Gates to Jobs to Zuckerberg none of them sought out the comfort of a job.
To create something great requires all the traits as above but most importantly a single minded focus which can’t be done while working in a job. Consider the biggest group of job seekers: LinkedIn which by its very nature (professional networking) started first as a pool of mostly people like me: in a job, looking to be found and find people who could help their cause to the next level of position, title, challenge or money. And another one — none of the great creators spent a lot of time networking to move up to the next level. Networking, when and if done was simply to sell their creations. Needless, if you create something great, the ‘network’ will come to you. You could turn this argument on its head and say ‘well looking for another job is also selling yourself, so in a way everyone is really their own boss’. Debating that is not the point of this post so I will pass.
So why then do we have organisations trying to get employees to be entrepreneurial???? Hello, if I wanted to be entrepreneurial I would not be in a job, would I? The reason is simple, organisations want employees to always go beyond the call of duty, go the extra mile (as an entrepreneur would) to be ultra mindful of costs (as entrepreneurs are) to treat the business as their own (but no you can’t decide your own salary). The romantic idea of being an entrepreneur or its dream does continue to drive people even though they are in a job. After all, we all love the romantic notion of freedom as William Wallace will have us believe (the Scots are still in English economic chains)
So what are the differences in DNA between an entrepreneur and employee? And let’s not get influenced by the great creators of our time, they are exceptions. From what I have seen, it is simply the ability to take risks, a desire to be your own boss and confidence to go it alone. These three traits unfortunately are lacking in most employees. I once worked for a very successful first generation entrepreneur (business size over $300m) who always told me, the difference why he owns a business and why I am in a job is simply courage. That is so true.
I have met countless exceedingly smart ‘employees’ in jobs — yes they are ‘employees’ even though they might have the title of CEO or Vice President. They are amazingly intelligent, analytical and creative but simply lack the ability to take risks. Can risk taking be taught or confidence be taught or even being your own boss be taught? Maybe not in one lifetime.