The Age Of The Self Proclaimed Entrepreneur
September 10, 2016. The air is warm and comforting, spring has arrived and I sit in the garden, shirtless and whiter than a bag of cocaine. Before, as I laid in the garden, stretched awkwardly across the wooden path, I listened intently to a podcast titled “Inspiring Creativity with Great Content.”
It sounded interesting and I was feeling increasingly inclined to lay uncomfortably across a jagged footpath listening until the podcast was over. In a strong American accent, a voice faded overtop a saddening introductory soundtrack, welcoming today’s panel whilst calibrating their illustrious resumes in the process. I tried to focus, to offer this lecture my full, unencumbered attention, but after hearing the podcast host excitedly exclaim the word ‘entrepreneur’ an uncomfortable amount of times within the opening segment, I had no choice but to switch it off.
I sat up, pulled a chair into the garden in direct access to the sun, and begun listening to Spotify. The sunshine was strong, soaking deep into the skin and providing a heightened sense of nobility most likely mistaken for some form of self-admiration. Nonetheless, I figured it a better time than any to address the age of the self-proclaimed entrepreneur and why we’re all fucked.
Previously, as I journeyed through childhood wearing a pair of bright blue, 2-inch glasses and remaining so socially neutral that sometimes people didn’t know I was even there, reading auto-biographies by Steve Jobs and Richard Branson, I was forever in awe when someone said it was the early 2000s and they owned their own business. It was fascinating, that this person standing before you is not only their own boss paying their own wage, but also owns a business they can entirely call their own. It seemed a dream only accessible to a select few; a particular group I’d one day wish to be a part of. But then we grow up, begin to more openly understand and experience the world of work and business, and as the calendar edges toward 2017, we realise even Uncle Ted with his unsuccessful and somewhat awkward erotica business has, on his personal Instagram profile, titled himself ‘entrepreneur.’
It’s almost like cheating on a final exam, this self-proclamation of entrepreneur status previously reserved for those select persons worthy to receive said title. Instead, the word now takes on less meaning and worth than a US penny. That youthful excitement of meeting one of these persons suddenly lost in a cesspool of egos. So welcome to the modern age of self-titled employment, where everything you read on someone’s Instagram or LinkedIn profile is perceived to be true until proven otherwise, where our full name is usually followed by a .com and where simply referring to yourself as an entrepreneur isn’t going to cut it.
Conveniently, modern technology and digital trends have allowed individuals to create passion-driven businesses that reach audiences not previously possible and therefore helping these businesses flourish. However, considering there are around 3.4 billion internet users, originality, in all forms, can be hard to come by. An entrepreneur is, in the words of Wikipedia, a person who sets up a business or businesses. Yet, given we’ve collectively blown this entrepreneurial status way out of proportion, we can all agree Wikipedia no longer has a clue.
We’ve been given creative freedom to our bios, that’s the issue. And, let’s admit it, entrepreneur was one of those words that made you sound like you knew what the fuck you were doing. But now it means next to nothing. Entrepreneurialism, in modern times, doesn’t simply entail business creation, rather it is about solving real problems, making our own and other persons lives easier and making the world a better place. Being a freelancer isn’t being an entrepreneur.
“Unlike freelancers, entrepreneurs don’t trade their time for dollars. With this model, you can only make as much money as you have time. It’s a losing structure.”
It’s a grey area and an increasingly popular trend, shameless self-promotion. And, whilst I’m not an advocate to the abolishment of the entrepreneurial title, I’m a supporter to creating an awareness campaign aimed at educating and helping individuals be true to their professional selves. #therealentrepreneur