I wrote this for a magazine once:
Entrepreneurs / business owners come in all shapes and sizes. In fact, the one defining trait about them is they are so indefinable. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs didn’t even go to high school, while others have dropped out of Harvard.
But, in my career as a serial entrepreneur (which is a nice way of saying that I’ve experienced success and spectacular failure both) I’ve found that there are certain characteristics that most entrepreneurs share.
So the next time you’re sitting in your cubical, staring at the fourth quarter spreadsheets while dreading another boring (and utterly pointless) meeting, read this short list and see how you match up with the entrepreneur mindset:
- Entrepreneurs have little fear, and have supreme confidence in their professional ability. They are generally not afraid, for example, of losing their job. They figure “heck, I’ll just get another one.” If that sounds like you, you might be a closet entrepreneur.
- Relating to the above, entrepreneurs HATE micromanagement. The best kind of boss a closet entrepreneur can have is one that says “Just do it, and bring me the results when you’re done.” The worst kind of boss a closet entrepreneur can have is one that says “See me after each step so I can check on your progress.” (*groan*… it hurt just to write that.) Unfortunately, boss #2 far outnumbers boss #1.
- Entrepreneurs have little regard for arbitrary rules. The silly “you need to wear a tie even if you’re not seeing customers” rule comes to mind here. What’s up with that?
- While not workaholics, entrepreneurs never stop thinking about work. This is because doing good work is important to them. If you find yourself coming up with a work idea at the Sunday BBQ, despite the best efforts of your six shrieking nieces and nephews to distract you, you might be a closet entrepreneur.
- Entrepreneurs often feel like they are not paid what they are worth. However, they feel this way because they truly feel their work warrants better compensation. They don’t, for example, think they should make more because “Becky in accounting makes more and does nothing all day.” In fact, they don’t care what Becky makes (she’s an idiot anyway.) Entrepreneurs care about their own compensation deal, and nobody else’s.
All in all, an entrepreneur definitely marches to the beat of a different drummer. And although sometimes I’ll question whether this particular drummer took their medication or not, I can tell you that the rewards of being your own boss are substantial (and even when they aren’t, at least I can take off my tie.)