Entrepreneurial DNA: Do You Need It to Succeed in Business?
I was listening to the audiobook of Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh of Zappos fame. It doesn’t take long for him to establish that he popped out of the womb and into the world with some pretty strong entrepreneurial spirit. He talks about always knowing that he wanted to make money. And he has certainly done that on a level that many of us can only read about.
It got me thinking about what was really important to me as a kid and how that shaped what I pursue in life. I came to quickly realise that it wasn’t money. While I was paying some young entrepreneurial kid to pick up my lunch from the tuckshop, I spent my time encouraging my schoolmates to become more confident in their decisions. Whether it was over tennis game, or sitting in the sun, probably laughing at the kid struggling to deliver our lunches, I was honing my people leadership skills.
When it came time for me to make money in my own business, I struggled to see myself as an Entrepreneur. I didn’t have any experience in my younger years and it seemed that all business success stories were based on those kids that popped out driven to make money.
I found it incredibly difficult to pitch for a sale before I had a relationship with the client. Often the problems people were raising with me were simple enough for me to resolve over a cup of tea. I had no end of people wanting to work with me, but I just wasn’t making the money I hoped to and started to think that my lack of entrepreneurialism was the thing holding me back.
So, I learnt how to turn my thinking about my money-making abilities around:
1. I deconstructed the entrepreneur thing
Entrepreneurs are just marketers that know how to cash in. Sure they may have started practising money making at a young age and they may have stories of taking big audacious risks but they don’t own the risk part of the story.
Most Small Business owners get the whole risk equals reward, regardless of whether they are in people management like me or a florist or a tour operator. Once I deconstructed entrepreneurialism, I knew that I simply needed to build my skills in marketing and cashing in.
2. I owned my strengths as business assets
Most Entrepreneurs I know use any product or service to make money – it doesn’t seem to matter if it’s skin care, the latest gadget or putting themselves out as an expert on the latest topic in the community. It’s the opportunity that matters and they bring their entrepreneurial expertise to get a return on their investment.
For me, the product really matters. My greatest asset is the depth of experience and knowledge that I bring to people management. Once I got this, I followed the opportunities that enabled me to leverage my strengths.
3. It’s probably going to take me more time to cash in
There’s a wonderful agility that comes with Entrepreneurs. Maybe it’s just me, but the Entrepreneurs I know have a restless yet positive energy about them. And, they sure now how to bounce. It can make for some big highs and some big lows in their business life.
When I strive for the big highs I find that I push against the tide. For whatever reason, my success comes from allowing more that pushing. My flexibility comes from letting go of the outcome and being willing to keep learning and trying. When I get on with my work and follow the breadcrumbs of opportunities then I find my business does well.
4. I’m not a whatever it takes sort of girl
I have found that Small Business is like a seesaw and I balance between pursuing money and doing the work I love. Tony Robbins said that “what you won’t do says just as much as what you will do.”
For me, people matter first. I won’t proceed until I know the people stuff is sorted and I know I can be truly useful. It’s the foundation from which I leverage everything so unless it’s rock solid I can’t be as effective.
In a time that entrepreneurialism is given rock star status and everyone thinks they need to be one, I think it’s worth remembering that to be financially successful we simply need to use our strengths to solve people’s problems and market really well.
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