Who comes to mind when you hear the word entrepreneur?
Oprah Winfrey, Beyonce, Sheryl Sandberg, Gina Reinhardt, Janine Ellis?
While these are all great examples of entrepreneurs, the problem with only thinking about famous women is that they make it seem like an unattainable dream. We don’t necessarily align ourselves with being an entrepreneur of that scale of wealth – we’re simply small business owners.
But everybody has to start somewhere.
And whilst you may not feel like earning a billion is on the cards this year, what you can do is examine the traits that enabled such success. Once you identify these traits in others, you can identify them within yourself. You will finally see that your capabilities as an entrepreneur are not unattainable, but are in fact sitting dormant, ready to be empowered and utilised.
Are You an Entrepreneur Without Even Realising it?
I admit to not giving much thought to the things I have attempted and achieved in my life. For years I had been too busy doing things to spend time reflecting on them. But reflection is an important part of understanding yourself, understanding what makes you happy, and realising who you really are.Reflection is an important part of understanding yourself, understanding what makes you happy, and realising who you really are. Click To Tweet
So I decided that I needed to start practicing self-reflection.
I was cleaning out my office last night (one of my goals is to have a beautifully organised office) and I came across a stack of certificates and awards. All mine, from a lifetime of giving things a go.
And it got me thinking – where did this come from?
Growing up I remember rearranging my bedroom and painting my walls (I can’t believe my parents let me do that, but thanks guys!), I spent hours drawing floor plans in a scrapbook. That turned into wandering around display homes when I was 18 and old enough to visit them myself. Reflecting now, I realise I have also renovated every home I have lived in, from cosmetic changes to major extensions. Looking back, my interest in this area has really always been there.
So what about business?
I always thought that I ended up working in accounts and administration as a product of not knowing what I wanted to do. I just did what I seemed to be good at. It didn’t come from a burning desire. I was living like I thought I was supposed to until my real passion was realised.
But this wasn’t without benefits – my education and experience helped me become a problem solver and leader. I was lucky that I never thought about work as something I didn’t want to do. I was always around amazing people and so I didn’t have many days where I thought “Urgh, I have to go to work today”.
When I was younger I created income streams for myself, running my own little businesses – mowing lawns, cutting hair, babysitting. I learned the arts of negotiation, marketing, sales and customer service, but it was on such a small scale I didn’t think of it in terms of being entrepreneurial or even being business-like.
When I look at the connections between all of these things, I can make a few key deductions about myself.
Drawing floor plans was both creative and structured, while working to earn money using the mix of skills I enjoyed learning worked in tandem with a determination to finance myself.
I was always in leadership roles, even in primary school, which helped me identify my ability to rally people together for a common cause. The Navy was a highly structured organisation, as you would expect. Yet true creativity is a vital trait for military personnel who are successful. You must be able to adapt, call on regulations, and bend them so that you can achieve the desired end result. You need an overarching vision so that you can understand the importance of your part in it. And it was easy to learn these skills as the Navy provided me with a never-ending stream of varied tasks, projects and initiatives to implement.
Take a moment to look back through your life and identify the seemingly inconsequential things you do that might be signs that you’re an entrepreneur.
Signs You are an Entrepreneur
You Show Initiative
You follow your passions and have the drive to see things achieved and don’t let anything stand in your way. You don’t spend all day watching the clock because you are so focused on your work that you lose track of time.
You have Great Passion
When an idea takes hold, nothing shakes it free. Idealism plays a big part in your passion to see a project through – even when everyone tells you it won’t work. Your passion isn’t always exuberant, but it is consistent.
No is Not an Acceptable Answer
You don’t take no for an answer – not ever. You don’t give up on your ideas because you see their true value, even when others don’t. No is just a roadblock to be knocked down or skirted past. In fact, being told no just makes you more determined because this means you need to apply more creative thinking. Hearing the word ‘No’ can be an exciting challenge for you. You have an inner strength that you use to face challenges with inspiring gusto.
You Think Creatively
It is an absolute necessity that an entrepreneur be a creative thinker. You are inspired when your vision is forming, and this creative thinking allows for fluid growth throughout the visionary lifecycle.
Don’t think of yourself as creative? Who came up with your business idea – Or the plan to create a viable business out of it? You’re more creative than you think.
You Love a Challenge
If you aren’t up for a challenge then you are not cut out for life as an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur’s life is one challenge after another, as they have the creativity and passion to keep pushing forward and to see things through. As an entrepreneur, being challenged will give you an adrenaline rush because you will not be outdone. You will see things through to the end and not let anything stand in your way.An entrepreneur’s life is one challenge after another as they have the creativity and passion to keep pushing forward and to see things through. #entrepreneurtips #solopreneur Click To Tweet
You have an Exceptional Work Ethic
Nobody will ever question your devotion to your work. You aren’t checking in to see how many hours you have worked or what day of the week it is – you will be working as much as is required to get things done.
You have Great People Skills
If you are an entrepreneur it doesn’t hurt to have the “gift of the gab”. An ability to persuade people to work with you, to push harder, to open their wallets, and to collaborate and cooperate is the gift of the true entrepreneur. Being able to effectively sell yourself and communicate a vision enables others to understand what you are trying to achieve and ultimately to help you achieve it.Being able to effectively communicate a vision enables others to understand what you are trying to achieve and ultimately to help you achieve it. #businesstips #womeninbusiness Click To Tweet
Being an entrepreneur is risky business, but as entrepreneurs are willing to take on the challenge, this means that failure is a lesser fear for an entrepreneur than not trying at all. It doesn’t mean that fear of failure is not present, it means that the fear of failure is far outweighed by the passion driving them.
Did You Identify Yourself as an Entrepreneur?
It can be an interesting journey to reflect on your behaviours and unrecognised drivers, and to be able to recognise certain traits in yourself.
I hope that in explaining my journey, you are able to see how I have taken seemingly random elements of my life and pulled them together to make sense of them and their meaning for my greater purpose.
And if you’re still not sure whether you have that entrepreneurial spirit, why not try the Kauffman Fasttrac Entrepreneur Survey. It will help you break down your traits to determine what entrepreneurial characteristics you have!
Let us know how you do in the comments below!
Samantha is a Fempire Coach and business leader who is dedicated to helping women to succeed as fempreneurs. She is a process-driven strategist who has visionary problem-solving skills and managed to raise a family of five children while running a successful business.