While on this adventure in life post corporate into the territory of entrepreneurship or something like it, I found I was a bit unclear on the full scope of what being an entrepreneur really was. Per Merriam-Webster, the word entrepreneur means one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business. I am not saying Merriam-Webster got it wrong, but they are neglecting a few key verbs required to achieve the title of entrepreneur. Missing are the words passionate, brave, inspired, courageous and foolish. Yes, foolish makes the list because no one willingly signs up for exhaustion, financial irritation, and a series of rejection would they? Now that we’ve defined what an entrepreneur is there are a few common tasks that most if not all entrepreneurs, specifically those embarking into the entrepreneurial journey activate fairly frequently.
Active pursuit of the 25th hour in the day
Since I’m personally entrenched in building a successful brand, I find preparedness and creatively maximizing on my time issued as a premium. My very intimate budget does not always allow for a personal assistant, so I am always seeking the 25th hour in the day. Rather than sit idol in a waiting room, car wash or local dive for lunch, I crack open my handy dandy notebook, tablet, cellphone and sometimes laptop and get to it. The ability to maximize on time during the day is the difference between checking something off your daily tasks list or experiencing a “shouldacouldabutgottadotomorrow” moment. While tomorrow brings promise of a second chance, playing catch up can be unforgiven, so why put off tomorrow what you can do today.
Commute with a mandatory mobile office
Just as many cannot live without their cellular device and will return home after a 45-minute stall in rush hour traffic to retrieve that 2” x 4” piece of hard plastic, I will do the same for my laptop and charger. As long as the venue has power and a decent Wi-Fi signal, they are subject to be my “brick and mortar” office for the day. The commute to your neighborhood coffee shop or co-op workspace eliminates your need for pajamas and is a great way to get out of the shrinking square footage of your home.
Mandatory eye contact and casual smiles to all
Oftentimes while in my satellite office aka my neighborhood coffee shop, I find myself making very intentional eye contact and seizing any opportunity to initiate conversation. Socializing yourself will offer perfect opportunities to network. I deduce that other people are there to get work done too, so why not inquire to see if there is any synergy. One of three things will happen, (1) you will make a connection with someone you otherwise would not have been in contact with further extending your network; (2) you will encounter someone under a really tight deadline that has very little interest in speaking with you or anyone else for that matter; or (3) you will make someone’s day by simply saying hello and acknowledging their human existence.
Make a list and check it twice!
To eliminate the “shouldacouldabutgottadotomorrow” moments, every evening I create a task list inclusive of deadlines and subject notes of things requiring immediate attention. While I am besties with brightly colored post-it notes, I have advanced to the use of a digital task management system that is super easy to use and definitely keeps me on track to achieve small milestones. Social media apps are heaven sent and provide the ultimate convenience for updates while on the go. Additionally, the notes feature on my tablet/cell is absolutely amazing and serves as my virtual post-it for inspiration. The moment of greatness only hits per the instructions of the Universe and I want to be ready to make note the magic when it happens.
Socially stalk leaders in your industry
Keyword here is leader. There is something in their method, practice and approach to your industry that works, so study and find if it is favorable for you. Moment of truth, I am not a fan of casual novel reading – short and to the point suites me best, however I am a researcher and constantly seeking industry knowledge, this is what I call Industry Capital. If you are in conversation you should be able to exhibit a certain amount of Industry Capital to industry peers and civilians. You wouldn’t want a physician that had Google symptoms but rather one that loosely diagnose the possible issue, right? This applies to your business also, read and research frequently.
Ask for aid with intention
When cashing in favors, you must do so clearly and purposefully. Naturally your contacts will extend the right hand of fellowship, but you have to be prepared with your asks and goal of the request. The worst thing you can do is leave the decision to receive help in limbo simply because you weren’t ready to answer the questions or lacked the knowledge to understand exactly what it is that you actually needed. Don’t waste a favor on unpreparedness, ask when ready and expect action.
If any or all of the tasks listed above apply to you, raise you harm and high five yourself, you are an emerging entrepreneur.
“Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t so you can spend the rest of your life like most people cant.”
– Warren G. Tracy’s student
Jai Ferrell is a former entertainment marketing executive turned self appointed social scientist commencing an experiment via Corporate & Unemployed. CorporateandUnemployed.com a social blog chronicling the journey to entrepreneurship or something like it in life after living a career.
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