How to keep your entrepreneurial spirit alive in a job
A recent Randstad Workmonitor survey revealed that a whopping 83% of the Indian workforce dreams of being an entrepreneur – a figure that’s substantially higher than the global average of 53%. As many as 56% people in the survey said they were considering leaving their current jobs to start their own business.
However, quitting your current position to break out on your own involves a certain amount of risks that not everyone can afford to take. Also, not everyone has the qualities you need to become a successful entrepreneur. That doesn’t mean you have to give up on your dream, you just need to tweak it a little. Author Dan Schawbel, in an article, spoke about how the definition of an entrepreneur is evolving. “A major shift is taking place, replacing the typical definition of an entrepreneur — ‘someone who starts a company’ — with a newer definition, one based on the innate mindset of a person who sees opportunities and pursues them.”
To keep your entrepreneurial spirit alive and continue your job, you just need to cultivate the right mindset. Here’s how you can be an “intrapreneur”, or someone who innovates, within an organization.
Recognize opportunities and grab them
A person with an entrepreneurial mindset is quick to spot or seek out opportunities. Their mind is attuned to seeing the promise in things and how they can make things better for themselves and others. How do you spot one? A good opportunity is one that sparks ideas, brings in energy, fits core values and carries its own momentum. Don Rainey, in an article in Business Insider, offers a tip: “The single most powerful question you must ask yourself about an opportunity is related to timing. Is right now the right time for this idea? There are a lot of great ideas that don’t become great opportunities until the time is right for them.”
At work: Look for an opportunity that lets you conceptualize and plan things from scratch – a new project or an important presentation – and ask to take charge.
Get comfortable with risk
Risk-taking is an inevitable part of the entrepreneurial journey. So it’s important to learn to weigh/ assess risk and become comfortable with it. It may sound intimidating, but taking a risk now and then is what brings big rewards. But before you make the leap, find out what you are getting into. By doing your research, you’ll gain confidence in your decision-making process as well as your ability to see things through.
At work: Focus on what could go wrong and have a Plan B in place, just in case.
Work in the present, plan for the future
Most entrepreneurs tend to be self-starters, think about what’s next and take ownership of outcomes. Setting goals and aiming for achievements comes naturally to them. But while they work on projects with an eye on the short term, they envisage prospects over the long term. Long-term vision is one of the keys to good leadership, and is an essential ingredient in the recipe for success.
At work: Begin by setting SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound) weekly goals for yourself and your team, and hold everyone accountable by asking for weekly updates.
Put your POV across
Entrepreneurship doesn’t just involve starting up or managing something. Asking questions, giving ideas and sparking conversations that can shift your organization’s point of view when it comes to a project or decision can showcase your independent spirit and analytical skills. If you’re not comfortable speaking up, Meredith Fineman, in Harvard Business Review, highlights three ways you “can still cultivate an entrepreneurial attitude: having a deep network, not necessarily a wide one; working alongside an extroverted partner; and pacing yourself in situations when you are out and about”.
Tip: Understand the level of entrepreneurship your organization encourages. Take your cues from how others act and what results and projects are praised.
Work on your skill set
You may be the best team player on the job, but that doesn’t say much for your entrepreneurial mindset. Most entrepreneurs tend to be creative problem solvers, and apply unconventional tools and approaches to existing challenges. Their analysis and assessment skills let them see challenges, opportunities and results when faced with any situation. That said, they expect change and are flexible and adaptable – this is essential when facing setbacks, obstacles or new scenarios.
Tip: If you aren’t sure your skills are up to the mark, look for a mentor and attach yourself firmly to him/her to get on the entrepreneurial track.
After all, if opportunity doesn’t knock, you need to build a door. So think like an entrepreneur; dream big for your career!