Entrepreneurship has long seemed like a skill that only a few enlightened individuals could learn. It has an aura of being unattainable unless an entrepreneur has a radical idea and is a first mover. Even business schools emphasize the logistics of operating a business more than the ideation phase of starting a business. Although creating a unicorn is very difficult, it is by no means the only way to be named a successful entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurship is a mindset, not a skill.
In fact, entrepreneurship itself should not be defined by starting or exiting businesses. It should be viewed as a passion for building something great with others. Even bootstrapped startups rely on the support of friends, family, mentors, and initial employees. Nowadays, the perceived riskiness of starting a company from the ground up is shared with co-founders, venture capitalists, and maybe even a startup accelerator network. Each of these roles not only provides advice and guidance, but they often have a financial interest in the fledgling company and provide a massive network of connections.
A startup team is extremely invested in the growth and success of the company. Startup culture attracts some of the most intelligent and interesting people and every department displays an unparalleled passion for progressing the company. Unlike an established company, the perceived risk of failure or stagnation is what pushes employees to have an immense buy-in and intrinsic motivation to perform well and do so proactively. Their every day is dictated by the question “how can I help take our company to the next level?”
The first-mover advantage is also a common misconception in entrepreneurship. This idea starts as early as college for individuals with business school backgrounds. With the rapid pace of innovation today, there is plenty of room for novel ideas; however, the first-mover advantage is still limited. Being a first mover, especially with an idea that cannot be legally protected, also exposes the risk of launching a haphazard idea.
Chances are, there is someone out there that can do it better than the first barebones idea. And then there’s someone that can look at the first two entrepreneurs, combine only the best parts, and create an even stronger iteration. The important note here is that in all three scenarios, these entrepreneurs could end up vastly successful, no matter how they define success. Take Pepsi vs Coke: no one would consider Pepsi, who wasn’t a first-mover, any less successful than Coke itself.
Finally, entrepreneurship requires creativity, but creativity doesn’t mean artistic skill. You might think that a stick figure or a circle is easy to draw, but so many of us have the impressive talent of being able to mess up even that. Many entrepreneurial icons probably wouldn’t call themselves artistic or even creative, but in reality, they are some of the most creative people that come to mind.
Business school teaches students to think critically, use logical reasoning, and employ strategy to problem solve. Still, everyone seems to nurture their left-brained skills (except for maybe the marketing and entrepreneurship majors). By definition, to create is to bring into existence. Bringing a unique solution into existence to solve a complex challenge, employs creativity. Regardless of the left- and right-brained theory, one thing is certain: anyone can be creative and that fact isn’t dependent on artistic ability.
With the right support, attitude, and creativity, anyone can be an entrepreneur because at the end of the day entrepreneurship is a mindset and not an innate skill – a mindset can always be adopted.
Meghan Reddy is a Product Management Intern at Docket this summer, studying Finance and Business Analytics with a minor in Informatics at Indiana University. She values making an impact on lean teams and has a passion for finance and technology. In her free time, she enjoys going on food adventures, dancing, and listening to podcasts!