Be an Entrepreneur

We are now quite far from the Industrial Revolution and not quite far from the Information Age.

Interestingly, through the emergence of commerce, the industrial age has introduced us to a new concept of work which has evolved over the years into the model of being corporate employees. The information age changes this further by introducing the exchange of information in another world – the virtual world (which is previously commonly regarded as cyberspace). A world outside our physical world is created without any need for space exploration. And we soon realise that the virtual world brings with it some changes in our communication style  – communication becomes real-time correspondence,  individuals workers are able to collaborate as teams to work on beneficial projects for their companies, networking can be achieved even while gaming, research can be done online and many more. These developments are improving as the web develops. While I make the stand that there are flip sides to technology, there is an edge to be gained when it comes to businee networking and personal branding.

And through all these developments, I believe another era is upon us. You can read about my blog on it here. Businesses are taking advantage of what the web has to offer in terms of business, marketing and branding opportunities. And this refers not just to organisations. Individuals are beginning to do personal branding online. And yes, many of them are becoming entrepreneurs. Books such as Mitch Joel‘s  “Six Pixels of Separation” and Clara Shih’s “The Facebook Era” emphasise on the importance of social media marketing, and entrepreneurs who have a wish to make this world a better place can also use the knowledge gained for social marketing. Terms such as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and  Social Media Optimisation (SMO) are becoming common terms among personal branding experts and will probably be here to stay for a while.

The internet has opened up a new frontier for all of us to explore and there are already some of us who are at the forefront. And who are they?

They are the Entrepreneurs – the Business Starters, the Business Niche Explorers, the Business Marketing Developers.

A good question to ask is why entrepreneurs are the pioneers of this trend and not others? There may be more than one answer to this question but one thing is for sure – the knowledge to learn and the enthusiasm to help others better themselves and make this world a better place are two factors for the drive behind most entrepreneurs.

So why do someone want to be an entrepreneur?

They have a strong and intense passion in making this world a better place.

 That’s all it takes for one to become an entrepreneur. Be it to be an educator to provide small group coaching to students to improve their studying skills or subjects that they are struggling with, be it to be an environmentalist who strives to make the world a more humane place to live in or be it to be a photographer who wishes to put his travel photography skills to good use to enable others to know another culture,  there are many ways that individuals can start a business on their own that is aligned with their abilities and skill sets – alongside their altruistic vision.

Well, for starters, an entrepreneur gets to live out their own vision to make this world a better place and it’s very meaningful to do that. Vision such as “Building and Developing Schools in every developing countries”, “Media Literacy for all” and “Let kindness and altruism be the two values that people live by in this world” forms a higher calling for entrepreneurs and thus forms the drive behind their passions. While some may not see much development in some careers such as being circus performers,  Cirque Du Soleil made their mark entirely based on this profession. And with some creativity – it has garnered more success than some businesses. What makes successful entrepreneurs successful is that they have dreams and more importantly, they have a very intense and strong passion to realise them, just like the performers in Cirque Du Soleil.

In the same way that customers are getting more niche in their demand for products and services, there are more entrepreneurs that are offering products and services that are often more diverse. It is getting harder and harder to categorise things and people anymore. This is already happening in the education field, where more varied diplomas and degrees are being offered. While a general business degree is sufficient for one to get a job, some organisations are now looking for job candidates with business academic qualifications with certain majors, such as economics, commerce or e-commerce. At the other end of the spectrum, organisations are also more stringent in their recruitment process in getting the right candidates for the job. One can observe this very clearly in the various job adverts posted everyday. While there are still some positions which are quite open to job candidates, most job positions require someone whose position is quite niche. Let’s use a metaphor to illustrate this point: while previously we are able to gulp down water from a glass of water since the opening surface is large, we now need a straw to drink the water because we are now drinking from a bottle with a straw attached to it (No, we can’t remove the straw and drink from it!).

And when a job candidate secures a job, he or she might find that their abilities, skill sets and life goals are at times not aligned with that of the organisations. This might not be an issue with job candidates who is willing to blend in with the corporate culture and practices of the organisations, to work together with their colleagues as a team and to contribute to the organisations to their best abilities and make them flourish.  But the same cannot be said of those who choose to pursue their own passions, taking the road less travelled by finding their own like-minded teammates, sharing their same altruistic hopes and dreams and spurring one another on to make all their dreams come true. There is nothing wrong with both choices but the latter – more often than not – chooses to be entrepreneurs simply because of the freedom and flexibility that they so desires.For these entrepreneurs, their mindset are different from others . For them, when it comes to developing their career, they often like to ask one question:  rather than being among the selected, why not be the selector?

So, the question to ask oneself is: are you the former or the latter? If you are the latter, it’s time to join the flock of entrepreneurs. Of course, there will be hard work, so patience and perseverance is required. Are you ready to do so?

So how do one become an entrepreneur?

Cost is a major consideration for most individuals when they consider entrepreneurship but this is reducing over the years, since the cost of personal branding is dropping as well. With the existence of social media networks such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Wordpress, Blogger and many more, networking efforts is getting easier and cost in this area is getting lower. If there is a time where there is a great rise in the number of entrepreneurs, it should be about now. And the numbers are set to rise in the coming years.

While cost- especially networking cost- is coming down, there are still other costs involved, such as the establishment of a retail outlet, hiring of staff and renovation expenditures. It really depends on your type of business and how much investment you wish to put into your new business venture(s). Nevertheless, it will be good to start small if possible – especially if it’s a business that you are taking on alone, such as a life/career coach, consultant, financial planner, real estate executive, freelance writer or even a tutor.

To get inspired, it might be good to learn some concepts and read some books to get one started. Some insights and titles that are quite inspiring include:

  • The Parkinson’s Law (In a nutshell, work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion)

After reading the above, if you feel that you are cut out to be an entrepreneur, why not think about your altruistic vision for the world, how you wish to and are able to contribute as well as trying to identify your abilities that are aligned with your goals? If you still feel that there are some skills that you have not yet mastered, why not go for some upgrading courses or even form a like-minded team and work together to make this world a better place? Educate children with the right and proper beneficial values such as altruism, kindness and filial piety. Guiding working professionals on maintaining the right work-life balance. Conserving the environment by promoting recycling campaigns. There are so many things that we can do to make this world a better place to live.

Let us all work towards bettering this world.

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