I don’t know the business; I don’t know the startup. What I do know is how to live your passion!
When I started my career in 2008, the term “entrepreneurship” was catching on, and in 2012 I found that it had become a commonly used term. I never really knew what entrepreneurship was, but I knew that there was a difference between doing business and living your passion.
Later in 2014, when everyone seemed to want to be an entrepreneur, I took a look at myself and wondered if I was an entrepreneur myself. Not understanding the term completely, I googled the term one day to find out what the formal definition of “entrepreneurship” is. This is what I found:
So, in a nutshell, entrepreneurship is all about starting a BUSINESS.
I realized that I was running a business, but I never really set out to establish a business enterprise. I was simply enjoying following my dreams and my passion. I was never cut-throat or competitive, nor did I ever consider hurting anyone to establish my position in business. I don’t mean to imply that every business is a blood- sucking, money-grubbing enterprise, but we all know that there are many businesses whose aim it is to get to the top by any means possible, regardless of who might get hurt in the process. This is what I thought business was as well, and it is what I had learned was important since childhood: “Be at the top!”.
That is the essence of competition, and it is how most of us have been taught to live our lives. Money and power equal success!
And indeed that was my understanding of business, and it has been so for the past 28 years.
The question is: What’s entrepreneurship?
Entrepreneurship is all about starting a successful company, and ensuring that it doesn’t get swelled by VC’s, incubators, or any stake holders. It’s all about fighting until you become an icon, or you get acquired by an icon.
How convenient is that?
So let’s say you work on something for years, and you ultimately make more money than you ever anticipated making, and then you sell out. With the money you made, you can start a new venture, make more money, and sell out again. Believe it or not, this is what I used to think startups and businesses (and thus entrepreneurship) were!
You may not be like that, and your startup may be much more than just a money-making enterprise, but ask around and you are likely to find that most people consider that part of the definition of entrepreneurship or startups.
Not for profit:
When I was in college, true success was measured by being placed in an MNC. If you were placed, people (your colleagues, teachers, etc.) would start believing in you. And the day after being placed, you became an icon with the ability to tell others “how to get placed.”
On the other hand, entrepreneurship is all about failure. It’s about people who couldn’t pass the test to prove themselves, and college dropouts who don’t care about maintaining the status quo. It’s about someone choosing to live his passion. Someone who doesn’t care about a name tag, but who prefers to be defined by what he passionately believes and what he passionately lives.
They decide with whom they want to mingle:
I think this is the true power of entrepreneurship. When you do business, you negotiate and bargain and sell and deal with whomever you must in an effort to keep your business on top.
When you are following your passion, you decide with whom you want to work and with whom you want to have value exchanges.
It’s like dancing with each other because it’s about having an experience, rather than doing business.
Determine your competition:
Business is all about beating your competition. Entrepreneurship is also all about competition, but the difference is
You are not doing things to get some paper-based certificate, or to get awards. You are doing it because every day you want to be a better version of you. And you want to prove to yourself that “nobody is perfect” and that “impossible” means “I- M- possible”!
Spreading the idea:
This is another point that differentiates entrepreneurship from the business. Entrepreneurship is all about finding the solution to a common problem, and spreading the solution. In the process, one needs to educate users that they have a problem, or that there is a better solution to a problem they are facing.
Money is something which will follow, as long as your startup model is about value addition. As long as you are giving value back, and you win the trust of others, you are a good and valuable entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurship is not about doing business; it’s about dancing with someone who values his work like you do.
What is entrepreneurship to you?
- Is it business, or is it the value addition?
- Is it money, or is it living the passion?
- Is it earning money from someone, or is it giving value to someone?
I would love to hear your thoughts about what entrepreneurship is to you. What would you be like as an entrepreneur? Feel free to share your thoughts using the comments section below.