We working folk are often carved into two major categories: employee and self-employed. For the latter, we often slap on the “entrepreneur” label to make the notion of a boss-less career seem that much more exotic.
But what’s the real big difference between the two categories?
There are absurdly rich people in both categories. Each of them have careers that grant “work anywhere, anytime” flexibility.
So what sets them apart?
Set your own goals
Having someone set your work objectives and establish your salary can create a certain acceptance in employees that you don’t see in the self-employed.
It’s not that we consciously decide to cede control over our careers, but there’s the unspoken agreement that the employer will have a big role in how far you advance. You can work hard, sure – but you have to be noticed and recognized, right?
And we can only get that exposure if our job allows, right?
Control your luck
I’m not a big believer in luck or chance. I don’t ascribe any value to “fate” or to some magical power that grants you success if you only happen to occupy one tiny piece of space at a tiny specific moment in time.
Having said that, it doesn’t really matter if you believe in luck or not.
If we interpret “chance” as it’s often used – “If only someone gave me a chance” – then it’s pretty easy to swap out chance for “opportunity.”
And the only way you take advantage of opportunities is if you cast a wide net.
Create opportunity where you are
I’ve never been a natural networker, so I’m always reluctant to tell people to go out there and “network.”
What I have been good at, however, is building a network just through my jobs.
That request seems to be lost in the black hole of the corporate services inbox? Okay, I’ll walk down and introduce myself to the first person I see.
Another company seems to be doing what we’ve wanted to implement, but were frozen because we didn’t know how to start? Great, if I call enough people at the other company, I’m sure I’ll find someone willing to have a coffee. (Of course it goes without saying that I’m not talking about direct competitors, here.)
We get so used to hierarchy, standardized processes, contact forms, and generic email inboxes, that we forget we can actually get out of our chairs and just go do what we need to do.
Bringing it back
And how is that all related to having an entrepreneurial mindset?
We have to take ownership over our day-to-day, and when we do, we develop habits that translate into the year-to-year.
If you want to work on a special project, talk to your boss, and state – don’t ask – that you’re going to talk to the project managers about helping on the side. If you’re stuck trying to find answers that just aren’t appearing, start asking different people – or start asking different questions.
And above all, invest a few extra minutes in the conversation to be friendly, and don’t be afraid to offer help even when you’re asking for some yourself.
You never know when that “luck” will come back to you!
How much control do you have over your career? What more could you do? Tell us in the comments!