Before we start, you might be asking yourself, "Why is Keith talking about entrepreneurship? This is a website about simple living, productivity and wellness. What does entrepreneurship have to do with anything?"
And whilst on the outside, that might appear to be true, however on the inside, entrepreneurship, the essence of what it is and what it really means is an important lock pick that has helped and continues to help me embark upon my own journey to simplicity.
I'll explore this in more detail later on down the page but for now, just know that entrepreneurism is a founding pillar that will hopefully allow me to one day live my life exactly how I want to, unbound by corporate shackles and deeply wrapped in an ever-winding path of possibility.
Now, where were we...ah yes, why do people become entrepreneurs?
To answer this, we need to ask ourselves another very important question.
Are entrepreneurs born or made?
That might sound simple enough but it's actually extremely complex and many believe there is no definitive answer.
My assumption (which I'll go into below) is that an entrepreneur is a combination of both innate qualities as well as skills learned. Some people are born with passion and a natural disposition for entrepreneurship but they still need to develop and learn the necessary skills required to pursue and excel in their chosen field.
Some of these skills can be mastered in just a few short months. However, other times, it can take several years of grafting, experience and failure for skills to mature, adapt and ultimately bond with the passion that lies within. Sometimes you literally have to stand on the shoulders of your past experiences in order to reach the potential you always knew you had inside.
Let's look at some key points that have been used to generally define born entrepreneurs versus made entrepreneurs.
Some people are born with personality traits that favour entrepreneurship - possessing a strong urge for achievement, being proactive, being comfortable with uncertainty. They are the type of people that are more inclined to go against the grain as opposed to with it.
When everyone looks left, they look right. No mountain is too tall. The easy path is the boring path. They hate the trodden road and would prefer to carve out their own route to the destination.
- Family Background:
It has been argued that a family possessing a history of entrepreneurship is more likely to produce individuals who eventually become entrepreneurs themselves. An upbringing surrounded by self-starters and forward thinkers has a high potential of creating offspring with similar dispositions to that of their own.
However, were these creations born or made? Did they naturally develop entrepreneurial traits based upon ancestral DNA or did years of experience attained from being in the company of entrepreneurs mould their thought processes and ideology?
- Innate Qualities:
Some people possess certain qualities that make them more inclined to become entrepreneurs - creativity, a tolerance to risk, a natural ability to identify opportunities, an unbreakable determination.
Intertwined with their personality traits, these individuals have been designed to always put one foot out into the cold. It's who they are at their very core. Their way of viewing the world cannot be untrained or wiped away.
Real-world experiences can provide people with valuable skills and insights that are relevant to entrepreneurship. Working in a particular field and seeing how a company and it's competitors operate can open up the possibility for viewing gaps in the market which can lead to the beginning of an entrepreneurial journey.
Sometimes experience gained from a specific field of business provides an idea for a completely different and unrelated sector altogether, one that would never have been found had it not been for the experience absorbed from the previous activity.
Whilst some people wake up one day with an amazing idea or revelatory epiphany, there are also others who build a foundation brick by brick based upon exposure and time.
Many successful entrepreneurs obtained their knowledge and skills through education. Whether they enrolled and completed certificates and degrees associated with their respective fields or joined entrepreneurial programs, many learned vital knowledge regarding marketing, finance and business concepts - information and practices that would ultimately help create and shape their future endeavours.
However, whilst the educational path may have been a common route for many entrepreneurs, there have also been a slew of remarkable people who achieved great feats without a letter or additional syllable added to their surname. Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple was a college dropout. So was Microsoft's Bill Gates and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg.
These individuals embarked on an educational path but ultimately veered off as soon as their entrepreneurial minds took hold of them. Their ideas and visions were so strong that they followed them off the campus and into their garages where they created and built inspiring and innovating products and services that would change the world.
Entrepreneurship often requires a willingness to learn and grow. Situations and experiences, both positive and negative can make an individual adapt, pivot and change direction.
While someone may not naturally possess the necessary skills and traits required to be a successful entrepreneur, they can develop these characteristics over time, evolving into an entrepreneur as they navigate the many obstacles that life places before them.
No definitive route
As you can see with the above outline and explanation, there is no definitive answer or route to becoming an entrepreneur. A lot of the time, different traits, whether they were born or made are intertwined with each other. There is no one size that fits all, no exact blueprint to replicate the process. A lot of factors both innate and experienced will ultimately be the deciding ingredients to an individual becoming an entrepreneur.
My entrepreneurial journey to simplicity
I mentioned earlier on that I would go into detail about how entrepreneurship is an important lock pick that has helped me embark upon a journey to simplicity.
So let's get into it.
I suppose, the first question I need to ask myself its, "am I an entrepreneur?". I think the answer is yes but I also think there is a little bit of no in there as well.
As far back as I can remember, I have always tried to do something different, to walk an alternate path. Sometimes it was because I had a grand idea, other times it was because I was stubborn and ultimately chose a different route solely on the basis that it was the opposite of everyone else around me.
From selling cellphones online to opening a retail clothing outlet, launching an eBay iPhone accessory store to trying to become an author, I have always strived to find my own voice, to shout from the top of my lungs from the highest vantage point that I could muster the courage to climb.
Each endeavour I embarked upon over the years (both commercial and personal) was ultimately incepted with one guiding focus - to create a life of simplicity.
I have long dreamt of waking up each morning, a smile growing slowly across my face as the sun begins to rise and the birds rustle from their nests, another busy day for our little spinning globe but a day that I can call my own. One that is mine to determine and shape as I see fit.
I don't dream of money and I don't wish for extravagance. Instead, I fantasise of time. Time to breath, time to wait, time to wander and time to live.
For me, time is everything. It is the one area of our lives that depletes no matter how rich or poor we end up becoming. I understand the importance of time, it's simple nature but more importantly, the absence of it, especially when it is lost.
We cannot speed it up or slow it in it's tracks. It is always moving forward, a never-ending vehicle with near infinite levels of fuel until eventually, the fuel depletes and the vehicle grinds to a halt, never to sound again as it rusts and decays until eventually it is no more, a whisper of a time long forgotten.
The simplicity of time is why I seek the alternate route. I understand it's significance. I crave it's simple nature. I recognise it's importance and if I am ever going to own my day and control the time that I have, I have to keep pushing forward. I need to strive for more until eventually, an idea strikes a match which kindles the fire of opportunity and allows me to wake each morning with that smile across my face. The one that endures no matter how fast the our globe revolves, no matter how strong the current and clamour around me endures.
Entrepreneurship is my lock pick to simplicity. Entrepreneurship is my key to controlling time.