On Being More Entrepreneurial without Becoming an Entrepreneur

Writing for an entrepreneurship website for the last 4 years made me in some way think about how overly hyped entrepreneurship has become these days. So overly hyped it resembles a new faith in the modern world, with Silicon Valley hugely successful entrepreneurs and CEOs as its gods and goddesses, seasoned entrepreneurs as priests, saints and prophets, and then new fledgling ones scattered all over the world as followers. And as historians, journalists are standing, observing, criticizing and praising over the time while taking notes on who should be the winners and losers along with the recounts of dynamics.

Awesome. Simply awesome.

Yet, I can’t tell I want to be an entrepreneur after listening and witnessing how they can transform into a profitable business entity in several years.

As Sarah Lacy of Pando.com put it, NOT everyone should be an entrepreneur (my editor deemed the line to be too risky as a title, and chopped it out). Not everyone should be a professional singer, or writer or basket player eventually but definitely anyone can sing or write or play basketball as they desire. I cannot agree more on that. She has a clear point on why transforming everyone into an entrepreneur is ridiculously impossible. And to me it could be a tragic attempt at making a nation more prosperous and developed. Even if you have pots of money saved in a limitless bank account to fund the entrepreneurship programs in a random, sporadic, moody, unplanned kind of fashion, you’ll only tire yourselves because there’ll be hardly tangible, satisfactory results. Ever. But kudos to those who initiated anything like this. I by no means look down on them and their hard work but I advise they go find better strategies.

But of course, apart from that controversy, anyone can still be more entrepreneurial without having to be an entrepreneur him/herself. In fact, s/he can just learn to improve life quality by using some simple but efficacious ‘innovations’ (you don’t know how terribly I’m cringing every time I – with zillions of people out there – abuse this magic word INNOVATION. For God’s sake!)

Someone invented the word “intrapreneur” to refer to employees with a streak of entrepreneurial spirit in them. They’re not the bosses but they think, speak and work like their employers. Under a controlled situation, they can be a huge asset to companies or startups they work for. But once they’re fed up and too brutal for employers to handle, they may launch a startup after leaving the company. Intrapreneurs are like entrepreneurs but in a milder version. Pseudo entrepreneurs, if I might say. They might be the phase an entrepreneur has to go through before hatching as a real one.

There’re other cases where you can see the recurring pattern as follows:
[Insert a word you like] + PRENEUR

Hence, we can discover a plethora of portmanteau words like mompreneurs (mommies + entrepreneurs), writerpreneurs (writers + entrepreneurs), and the list goes on.

How on earth can this be happening? Do they only want to show you how ‘tamed’ and lovely entrepreneurship is so it can be every word’s tandem? My hunch is they just won’t do it (making up these new words) to kill time. These people do want to be entrepreneurs but something holds them back to plunge in as a typical tech entrepreneur you easily find on mainstream media and blogs because it’s too far away and thus scary and intimidating. It’s their dedication, love or adoration of certain disciplines or walks of life that encourage them to be more wealthy or self sufficient or to be able to change the world in THEIR own manners, way different from the typical entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg. Their definition of entrepreneurship is different from the Silicon Valley’s. Like me. I don’t want to be like Zuckerberg, as I know well I’m not playing to my strength by aiming high in tech realm. I naturally won’t do it. Rather, being a writerpreneur seems more reasonable and more friendly a way to approach entrepreneurship because writing is my biggest passion of all. It’s ok if I don’t make as much money as Ms. Rowling or Meyer or Steele, because I only need to earn a living for myself and my future family. If it works, good for me, I can develop. If it fails, no hurt feelings. Start again by consistently perfecting the writing skills and selling the hard-earned skills I’ve built up for years. So, to writerpreneurs their writing passion is the priority. Likewise, mompreneurs would be unwilling to relinquish their motherhood only for a handsome sum of money. It’s their being moms which matters most in their life. Business comes second.

What I’m trying to say is just be what you really are and approach entrepreneurship however you like and find most convenient. It’s ok to be pseudo-entrepreneurs like intrapreneurs or mompreneurs if it really fits your situation. Not an excuse, but a situation.

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