"If we don't change we don't grow. If we don't grow, we aren't really living".
"The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity."
One year ago at this time of year, the Northeast was introduced to Hurricane Sandy and lives changed forever, especially in New York and New Jersey. Twelve years ago at this time of year, the world was introduced to the iPod, and life as we know it was forever transformed, personally and professionally. With the recent government shutdown, people had to once more adjust their lives accordingly. As Twitter prepares to go public, I imagine that miscellaneous lives will be altered yet again, directly and/or indirectly. Such is the nature of the changing of the seasons, and of mankind's existence. A thinking human being accepts change. An optimistic human being embraces change. An entrepreneurial human being actively seeks it out.
A recent article by Athony Dejolde suggests that economic change is inevitable, and that everyone needs to become an entrepreneur, "just to preserve a job." See the great infographic, which really hits the point home!
Another popular infographic and recent article by Andrea Huspeni suggests that many millennials are leading the migration out of Corporate America and into entrepreneurship, to pursue "freedom, ability to choose projects, and unlimited income potential." The infographic there is also worth checking out.
Yet if one reads Rieva Lesonsky's article last week, "Why Aren't Women-Owned Businesses Growing Faster," it seems that women are lagging behind men in their quest to join the Entrepreneurial Revolution. Are women collectively ready to join the Entrepreneurial Revolution, and its sibling, the Tech Revolution? This question has been driving me to pivot my career, blog for this column, and write a book. It seems that while "now is a great time to be a female entrepreneur," and "real disruptors are not who you'd expect," there is still much uncertainty about female entrepreneurship due to conflicting information, continued lack of real access to that information and subsequent funding opportunities, and resistance to change.
Changes in both the way we think about, and do business are needed; now more than ever. Jay Deragon gives a compelling argument in his recent article, "Why Don't They Get It?": "People are learning new things every day. What mattered for a business to win in the 20th century was products, prices and profits. What matters in the 21st century is purpose, people and promises."
Open-source technology, mentorship and reverse mentorship opportunities at work, and thought leadership and virtual mentorship provided by social media, are all creating a culture of innovation and learning like never before. It's time for more women to reach out and partake of what's being offered, and use it to orchestrate meaningful change for themselves and others, profitable and philanthropic. How? By following some of the best advice out there, gleaned from others who have forged a path and left a bread crumb trail to follow. I've put together three takeaways I have learned from others, which really helped me on my own journey. Patterns, I believe in patterns. See what emerges for you from these tips and links:
1. Take your inner entrepreneurial "temperature." Do you know yourself? Know your Game Plan? Are you truthful with yourself? Are you ready to "engage"? To work on turning your dream into a reality? To becoming both a role model and petri dish for others to examine, champion, and learn from?
2. Take your entrepreneurial "IQ" test. Do you understand the realities about funding? The pitfalls of taking venture capital? The pitfalls of social media? The power of social media? The importance of mentorship- to shape, not replace your thoughts? How to problem solve and think more creatively?
3. Take your entrepreneurial "EQ" test. Are you passionate and flexible about your Big Idea? Can you collaborate well with others to bring that Big Idea to fruition? Will you be happy in this pursuit? Will you be able to pace yourself and remain resilient? Remain true to your startup vision?
The trees outside my window are losing their foliage, heralding seasonal change. The ideas inside my mind are gaining shape and momentum, heralding personal change; in thought and deed. I am turning over a new leaf and pursuing entrepreneurship in earnest. I hope you will too.