Why I Chose to Be an Entrepreneur
Do you ever get asked: “why do you want to be an entrepreneur?”.
Now that I’m back at being a part-time employee again, I’ve been asked this question a lot over the past few weeks. And to be honest, it’s a solid one.
I’ve noticed that it’s quite a taboo among entrepreneurs to consider going back to work for someone else again – especially corporates.
But when you look at the actual work I do, I can be almost as much of an entrepreneur in my part-time job as I was when running my own companies. The biggest difference is not having to do tax declarations and invoice stuff (which I’m still doing for my own businesses anyway).
So if these companies – the ones that give you a lot of freedom to be entrepreneurial – are out there, then why do you want to be an entrepreneur?
I can only answer this question for myself, so let me do so in today’s newsletter.
It’s not about the money 🙅♂️
It’s like the first thing that anybody thinks about when you mention entrepreneurship is money.
The funny thing is: I know very few entrepreneurs that are driven by money. Freedom and autonomy, yes. But money, rarely. It’s just as Daniel Pink describes in Drive.
“[The most successful people are] working hard and persisting through difficulties because of their internal desire to control their lives, learn about their world, and accomplish something that endures.” – Daniel Pink
In the book, Daniel mentions that money is a good motivator for work that requires little to no creativity. As simple tasks get automated more and more, most work nowadays requires creative problem solving. Starting a new business especially!
Daniel identified three intrinsic motivators for creative work:
🎯 And Purpose
Autonomy is the feeling of being able to act on your own – being self-directed. Mastery is the feeling of getting better at things that matter to you by getting feedback. And purpose is knowing why you’re doing and feeling that you’re building something that’s bigger than yourself.
Again, the funny thing is that these three intrinsic motivators for human behaviour can apply just as much to an entrepreneur as to an employee. Why then do I still feel like I want to be an entrepreneur?
It’s about values ⭐
A couple of years ago, a friend of mine called Martijn invited me to do a value exercise. Together, we would find my core values and put them into a short statement. This would give me direction and help me make important decisions about my career.
I had done similar exercises before, but since Martijn is a professional team and leadership coach, I couldn’t decline. And I’m glad I didn’t.
In case you’re curious about the exercise, it’s very similar to the one in Brené Brown’s book called Dare to Lead. In the book, you start by circling 10 to 15 values that resonate with you (you can add your own as well). And then you slowly narrow it down to 2 core values in the end.
I added the PDF with values from the book here.
It’s a simple exercise, but I found it very valuable to do it together with someone for guidance and support. Especially for the final part, where you combine your two core values into a short statement.
My core values were making a positive impact and creativity ⭐
Since I repeatedly referred to creativity as “building stuff”, Martijn came up with the statement “builder with impact”. It felt good. It felt like me.
Over the years, I thought about this statement a lot. These values were driving the majority of my decisions. Including the decision to be an entrepreneur.
Building worlds of impact 🌍🌈
I was driven to be an entrepreneur, because I love to create.
To me, building your own business feels like the ultimate thing you can create, because it’s like building your own world. A world where anything is possible, where you decide all the rules and where you decide the impact you want to make with it.
When working as an employee, this is possible to a degree as well, but never as much as when you build your own business. You might be able to re-shape someone else’s world, or build on top of it, but you can never build it from scratch anymore.
For someone driven by creativity as much as I am, that freedom to build something from scratch is important. Where it’s not just a product or service you’re creating, but an entire world. With a certain look, a culture, a group of people and everything else.
It’s the ultimate goal. And one that I’ll gladly continue to pursue, no matter how hard it may be 💪
It feels right to me. But depending on your values, it might not feel right to you. Even if you’re an entrepreneur now. And in that case, it’s good to know that you can – without a doubt – find a job out there that feels intrinsically motivating to you.
A job that makes you feel happy and fulfilled.
Because when it really comes down to it, that’s what it’s all about isn’t it? The answer to the question “why do you want to be an entrepreneur?”.
To feel happy and fulfilled.
Thanks for reading, friends. Have an amazing and entrepreneurial week ahead!
Good night kiss,
What I Loved this Week ❤️
📘 Book – I stumbled across a chapter in a book called Bold by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler. Given that the subtitle is ‘how to go big, create wealth and impact the world’ the book actually ties into tonight’s newsletter story quite nicely. What I loved, however, was the chapter on building communities. Of course, I am building a community right now with KREW and this provided some welcome inspiration as we’re preparing for Q2.
🎥 TV Show – I sometimes watch kids shows, because they can be just so damn cool. I get a lot of creative inspiration out of them, especially when they are as well-made as Kid Cosmic. It has a unique style, great pacing, great humour, short episodes… and it’s about superheroes. What else could you wish for?
🎸 Guitar Song – I love playing guitar, but sometimes I forget to actually play. So I loved taking some moments this week to re-learn a few songs, including this one: I see fire by Ed Sheeran. The intro riff sounds awesome, even by a still-relative-beginner like me.
Article of the Week 🏆
Given that I only wrote one article besides this newsletter this week, the article of the week prize is a no-brainer. But… it was a very important article to write, as I was able to prioritise and schedule my activities in a way that’s in line with working part-time.
If you feel like you could use some help with getting your priorities straight and blocking time in your calendar for what’s most important: give it a read.