In my day job, I teach entrepreneurship to the most amazing business students. In our introductory entrepreneurship class, I ask the students what entrepreneurship is. What do you think the #1 answer I get is?
You got it. Entrepreneurship is starting a business.
I then ask, "Can you describe yourself as an entrepreneur if you are not yet a business founder?"
Students are a little less confident on this one. Is an aspiring entrepreneur still an entrepreneur? If your start-up fails, are you an entrepreneur?
My goal is to redefine and reframe entrepreneurship in their minds. I want them to begin seeing that...
Entrepreneurship is anything that creates value.
Those who start businesses are entrepreneurs, but it's so much more. Entrepreneurship in its purest form is value creation. It is making the world a better place. It is making people's lives better. It's solving problems.
Under this "value creation" definition of entrepreneurship, who is an entrepreneur?
Anyone who creates value!
The painter, storyteller, and musician can be entrepreneurs.
The doctor, nurse, and janitor can be entrepreneurs.
The chef, accountant, and teacher can be entrepreneurs (That's right, I'm an entrepreneur).
The homemaker may be more entrepreneurial than all the rest.
We can be entrepreneurial and not own a business. We can own a business but not be entrepreneurial.
We have to throw away this idea that entrepreneurs only build businesses. If we can expand our minds beyond this narrow view, we can unleash a wave of entrepreneurial creativity to solve the world's biggest problems.
But we can also improve the world by solving all the little problems. If the cashier at your local grocery store comes up with a better way to serve you, they're an entrepreneur, and they've made your world better. If your teacher creates a better way to teach a particular subject, they're an entrepreneur, and they've made your world better. You are an entrepreneur if you can create value in any area of life.
Ultimately, entrepreneurship is a way of thinking. It's a mindset. It is looking past the constraints and self-limiting beliefs and knowing we can change the world. It's believing that anything is possible. That we are powerful, and there is no problem beyond our ability to solve it. It's being willing to take a risk when there is a real chance we may fall. We just need to convince ourselves of this reality. Our ability to embrace entrepreneurship and be entrepreneurs is only limited by how we define it.
So, are you an entrepreneur?
If you're creating value, then hell yes, you are! Get out there and change the world.