“Alright stop, collaborate and listen…” — Vanilla Ice
Did that get your attention? I sure hope so, because I want to ask you a question that might help bring you some much-needed clarity.
Perhaps, as I had been, you are struggling with your “current situation.” I use air quotes specifically because it’s possible the season you are in is something you can’t quite explain or put your finger on.
Maybe you are in the middle of an inner battle that keeps you up at night and often takes over your day.
Or it just might be something you are afraid to confront, or afraid to act upon—even though you know in your heart it’s what you want to do.
So here it is, put bluntly: Are you building someone else’s something?
Follow up question: Do you want to be building someone else’s something?
If you answered “yes” to both questions, there is no need to continue this “choose your own adventure,” because after opening this door, the end.
If you answered “yes” and then followed that up with a resounding “no,” might I suggest you keep reading. This post is most definitely for you.
The Rising Trend of Self-Employment
According to FreshBooks, some 27 million Americans will leave full-time jobs by 2020, bringing the total number of self-employed to 42 million.
From their second annual Self-Employment Report:
“Climbing the corporate ladder is no longer the American dream. Over the last few years a significant mindset shift has taken place and with it has emerged a workforce which values flexibility over stability.”
According to Quartz, the number of Americans working for themselves could triple by 2020. We are as eager to work as ever. Just no longer for somebody else.
“Despite its lack of financial security, independent work also offers psychological benefits of creativity and autonomy. Studies have shown that most people actually prefer autonomy to authority and prestige.”
Sound familiar? Does this resonate with you?
Back in 2007, it did with me—which is why I left my job and became a creative entrepreneur. You can read that story.
What is a Creative Entrepreneur?
At Authentik, we use the term “creative entrepreneur” often—and for good reason. It’s quite descriptive and describes the folks we consider as our primary audience.
With that said, I want to break it down a little better.
Best-selling author Jeff Goins describes a creative as:
“A creative is an artist. Not just a painter or musician or writer. She is someone who sees the world a little differently than others.
A creative is an individual. He is unique, someone who doesn’t quite fit into any box. Some think of creatives as iconoclasts; others see them as rebels. Both are quite apt.
A creative is a thought leader. He influences people not necessarily through personality but through his innate gifts and talents.”
Susan Ward, who has been in business and has been writing about business, since the late-1990s, defines an entrepreneur:
“Essentially, an entrepreneur is a person who starts a new business venture.
If you want to consider yourself an entrepreneur, that’s not all you need to do though. While every entrepreneur is a small business owner, not every small business owner is an entrepreneur.
We tend to think of entrepreneurs as people who have a talent for seeing opportunities and the abilities to develop those opportunities into profit-making businesses.”
So what is a creative entrepreneur?
For the sake of brevity, I’ll mash these two definitions into one.
A creative entrepreneur is an artist—known for influencing people with their talents—and someone who starts a small business.
Everyone is a Creative
I believe that everyone is a creative. As Jeff points out, each one of us has a gift and talent. Whether we know what that is—and if we are currently growing it—is another story. (And honestly, a conversation for another day.)
A very important question for you to consider, though, is this: Are you are building someone else’s something?
Because if you are, it’s time to talk, yo!
More than likely, if you are, you probably don’t want to be. And if you do, you failed the test above which says this post is not for you.
An entrepreneur, by definition, is someone who has started a small business. Conversely, if you have not started a small business, you are not an entrepreneur.
Now the million dollar question: Why aren’t you?
I have said it a thousand times, and I will continue screaming it from the mountain tops: The world needs your art.
When we decided to sell StudioPress, I had one “non-negotiable.” There was one thing that I insisted on being true of any deal we did, regardless of who it was with: I would not become an employee. No matter what.
After having spent the last twelve years being self-employed, that was one element of my life that I was unwilling to concede on—and thankfully, WP Engine understood and we came to an agreement that worked.
I was fully aware of the fact that I didn’t want to work for somebody else—that I was Unemployable, as Brian Clark calls it.
But what about you? What do you want to do with your creative life?
Do you want to take matters into your own hands, start that business you’ve been dreaming of, and become an entrepreneur?
Do you want to build someone else’s something, or do you want to build your something?
It’s fun, trust me. And working from Starbucks ain’t so bad, either.