This post regards something that I am currently experiencing and something that I am confident many other entrepreneurs experience as well.
Because the word ‘entrepreneur’ if most often times related to someone that works for themselves, the question then arises, what if you take on a position with another company?
Can you be an entrepreneur and work for someone else?
For the past year and a half, I have been working tirelessly to build companies. I have learned so much and I have built some really cool things and even made some money off of some of those cool things.
I have a passion for building things that society interacts with and things that truly can shape a person’s everyday experience. Part of that comes from my background in Architectural Design.
Over the holidays I accepted a position at Acumen Brands. To me this is incredibly exciting. With that being said, someone the other day stated, “Guess you’re not an entrepreneur anymore?”
This question has stuck with me for some reason this week. Not because I question it though, but because I feel that so many people are afraid that if they take a job with someone, they can no longer be an entrepreneur.
That is completely incorrect.
Being an entrepreneur is not only about owning and running your own Frozen Yogurt Stand or selling an Ipad App, its about problem solving, forward thinking, looking at a company from all perspectives and understanding each, and so much more.
Joining a company like Acumen Brands, I am able to take everything I have grown to be as an entrepreneur, and apply it to another company at many levels. This does not mean that I am bringing a bag of the ‘secrets to success’ with me and that everything that I have learned and done in the past as an entrepreneur is correct or the best way of doing something. I can assure that it is not. That is another thing about being an entrepreneur: you must always be learning, adapting, questioning, and growing.
John James, the CEO of Acumen Brands is a serial entrepreneur. He has built a number of very successful companies in the past and is currently building the biggest of his portfolio. John is someone that I have looked up to since the minute I met him. Throughout our relationship, I have received countless amounts of advice and mentorship from him.
John is now my boss and I couldn’t ask for someone better to call ‘Boss.’ John is sure to tell me when I make mistakes, offer me suggestions and direction, give advice when needed, etc. He is someone that I am able to learn from on a daily basis in order to continue to grow and develop as an entrepreneur and a person.
John told me once, “I wish that I would have had someone to work with and learn from when I was your age.” I am very lucky to have that opportunity. I dont think that you fully realize how important it is to get that experience until you are thrown into it.
To my point: You can be an entrepreneur and work for someone else. You should work for someone else at some point. Seeing how experienced CEO’s work and make decisions, getting real world experience with a fast growing company, learning from those around you. Often times as entrepreneurs we rarely get these opportunities. The opportunities are essential in the growth of an entrepreneur though.
My advice: If you are a young entrepreneur, look for a CEO that you look up to and a company that you admire and can relate to. Talk with the CEO and see if you can work with him/her or see how you can get involved in any aspect that will allow you these types of experiences. I promise you, most CEO’s of their own companies will remember when they were in your shoes and offer to help in some way or form. If you are lucky you might just find yourself a part of a great company for the long haul.