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Who is an entrepreneur?

You are 25 years. You have just graduated from University with flying colors. During your time at University you become a student leader. This helped you make good contacts. Some of your contacts were so good that you have already received some offers from the big four audit firms and some telecom companies even before you set foot on the street to look for a job.

You are happy, and it shows in your steps. To celebrate your achievements especially having got a job offer directly from University without having spent any time on the streets, you invite three of your friends for coffee. During the coffee talk, one of your friends points out that instead of going for the job, you should consider starting a business. Two of the friends’ scorn at the idea. You also add that “I have already got a job offer. Why leave money on the table?”

You all laugh at it. And on you go for the office job.

The fact is, you have taken a less risky option. The fact is “the higher the risk, the higher the returns.” A day job may guarantee you monthly income, but it may not give you the exposure and challenges you need early in your career. If you take a day job with a struggling entrepreneur or start up, you are as good as a risk taker.

An entrepreneur is a risk taker. Is someone who leaves the company of day today job, where everything is certain and assured, to take on something uncertain and very dynamic. Any staff who work with entrepreneurs are themselves entrepreneurs. Effectively, they are taking high risk. The certainty that they will get money is not there. They must be paid only when they make money. That is risk taking.

Anybody taking a significant risk is an entrepreneur. That’s where the entrepreneur gets rewarded. If the business makes money, the entrepreneur earns. If it doesn’t make money, he doesn’t earn. This kind of risk taking whether one is putting trust in hope that it will work other than it won’t work is the critical criteria that makes an entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs leave places of comfort, decide to do something new and align other team members to follow them, and remain focused regardless of the amount of mountains they have to climb so that as they travel through the ups and downs of the business, the journey becomes normal.  That’s what makes an entrepreneur.

If you decide to take a day job in a government, the then start a part -time business, you are not a true entrepreneur. You may call it risk management. We call it lazy. You cannot spend over 70% of your most productive time in an office and expect to become a great entrepreneur. Focus. Get out of the office. Go start doing something. Give it your whole – 100%-time, energy and focus. You can now diversify your businesses so that you don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

That is entrepreneurship. Taking risk and forgetting about the day office of the public service – where you actually work half time and still the tax payer. That makes you unethical and corrupt. Using office time to run your private errands is bad.

To become an entrepreneur, go start working with an entrepreneur or become one.

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