Starting and running a new business isn’t for everyone—but regardless of your career, there’s something to be said for the “entrepreneurial spirit.”
A little entrepreneurial zeal can give you a distinct advantage in your professional life, whether or not you think you’d ever strike out on our own. So how do you train your corporate mind to think more like a business owner? Try these five easy ways.
Entrepreneurs tend to be immensely passionate about their work—and in the long-term, this is the key to career success and fulfillment in any field. So, if you’re spending most of the day dreaming about how you’d rather be doing something else, think about how you might be able to “pivot” your career. (Need help deciding if you’re on the right track? Answer these 15 questions to know for sure.)
Look for ways you can take what you have and put it to better use doing something else. Could you translate your position to another industry? Transition to another department in your company where your experience could be put to use? If you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, don’t feel stuck. Instead, think about how you can apply your skills elsewhere.
Be Bothered by Inefficiency
Do you find you or your colleagues sitting around waiting for responses in order to move forward or entrenched in certain work processes that are too slow? Entrepreneurs don’t have a high tolerance for inefficiency—and because they don’t have corporate red tape to cut through, they can fix these types of problems quickly.
While you might not be able to do so at quite the same pace, think about the inefficiencies in your organization and consider whether there are places you could implement solutions (or at least recommend improvements). It’s a golden opportunity to create long-term value and to shine in your company.
Take on More Risk
You’ve likely heard the phrase, “more risk, more reward.” One thing that sets many entrepreneurs apart from the average professional is their appetite for risk. No, putting yourself out there isn’t easy—but a business owner knows that you have to give it a shot (or, many shots), and that you’ll scoop up bigger rewards when those risks pay off.
At work, start small by pitching new ideas or volunteering to take on a challenge or two that’s outside of your comfort zone. The potential payout—gaining new skills, getting a nod of approval from the CEO, or even landing a promotion—can be huge.
Constant innovation is crucial to a business’ long-term success, so entrepreneurs have to take time to let their minds loose and brainstorm new ideas. If you’re not used to getting those creative juices flowing, try setting aside some time to try out a few brainstorming exercises.
And, remember to have fun doing it! I love this quote from fellow entrepreneur Virgilia Singh:
"Even the most complex form of innovation starts with a simple act: play. More companies are instituting sketching and white boards in their offices to encourage brainstorming, also known as the act of playing around with ideas.”
Schedule some time each week to really brainstorm about something that’s been on your mind. See what you come up with.
Don’t Limit Your Dreams
To me, the most important aspect of the entrepreneurial spirit is its boundlessness. Many people are conditioned, as they go through school and into the workforce, to be realistic and practical—but, what’s wrong with dreaming big? You’ll have to work for it, but, believe me, it’s worth it.
So, think like an entrepreneur, and go dream big for your career!
Doreen Bloch is the author of the book, The Coolest Startups in America, and is the CEO and Founder of Poshly Inc. She is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley's Haas School of Business where she was awarded the Jack Larson Fellowship for Entrepreneurship & Innovation.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC recently published #FixYoungAmerica: How to Rebuild Our Economy and Put Young Americans Back to Work (for Good), a book of 30+ proven solutions to help end youth unemployment.