Up until a few years ago, I’d never thought of myself as entrepreneurial. It was partially due to the fact that I didn’t know what that word meant. (Self-employment is rarely presented as a viable career option to kids. I would like to see that change.)
When I learned of folk like Gary Vaynerchuk and Richard Branson, I was jealous of how they spoke about their childhoods as though they had the “entrepreneur gene.” This elusive quality seemed to be something that you were born with. You either had it or you didn’t. I didn’t own a lemonade stand franchise when I was six years old or launch a tech start up when I was in high school. I always got very high marks in school, didn’t have ADHD or any other personality disorders. I didn’t even drop out of college! Did this mean that I lacked the “entrepreneurial gene”?
On a recent trip home to Montreal, I was having tea with my best friend. I mentioned February Album Writing Month, and how it would be cool if we took the month of February to write and record an album. She and I used to play music together back in college, and we’ve always talked about recording a full album one day.
“Would we do it over Skype?” She asked.
“Sure, we could send the audio files back and forth.” I replied.
She looked at me, paused, and then said, “Or… we could go to LA and do it there…“
My friend is an actress and comedian. I have a dream of being a television writer. LA has always been on both of our radars.
My eyes widened.
And we were off.
Suddenly it was scheming time. I morphed into coach mode– “Okay, this means that you are going to need an income stream that isn’t tied to a particular location. Why spend all day waitressing, when you could make the same amount in one hour of coaching?”
“You can do that?”
And the brainstorming began. An hour later, we’d come up with a service she could offer, something that I knew she’d be great at.
I flew home the next day, feeling alive and excited about our big plan. I had renewed energy and motivation to hustle on my own projects.
At that moment, I realized something. I’ve always been entrepreneurial in spirit. No, I didn’t think up ways of making money as a kid. But you know what I did do? I schemed. I was constantly inventing weird little creative projects, many of which existed at the intersections. There were plays, gymnastic shows at music camp, a kids news program, fortune telling and origami in the park, punk bands, websites, short films, and student clubs. Every time I looked around and felt displeased with the existing options, I would create my own.
Being entrepreneurial doesn’t mean constantly thinking up ways to make money. It means concocting creative projects, and coming up with better, more fun ways of doing things.
It also often means being a leader among weirdos, something I’ve proudly embraced.
Specialists are great craftsmen. They stand out by being The Best. Multipotentialites on the other hand, stand out by drawing on their vast experiences across multiple disciplines, and scheming up new creative endeavors. We bring new ideas into this world.
Multipotentialites are innovators, artists, and disruptors of the status quo. We are, by definition, “entrepreneurial.” Whether you choose to exercise that natural ability, is an entirely different matter.
As a kid, did you have a tendency to concoct all sorts of creative projects?