The book The Start-Up of You – co-authored by Reid Hoffman, the founder of the social networking site LinkedIn, and Ben Casnocha – starts with the claim “You were born to be an entrepreneur” explaining that that is not because we should all start companies but because “ the will to create is embedded in the human DNA “ and that “creation is the essence of entrepreneurship”
The book is aimed at those who are the process of jobsearch – maybe starting out in their careers, maybe ready to make a job change, maybe having a job change forced on them – and he draws on his own experience of being involved in the start-up of many companies which have only been around a few years but which seem to be part of all of our lives already like Facebook, PayPal and of course LinkedIn – for the content. He talks about how each of us should consider our own career paths like you would a business start-up.
We are living in uncertain times – but to be honest is that not always the case? So does taking time to plan instead of having “a plan” make more sense in 2012? In the book Hoffman talks about having a Plan A and a Plan B but he adds that we should know when to “pivot” from one to the other. This might involve a radical move leaving Plan A behind to move on or a different transition by running plan B alongside plan A until the time comes to move becomes obvious ( think having a business “on the side” that grows while you are still in your normal day to day job).
Remember the days when we were encouraged to have a career plan? When I left school my first job was in a bank and everyone who cared about me at the time were delighted that I had a job for life and there would be a great pension at the end. Never mind that I found the job mind-numbingly dull. But my next step (after nine whole months) was to join the Civil Service ( safe job – good pension) – in the Inland Revenue no less . I leave it up to you to decide which direction that was taking me! In those days the training for tax officers was extensive and of a very high standard which made us quite attractive to hire into law and accounting practices to support their own tax teams so I followed that path. I won’t bore you with the full details of every step of my career journey but suffice to say that becoming a self- employed coach and trainer was not on my radar back then and even now I sometimes find it hard to see where my “pivot” point came. That’s possibly because there were many.
The most famous successful entrepreneurs will tell stories of successes of course but often of failure – and sometimes spectacular ones at that from which they pick themselves up and carry on being creative with what they learned.
Were you born to be an entrepreneur…are you now or how are you planning to get there?
Your stories might inspire others.