Blog post by ELP Student Betty Wan (Mechanical Engineering | Class of 2020)
“Entrepreneur”, “Entrepreneurial”, “Entrepreneurship”. Nowadays, these words are no longer uncommon. However, what exactly is entrepreneurship?
Though as a college student emerged in the entrepreneurial environment, and despite the fact that I hear this word too often, I find it interesting that I keep asking myself the same old question.
However, just like going to school, my definition of entrepreneurship keeps refining with time:
Before entering the field, I thought the term “entrepreneur” only belongs to well-educated individuals who successfully started a business.
Having entered the field, I realized a definition in a broader spectrum: These are people who strives for a purpose, to create something in the market not of existence.
Now, to me, however, bring my understanding to a psychological level, entrepreneurship is a mindset, a mindset of continuous self-improvement. And it can be applied to pretty much every person. Let me explain why:
Bringing a start-up company to success isn’t easy. Having a brilliant idea, developing unique and disruptive products, finding financial supports, building a killer team, having the right timing, etc… Conquering all these tasks requires of course, luck. But more importantly, it requires one to be truly versatile. Very few individuals are naturally born with all these fundamental qualities and abilities. Thus, entrepreneurship requires one to possess the mindset of conscious and continuous self-improvements.
If entrepreneurship knowledge can be seen as a fish net, then becoming a better entrepreneur requires one to knit the holes in the fishing net, in order to catch big fish.
One may have a hole here on the net, but someone else may have the hole elsewhere. One may have a few holes, the other may have more holes. Some holes are big, but some holes are small. This is also exactly why the areas and methods for self-improvements differ for different individuals.
Fig. 2. Fishing Net
As a college student, I have set my main areas of self-improvement as:
- Continuous Learning
- I was staring at the wall during my internship one day: “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. — Henry Ford”
- It’s so true. Learning sets a positive attitude towards life, towards obstacles. As an engineering student, the biggest area of my focus is technical knowledge, a route to endless learning. It is also the basis to developing a disruptive technical product.
- Knowledge is important. But more importantly is the humbleness and the ability to learn from elderlies: professors, mentors, experienced entrepreneurs, which brings me to my second area of self-improvement:
- Having the right connections will give you a encouraging community to strive together with, and more importantly, will help trigger chain reactions that may smoothen the process of being a successful entrepreneur. And to build the connections, entrepreneurs need to network. It may be hard to go and elevator pitch yourself to strangers, since this requires you to break your comfort zones! It may not be easy, but you get better with time. Plus I don’t believe networking would be easy for anyone, at least not for people without prior experiences.
- Fail and Get Up
- It has been well known that the success rate of starting start-up companies are low. Failures, large or small, are almost guaranteed for inexperienced entrepreneurs (like me). However, the attribute to be able to firmly believe in yourself and get up from your falls are important. And it’s apparent that this holds true not only in the entrepreneurship field, but pretty much everything you do if you want to succeed.
Setting goals and areas of improvements make me happy, and I am positive they will make you happy as well! They will help you manage your time better; each milestone will act like incentives to push you to be a better learner, a better entrepreneur, and most importantly, a better person.
Please feel free to comment and share your thoughts!
Reference of Photos:
- Schultz, K. (2016, July 26). Kevin Schultz. Retrieved June 13, 2018, from http://themocracy.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-fishing-nets/
- (n.d.). Business and Entrepreneurship. Retrieved June 13, 2018, from https://americannegotiationinstitute.com/business-and-entrepreneurship/