Reducing barriers to entrepreneurship allows more people to feel inspired by their work. There are many common barriers to entrepreneurship. As I’ve worked with students, new entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs working inside existing companies, I’ve noticed a self-limiting ideology we can call The Headline Trap.
The Headline Trap is an emotional barrier that can subconsciously make people think their own entrepreneurial abilities don’t warrant action. It festers from the deception that business ventures must “go big” or make a bunch of cash to positively impact one’s career portfolio.
This is no surprise. Successful startup stories are celebrated loudly. These spotlights are well deserved and celebrating entrepreneurs is important, but you don’t have to build something crazy to feel the innovative energy of entrepreneurship.
Everyone has a product or new initiative they’ve thought about exploring. Yes, building a business that impacts a lot of people is absolutely possible, but we’re all invited to tinker. Side hustles, community building, volunteerism and innovative projects that intrapreneurs spark inside existing companies all represent entrepreneurial efforts that should be celebrated.
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Any project you care about generates genuine energy. This energy is commonly referred to as passion. The beauty of passion is that it leads to persistence. As you find ways to create joy, you’ll savor the project longer. Even if you’re not making a profit (yet), you can still be inspired by the process. This inspiration often transcends into other areas of your career portfolio as well. In fact, sometimes an entrepreneurial venture is less about the money and more about the opportunity to collaborate with others. Working with people you enjoy being around is a treat and finding trusted partners with complimenting skill sets is the trick to make things even more interesting.
Building a business with less concern about revenue can provide a sense of peace, but beware, the luxury of not needing something to work can lead to crippling procrastination. Maintain transparency with everyone’s commitment levels to avoid tension.
Even when a project is only a tiny sliver of your career portfolio (we’ll talk more about managing your career portfolio next week), curiosity is being triggered. Not everyone will identify these actions as entrepreneurial, but innovative energy is being activated. Whether a project works or not, the entrepreneurial spirit gets bolder with time and often leads to more innovative initiatives in the future.
This type of personal growth also creates expanded interest in the startup and small business community. At the community level, entrepreneurial ecosystem builders can help people avoid The Headline Trap by recognizing, encouraging and celebrating projects that don’t make the news. This benefits everyone when more passionate people are invited to plug in. As more curious people are connected throughout the entrepreneurial ecosystem, take the opportunity to be radically inclusive to fuel a more diverse, flexible and sustainable environment.