By Courtney Gras.
At IEEE WIE ILC 2017, I had the great honor of sharing my journey from working a 9-5 job as an engineer at NASA to becoming my own boss with a startup company and running my own consulting company. Rather than diving into details on how to start a company, this talk focused on how to stop planning, apply entrepreneurial concepts, and start taking action on becoming more entrepreneurial in your career.
Today, many professionals ask the same two questions:
- “I would love to start a company, but I just don’t know how to support myself (and my family) while doing this”
- “I’m not happy at my 9-5 job – I think I might be cut out for something else but I just don’t know how to find out what that is and how to pursue it”
If you’ve ever thought about these questions, you may be interested in learning about what was discussed at the talk “Entrepreneur is a Verb”.
The key takeaways included:
- You don’t have to start a company to be “entrepreneurial”
- You shouldn’t let your degree or job title be your glass ceiling & limit your career path
- You can be more entrepreneurial in your 9-5 and still maintain job security
To become an entrepreneur, you must first be introduced to the “entrepreneurial mindset” – or how entrepreneurs think. Creativity is at the core of this mindset, and often times in school and work, we are “educated out” of our creative mindset that we’re born with. Luckily, there are ways to re-learn this creative mindset, and apply it to your career planning and strategy.
Having a passion is an important step toward achieving the entrepreneurial mindset. There are various ways in which you can find your passion, such as using the Gallup Stengths Finders Test as a tool. Once you’ve discovered your passion, you can use this as a compass in your career.
It can be helpful to think of yourself like a product: based on your training and education, you can solve a need/problem, you have a key differentiator that sets you apart from your peers, and you have value. When you look at yourself as a product, you will open up many opportunities for yourself beyond the title on your college degree.
After the presentation I gave at IEEE WIE ILC 2017, the audience had a clear idea of what it means to think like an entrepreneur, create a career plan centered around their passions and strengths, and take action on transitioning from a 9-5 job or start a company without draining their savings. Entrepreneur is a verb!