You’re An Expert, But Are You An Entrepreneur?

So you are an expert, but are you really cut out to be an entrepreneur?  Is this what you really want to do, or is this a desperation tactic?  Entrepreneurship as a solution to employment is fast becoming a popular decision many are making.

who am i

There are many great resources to help you evaluate if, in fact, you are the right temperament and type of person to take entrepreneurship on. Here are a few of my favorites:

Entrepreneur.com
SBA.gov
Success.com

I recently interviewed Joe Abraham, author of Entrepreneurial DNA and the founder of the BOSI formula, which offers four personality types: builders, opportunists, specialists and innovators. Abraham’s premise is that one size does not fit all and there are different personalities and approaches that identify successful entrepreneur types. His sytem is much like the DISC personality profiles used in HR to identify what jobs and careers are best suited to job seekers.

In addition to evaluating your entrepreneurial personality, you must think of yourself and assume the roles of master salesman, networker and marketer, regardless of how many employees or support people work with you or for you. Sales, networking and marketing are the three most important areas that impact success, other than a very good and needed product or service, which of course must be the reason you sell, network and market in the first place.

Here are three tools from the SBA that will help you. First, take an honest self assessment of your entrepreneurial temperament.  Second, identify your key qualities, skills and intangibles.  Third, create your entrepreneurial success blueprint, your platform and business plan.

Here are 12 resources and tools I have used to become a better seller, networker and overall marketer. These are proven ways to your build brand awareness and credibility and grow your relationships with your personal and professional communities.

  1. LinkedIn is the professional platform that gives you unparalleled potential to be introduced to and interact with top people in your field or related fields.
  2. Facebook is the most diverse platform for engagement, personal branding and interactivity.
  3. Twitter can be a powerful “real time” communication tool.
  4. Blogging is the best way to build clout and authority in your field.
  5. Email marketing can help you grow existing  and new relationships and revenues with a permission based community.
  6. Article writing, either on your own blog or for other key blogs and websites, builds your brand leadership.
  7. Texting used properly can also be a very effective “real time” communication tool.
  8. Video is the best way to show people your vibe, your personality and how you present yourself and your ideas.
  9. Volunteering is the side door into many business opportunities and aligns you with things you are passionate about.
  10. Networking online and in person can open up amazing opportunities with people all over the world or right in your local community.
  11. Webinar workshops offer a way to deliver quality content on a specific subject online with just a short time commitment.
  12. Radio podcasting has opened more doors for me than just about any other platform, and can do the same for you if you use it to feature others.

If you are ready to take your expertise and use it to become an entrepreneur, set yourself up to succeed by building a foundation, a platform and your blueprint for success. Business ownership is the most exciting endeavor that one can take, as long as your risk/reward tolerance is high enough.

Jobs, Gates and Oprah can teach us much about entrepreneurship, but so can the countless other ordinary people who are doing extraordinary things as entrepreneurs and are launching daily and succeeding now. Check out CNN’s 2011 Heroes to see some of these amazing people in action.

In the words of the wise Rabbi Hillel:

“If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?”

Set yourself up to succeed, make the shift and take the risk.  This is the perfect year and perfect time.


Who Am I Photo via Shutterstock

37 Comments ▼

Deborah Shane


Deborah Shane Deborah Shane is a staff writer for Small Business Trends covering marketing, branding and social media topics. She is a Top 100 Small Business Champion, career transition consultant, personal branding strategist and social media specialist. Deborah hosts her Top 100 Small Business Podcast weekly. Her book #trusthewhy Fundamentals, Values and Humor Get You Through Anything and award winning "Career Transition: Make the Shift" (2011) are available through all major book sellers.

37 Reactions

  1. Nice article Deborah. I think that this will be a question pondered by many people in 2012 with more and more looking to create a business after losing their jobs. I know for me it has been hard to get out of the mind set of working for someone else and realize that everything I’m doing is for me and I need to work hard to create my own success.

    • Matt, not all experts are meant to be entrepreneurs, but everyone should be “entrepreneurial” and approach work the way you describe it in your last sentence! Bravo to you, that is entrepreneurial. Move your career where YOU want it to go.

  2. Inbteresting article.

    In my book Grow Your Service Firm there is the Expert Model which actually underpins this article!

    RC

  3. Deborah -

    Thank you for the entrepreneur resources. I am familiar with different personality theory models so the BOSI idea is fascinating. Any additional resources for developing in the marketing area (or maybe I should read The Entrepreneurial DNA)?

    Best,
    Mike

  4. Many times the answer is no. I have dealt with many people who are experts in their skill, but lack even the most basic of business skills to successfully run a business. Being a great web designer doesn’t mean you can run a web design business.

  5. I agree, not all experts are cut out to be entrepreneurs. Plenty of experts are just fine working for someone else, probably the majority. It takes a different mindset to lose the safety nets.

  6. Being an expert is one thing, but becoming an accomplished entrepreneur requires a lot of inner belief which most people don’t possess. Thanks for sharing…Deborah.

  7. That’s an intriguing question, to start with, and I think that entrepreneurs have mastered the art of doing business in their niche – worthy of being called an ‘expert’ as well. I agree with you here that Twitter can be a powerful real-time communication tool and this is done by participating in those tweet chats that are mostly conducted weekly, in a 1-hour time frame. I love the positivity of your last sentence, so cheers to the year of possibilities… let’s make it happen!

  8. Nice job on this post, Deborah!

    You have made it pretty darn easy for anyone interested in upping their presence to do so.

    And, you’re radio show rocks!

    The Franchise King®

  9. Deborah–
    I like the point you make that you can be an expert, but not need to be an entrepreneur. I often look at the equation from the other side (you’re an entrepreneur, and need to become an expert in your field)!

    Susan

  10. Susan, great point and an important professional skill to have and balance. I’ve met lots of fab people who are not cut out for “ownership” but they do own their job, work and niche. Always good to hear from you!

  11. I’ve seen LOTS of experts who have no idea how to start & run a business, and LOTS of successful entrepreneurs who are not necessarily experts.

    Starting & running a business takes a particular kind of courage and mindset–namely, to experiment and try new things, see what happens, and incrementally iterate towward success.

    Many experts I’ve met have the “curse of knowledge”, where they assume too much, and even if they start a business–which many don’t, since they’re forever stuck in the analysis paralysis phase–they don’t realize that they need to accomodate customers. Instead, they focus on what they think the customer should want, instead of what the customer is telling them that they’ll actually pay for.

    Testing and validating your business ideas and assumptions is critical–and most things can be tested for free or very low cost, which greatly reduces your risk, as well as the time and money you need to spend.

    Too many aspiring entrepreneurs get stuck trying to find the “perfect” idea. There is no perfect idea. You’re not Steve Jobs (and even he failed from time to time). So just focus on delivering value to people, test whether they’re willing to pay money for it, and then incrementally iterate your way to success and greater profitability.

    That kind of real-world approach is what I emphasize on my blog, where you incrementally test, optimize, and grow a successful business without wasting time and/or money on unnecessary tasks.

    Greg Miliates
    StartMyConsultingBusiness.com

  12. Greg, Appreciate your thoughts and ideas. Wasting time/money on unnecessary tasks is an acquired skill. Sometimes the mistakes are our greatest lessons.Catching them early and acting on improving or removing them is key. Please come back!

  13. Hi Mike;

    I highly recommend reading Joe’s book and incorporating the program into your business and personal life. I met Joe and the team from BOSI almost 3 years ago while working with them as an independent consultant on projects. I am in the dental industry and while working with BOSI, I knew there was a gem there that I could bring to dentists. I then started to figure out ways to incorporate the BOSI formula/assessment/strategy into my practice management program. At that time, the program was still in creation/pilot. Now it is full force to any industry, but can be tailored to a specific industry as I am doing for dental. Joe’s book went live last April, 2011 and now my company (and I) is a ‘BOSI Certified Partner’. I am passionate about Joe’s program and know it can assist any entrepreneur in my industry and others as well. People just need to hear about Entrepreneurial DNA and the logistics of each profile to know how to incorporate it into their everyday business. Have a great rest of 2012.

  14. Bonjour Deborah.

    Un petit mot pour vous dire merci pour votre article. Il m’a inspirée pour la rédaction d’un billet sur mon blogue. Je viens tout juste de le terminer. http://kimauclair.ca/blog/entrepreneure-passionnee-pas-experte/

    Je vous souhaite une belle journée

    Kim Auclair, Québec

  15. I would say that if you as an entrepreneur went down your list and had a check mark beside each one of your suggestions then you would be “in the game”. If not – and be honest with yourself – then find someone who can help you be game ready.

  16. Some people are just not born to be entrepreneurs. Just take a look at the professors teaching about entrepreneurship but they themselves are not entrepreneurs. That’s because their gift is in teaching.

  17. Ben, I couldn’t agree with you more! And your explanation is right on!

  18. Thanks for posting this on your site!

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