I started understanding what entrepreneurship is after I failed in my first attempt. I was employed and after six companies in 10 years, I left employment and tried consultancy. Nine months after, I was bankrupt, sold my car and went back to employment. After 3 more years of being employed, my consultancy business started picking up as my sideline. Then, I left my last job as an employee, never to go back again. I have never experienced growth as I did after I failed.
Entrepreneurship is an attitude. Employees are entrepreneurs if they have the mindset of an entrepreneur. Self-employed and business people might consider themselves as entrepreneurs, yet can have an ” employee” mindset. The business or work does not make a person an entrepreneur. It is the way he thinks that does.
It was only after I failed and then got up and got going to try again, that I learned what an entrepreneur is. After I got going again, I still kept on failing many times, but I never stopped learning. Now I know why businesses grow, and why some employees can keep on moving up and increasing their income. The difference between an entrepreneur and an employee is in their understanding of their work. The entrepreneurial mindset is about discovery, conquest, growth, and expansion. The employee mindset is about getting by with the least resistance if that is possible. Some people ask me what would be a good business, something that is easy and that will make a lot of money. They don’t have an entrepreneurial mindset. They want to be entrepreneurs because of the potential to make more money but they want to use the template of an employee.
We can treat work as a means to survive. We come to the office, do what we are told to do, get our paycheck. For as long we work, we get paid. When we stop working, we don’t get paid. We see only the correlation between man-hours spent and our paycheck. We cannot do more than what we get paid for. If we do more, we feel cheated. There is no growth, no striving for more knowledge and improving skill.
Entrepreneurs have a different mindset. We treat our work as part of a journey. We have a mission to fulfill. Whatever our dream is, that could be our mission. Our dream is usually too big that when people see what we are presently doing, they might say that our dreams are too lofty and unattainable. They don’t see that we have a different view of our work. We know that if we keep on growing, we will keep on increasing and so will our paycheck. Sometimes, we don’t look at our paycheck anymore because we find excitement in the journey and our growth. That is why we look at failure differently. Failure teaches us valuable lessons and makes us grow.
In some circles, there are a lot of talks about the entry of AI or artificial intelligence. They say that many employees will be displaced and lose their jobs. The number could be in the millions, they say. This will be catastrophic for people who depend on their jobs to provide for themselves and families.
I believe there is a way we can overcome this. If we will remain in our “employee” thinking, looking at our job only as a means to get our paycheck, we are in danger of losing our means of income. The robots will have a superior memory. They will be more intelligent than humans. In many ways, they will be better employees than humans because they will not be tardy, will not complain, will do their job as expected.
How can we prepare ourselves? I believe the bible gives us all the answers. In Colossians 3:23, it says, work as if working for the Lord and not for mere men. When Adam was created, God gave him faculties that differentiate him from robots. He was created in the image and likeness of God. Adam has imagination, can create things out of the resources given to Him. He can plan and execute. He can visualize the future. He can show love and care. He can empathize. He can create value and add value to people. He can grow and keep on learning and growing. Most of all, he can have a relationship with God. God will never fail someone who puts his trust in Him.
We can prevent ourselves from being replaced by robots by upgrading ourselves into thinking and creative individuals. As such, we use robots to make our jobs easier. In short, we have to become humans and upgrade ourselves from thinking and acting like robots. God did not create robots. He created us to be far superior than those plastic creatures. He created us in His image and likeness to take dominion over His creation. The saying that creativity is better than intelligence, is so true.
When we are confronted by problems, do we expect quick solutions or we treat it as an opportunity to grow? When a customer complains, do we tend to drive him away with a standard answer or empathize with him and come up with a solution that really addresses the problem? Would we rather copy or come up with an original?
How did we get to a point where we can be threatened by robots? We lost our identity when Adam fell. Sin separated us from the source of our security, provision, and blessing. Because of our insecurity, we have to work like slaves, equating our work to our source of provision. We forgot that we are working to express our creativity and demonstrate the image and likeness of God. Work is supposed to be a source of joy and fulfillment.
A relationship with God through His Son Jesus brings us to a place of security and blessing. Adam was given work after he was created by God. Since Adam was dependent on God, and that was before the fall, there was no lack and poverty, Adam didn’t have to work to survive. He is supposed to work to display the image and likeness of God, display His creativity, that God who is invisible may be made known in a visible world.
If we work as if working for the Lord and not for human masters, we do not work as robots do. We do far better than them, growing and expanding our ability. Creating, serving, adding value to people because that is what we were created to be.