“The Best Way To Predict The Future Is To Create It” – Peter Drucker When I started my first business way back when I was 17 I had no idea what an entrepreneur was. In fact I doubt I’d even heard of the term. When I graduated from college with a marketing and business degree I still had no idea what one was. All I knew is that from the time I was about 8 years old I had a burning desire to own my own business.
As I later discovered owning a business and being an entrepreneur are two very different things.
Here’s the best explanation I’ve found: business owners create jobs for themselves. Entrepreneurs create systems to replace themselves and are continually looking to expand and leverage their business in a multitude of different ways.
Let me better explain the difference by taking a step into the world of Fine Art.
Back in the 17th Century an artist called Peter Paul Rubens became widely known as Europe’s most famous painter. He developed a distinct and highly influential style depicting “robust” women with perfect complexions and apple red cheeks. And he used the power of story to add drama to his paintings by carefully arranging his figures with telling gestures and expressions.
Most artists – back then and today – stop there. They develop “a thing” that they become known for, they become very good at it – they might do some private commissions, a few gallery exhibitions, and in today’s world have sweatshirts or notecards with their images on it. They might have assistants or staff to help them run their business. But that’s where it stops. They’re business owners.
Not Rubens. He was all entrepreneur. He took very active steps to stay in demand – marketing himself to the European Elite – royalty, church leaders, nobles and rich merchants, all the while building demand for his services. Then to meet that demand he established a large studio with apprentices. He also had engravers copy his more important works to spread his reputation even further. Rubens was certainly a man before his time because he clearly realized that he was really in the marketing business. But as an entrepreneur he didn’t stop there. He started to involve himself in architecture and designing tapestries. For some clients he created suites of paintings, notable portraits and altar pieces. European Rulers then started seeking his advice for their art collections and sometimes even used him in political negotiations!
In my private copywriting and consulting business I work with entrepreneurs – not business owners. Businesses are expanded not just vertically, but horizontally and often times into separate but related industries. When working with new clients it’s not uncommon for them to emerge from our initial consulting session, blinking in the bright light and giddy with the realization that the business they’re really in is not the one they thought, and that the new opportunities before them are enormous beyond belief.
Being a true entrepreneur all begins with having the right mind set. As Donald Trump once said “As long as you’re going to be thinking, you may as well be thinking big!”