I recently had someone tell me that real entrepreneurs scale things. The rest of us folks who own bakery’s, clarinet shops, resale shops, diners, and the local beauty salon are self employed– which is (supposedly) not the same as being an entrepreneur.
It’s no wonder entrepreneurship is flat lining in the U.S.A. We think its a process of elimination- a race to the top- instead of a form of individual expression. And we don’t all express ourselves in the same way. Or at the same speed. Or with the same level of intensity. Or with the same goals or desires. And that’s a beautiful thing actually.
Anyone who brings an idea to life and can monetize it is an entrepreneur and should wear that badge proudly. No matter what your dream, if you use your imagination to make real to the world your ideas, you have accomplished what few can do.
The only reason I decided to work on scaling something now was because I needed some new challenges. I had become mentally bored. For me entrepreneurship has always been about problem solving. It’s a form of a puzzle to me and that challenges me. But what I have built that got me to this point was not AT ALL an easy thing to achieve. I wear the badge of entrepreneur quite proudly. And so should you.
Don’t let anyone tell you that you are less of an entrepreneur simply because of the choices you have made about the size of your business. All of us who persevere against the odds deserve the same amount of respect for our willingness to try, and for what we have achieved.
What are you waiting for?
Last week I attended the International Clarinet Association Conference. I know- some of you are probably amazed that there is an association- an industry- for the clarinet and that you can actually earn a living from it too. We were 1500 clarinetists strong at this years event comprised of manufacturers of instruments, niche product makers, retailers like myself, and clarinetists and teachers of all ages. This years theme was the Clarinetist as Entrepreneur.
It’s taken this cottage industry 30 years to acknowledge the need, honestly. I know, because I have been working in the music industry trying to get entrepreneurship into the mainstream for that long. And for a long long time my ideas fell on deaf ears. There were many years I felt like an outsider watching an industry resist change.
If you want to bridge your gaps in life you- or make the changes you need to make that will most help- you cannot resist change. You need partners who can fill in your holes and breath new life into your own ideas. When you think you don’t need others, you are setting yourself up for failure. Which the music industry, by and large, sadly, has achieved. But when you actual work closely with people and build trust and collaborate to help each other find true professional meaning, both you and your product or services has an opportunity to profoundly change authentically.
In an industry who’s core deliverable is trust and authenticity and meaning to its audiences, it seems the message of how to more rapidly achieve it through entrepreneurial activities, got lost. While I doubt one conference in one sector of it will change its trajectory, at least a new leaf has been turned over in the world of the clarinet association. I am thankful to see this moment arrive on behalf of an industry that truly needs innovating.
Trust, Authenticity and Meaning
In this wide-ranging talk, ethnographer and leadership expert Simon Sinek argues that as individuals and companies, everything that we say and do is a symbol of who we are. And it is only when we communicate our beliefs authentically that we can attract others to our cause, and form the bonds that will empower us to achieve truly great things. Amen.
“Vowels are to words what creativity is to the world~ basic and necessary.” What motivates you to explore your creativity?
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Need a magic creativity wand? Let’s start with the clarinet and see what it inspires you to dream and do.