Regardless of whether you technically are an entrepreneur, maybe you want to become one, or even are working inside a company but just want to kick more gluteus maximus at it, thinking like an entrepreneur is a skill set that can get you advanced, they can help you get that promotion, get that raise, and get more clients. Check this out. From 1948 to 2000, here is the rate of jobs. And here is the rate of population.
The jobs actually grew from 1948 to 2000 at 1.7 times the rate of people. That's pretty good situation for people to be in, right? There’s a lot more jobs. They can dive into them. Between 2000 and 2014, so are our most recent past, something shifted. And instead, we have the population, which is growing.
And now -- wait for it -- here's jobs. The population is growing 2.4 times faster than jobs. All of a sudden, people are at a structural disadvantage. And that means there's more competition, of course, we know. We’ve all been following. There's globalization. There's the internet. There's always someone who is willing to do things cheaper than you. We somehow have to fight back. So I want to share with you five strategies.
Number one, what are people already asking you for?
There is a guy that I profile in Entrepreneurial You named Bozi Dar. He's a vice president at a large life sciences company. And his first foray into entrepreneurship, frankly, didn't go that well. He made this app. He spent a lot of money. It was a failure. And the truth is, what we learn in entrepreneurship is that, oftentimes, when you do cook something up in your head and don't talk to anyone or tell anyone about it, it's probably going to be a failure. Because you have no feedback. You have no input. And so it doesn't work.
But then he did something else. And this is the critical part. He started to listen to what people actually were asking him. And what they were asking him - he had done a really good job at getting promoted. He was constantly at his day job, getting promoted all the time. Everybody else, maybe every two years, every three years, they get a promotion. He got promoted every year. And people were like, what are you doing, Bozi Dar? And so he decided to create an online course specifically about this, about how to get a promotion. He put that out there. And it has been very successful. He has made tens of thousands of dollars on the side doing this.
Now the second thing that I think is important to talk about is challenging key assumptions.
I profiled a guy named John Lee Dumas. Up until John launched his podcast in 2013, there has been a widespread industry assumption that you just can't make money on podcasts. John Lee Dumas had a really important insight that changed the game fundamentally about this.
He said, wait a minute. Why is it that everybody is doing a podcast every week? Why is it weekly?Well, the reason with weekly was it most other people had day jobs. And they were busy. And so they wanted to do it once a week, because it was manageable for them. He said, no, no, no. What if we did it every day. What if we did seven days a week of a podcast? Now that is a lot of work. That is, like, all in.
But here's the thing. Even with the same size audience, you are seven x-ing your downloads. All of a sudden, his number of downloads shot through the roof. Advertisers got interested. And guess what else? If you have 30 guests in a month, those guests, they're going to be happy they’re on a podcast. They're going to promote the podcast episode. You are going to have accelerated viral growth. He challenged a key assumption in his industry that was, frankly, holding everybody else back and was able to turbo-charge his business as a result.
So, number three, tests and iterate.
Almost none of us is able to get things right the first time. We have no idea what the market will really want. And so testing, and iterating, and having pilots where basically the goal is not to get out too far in front of your skis.
If you want to be an entrepreneur, that is not about risk, people. That is a about mitigating risk. And the way you mitigate risk is that you do small tests and pilots. You place what the author Peter Sims has called “little bets”. And you try it out until you see where there's traction. And then you go deep on that.
Number four, let's talk about failure.
This is an interesting question. People sometimes have a very hard time separating the failure of an idea or a business concept with the failure of themselves. And so it becomes very hard for them to do that, to be willing to talk openly about it. But, you know what? For other people, this is a mitzvah. This is a gift. Because if we only see the positive examples, we don't really know exactly how to do it or what's going on. We need to learn from the negative as well.
And so if you're willing to share that, that is an important way to embrace the entrepreneurial mindset. Because you learn, oftentimes, a lot more from the failures than you do from the successes. But the truth is, for all of us in any pursuit, it takes, honestly a lot longer than we might want or expect in order to really see the level of success.
So here is one of the most important lessons. And it comes in the form of a story about a woman. I will write her name for you. It is Stephanie O'Connell. Now Stephanie is a millennial personal finance expert. But that is not how she started her career. She started her career like many a young lass coming to New York City. She wanted to be on Broadway. She was an actress. And she was realizing that it was so hard to make it as an actress in New York. She became really cognizant of personal finance.
She wanted to figure out, how do you actually make this stuff work? So she created a blog. She called it The Broken Beautiful Life. And she was writing about how she was saving money and her various learnings and exploits.
Now what Stephanie was looking at -- if your goal is like, oh, after a month of blogging, you're going to have Oprah come reach out and want to be your best friend, that's not going to happen. But instead, Stephanie looked for the little things. For her, it was a big milestone. She was blogging for free. She was pitching herself, oh, can I please blog for you?
The first time that somebody offered Stephanie money to blog, they gave her $25. And she said, you know what? That's an hour or two that I don't have to be waitressing. That is validation to go from having no one pay attention your blog to somebody saying, you know what? This is worth money.
She looked at that and said, that is a step forward. When people started coming to her and said, Stephanie, will you blog for us, that was another validation. When an influencer that she really admired re-tweeted one of her posts, it said, this is good. This is worth paying attention to you.
If you can find for yourself those intermediate metrics, those things that show you you are making progress on the way to your goal, it can be enormously valuable for you. When you take the entrepreneurial initiative, even if you work inside a company, thinking like an entrepreneur is the thing that can separate you, get you noticed, get you awarded the way that you should be.