Monday, February 27, 2012

standing apart from the crowd

the coolest new zealander i know, stacey (remember discounderworld and shoe per diem - those are her brainchildren), has a new blog to go with her new job and already she's making me think. this morning, i read her post on the word entrepreneur and found myself nodding.  as you know, i often ponder language,  and stacey's thoughts on entrepreneur not really being the right word for someone who is starting a little business had actually occurred to me of late.

entrepreneur seems to be a whole lot bigger than small business owner. and while i admire anyone who has their own little company, whether they be a plumber or electrician or specialize in communications in english, there is somehow a difference between daring to go out on your own with a small business and true entrepreneurship. i find entrepreneur as word laden with the notion of a unique invention or The Next Big Thing. i find it interesting stacey also associates it with time and how you as an entrepreneur build up your business in order to spend less time at it, so you can move on to the next thing. i would actually call that investment, rather than entrepreneurship, but i find the thought interesting.

in danish, there is another word for entrepreneur - iværksætter. literally - one who sets work in motion - i like that, as it feels to me like it applies better to the business i'm setting in motion. we've not invented a smart new wheel or the answer to twitter or a truly good battery for storing wind power (whoever invents that will be rich) - we're providing high quality communication services in english for other iværksætter in denmark, who want to grow their businesses globally. and iværksætter seems like the perfect word for it. i guess that's the advantage of living in two languages, you can take the best words from both to express what you would really like to express.

it strikes me as i think about entrepreneurship and read advice about it (and there's a LOT of advice out there), that it's all glowingly positive, evangelistic and rather cheerleader-y. i'm slightly disappointed that no one really talks about all of the fear and night terrors associated with it. because while it's exciting, it's also a tremendous amount of pressure to place on yourself - because the success or failure is all on you - there's no one to blame. and whether or not you get a new kitchen anytime in the near future may be resting entirely on you. 


will said...

I agree, self-employment and entrepreneurship aren't necessarily the same ... but both require self-confidence and a belief system tolerant of vertigo. Besides, for some, independence coupled with the process of doing is rather strong and natural.

Stacey said...

Awesome! Clicking on that disco link was a blast from the past! I'm still sticking by my idea of being able to seperate yourself from your business though, to me other than that it is self-employment, though you may hire 500 other people, if no-one can do your job, then you are tied to the business, and shit's gonna hit the fan when you go to retire. So (to me) the entrepreneur is someone who is able to create a successful busines based on a premise that will eventually allow them to step away. Though this is just my interpretation of a word which needs to pull up its socks!

c is for cape town said...

as an aside, I once read that George W Bush said 'the French have no word for entrepreneur' - surely he didn't ... surely?

Numinosity said...

I've just passed on the Versatile Blogger award to you. You can check out the details on my page if you wish.
Please don't feel obligated!
xoxo Kim

Deb said...

that is a gorgeous photo...just love the compostion and the light...had to thank you!