Entrepreneurs Think Differently (You Should Too)

Entrepreneurs Think Differently (You Should Too)


Entrepreneurs are a curious bunch. They come in all shapes, sizes, genders and backgrounds. They get up at dawn. They’re first at the office and last to leave. They use productivity apps, network their tooshes off and leave no stone unturned.

At best, they make the rest of us humans wonder if it’s worth getting up in the morning. At worst, well, ditto. As superwoman/entrepreneur Ingrid Vanderveldt (Dell’s entrepreneur-in-residence, media personality and investor) puts it: “Entrepreneurs are barrier breakers whose optimistic view of the world combined with their creative thinking has the ability to address even the toughest of challenges, including a government’s approach to innovation.”

Sound crazy? Well, that’s the point. Beyond what entrepreneurs actually do, exists a mindset that has them believing everything is redeemable vis-à-vis entrepreneurship.

Beyond the ‘to do’ lists of the most successful entrepreneurs the world has to offer lies a way of thinking that acts as the engine to their seemingly invincible take on the world. If you think like this, chances are you may be well on your way to doing something insane… like attempting to innovate in the public sector.

Ready? Here’s how entrepreneurs (and maybe you?) think:

1. You like feeling like a kid

Entrepreneurs tend to act like kids in a sweet store. Nothing is off limits and their inquisitiveness is as infuriating as it is contagious. Great entrepreneurs keep their childlike wonderment alive. They approach the world with curiosity, passion, risk tolerance, and faith – as they did when they were growing up.

2. You think you can do it better

Innovation presupposes that whatever came before it is ripe for improvement. For entrepreneurs, this assumption is the driving force behind their efforts. True entrepreneurs believe almost everything can be improved upon in some way. Start to imagine what could be instead of what is… and the world becomes malleable with many of the rules that exist becoming more like guidelines.

3. You are typically optimistic

This may seem obvious, but its importance simply cannot be overemphasised. Plenty of entrepreneurs have a somewhat negative disposition. But I would argue that those who think this way generally don’t get very far.

Two things tend to happen: 1) They earn reputations as terrible bosses and 2) Their businesses eventually erode because of their own self-fulfilling, pessimistic prophecy.

4. You’re a rule breaker

Entrepreneurs are by nature rule breakers and dissenters. This is an attitude as much as it is a mentality. Many entrepreneurs find it hard to relate when people can’t wait for the week to be over or can’t wait to rush out of the office for Happy Hour. The entrepreneur’s job is never done, nor do they want it to be. That’s not to say that they never do things for pleasure, but they are constructing their own lives and not constricting them based on someone else’s ideas or standards.

5. You’re probably a gear head

This last point is a direct result of our modern-day reliance on technology as a vehicle for innovation. Technology is the global equaliser and enabler. Young entrepreneurs and start-ups need to be focused on (and thinking about) enabling their organisation to scale, delivering faster and more efficient results, and maximising workforce productivity – all of which can be supported by technology.

So whether you’re considering getting your feet wet as a first-time entrepreneur, or are well on your way to entrepreneurial success, keep in mind that how you think is just as important as what you do.

Thinking like an entrepreneur requires a unique approach to the world and a mindset to help view the world as limitless in its possibilities for improvement, change and, ultimately, innovation.

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Rebekah Iliff
Rebekah Iliff is the director of product for AirPR, a technology platform to increase PR performance. Previously, she was the CEO of talkTECH Communications, one of the fastest-growing, launch-only PR firms in the U.S. As co-founder of talkTECH, she created an industry-first methodology for emerging technology companies. She's also a technology blogger for The Huffington Post focusing on trends related to startup culture and job creation.