In a past job interview I was told, “We’re looking for someone with an entrepreneurial spirit.”
I wondered how you would quantify that, since it’s a pretty subjective and general statement. Since then, I’ve been wrestling with the question. What does it mean to “have an entrepreneurial spirit” outside of starting your own business?
I feel like ‘entrepreneur’ alone is a buzz word, one people use interchangeably with innovation, creativity or the phrase “thinking outside the box.”
According to the dictionary, entrepreneur means “a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so.”
Let me just echo: “greater than normal financial risks.”
Then let me ask, what does it mean to have an entrepreneurial mindset? Pretty sure your employer or client isn’t hoping for someone who’s taking a ‘greater than normal financial risk’ on their behalf. Am I right?
I don’t believe people use the word entrepreneur in relationship with financial risk all of the time, but rather with the ability to be nimble, pioneers in their space, forward thinkers and progressive minds. But, can that kind of thinking be trained, or are we predisposition by our own DNA to think a certain way?
I’m not a scientist, but I think it’s a mix of both training and a person’s natural tendency toward creativity. As a matter of fact, we’re at the point of training kids to be entrepreneurs, and I’m not just talking about teaching them to run lemonade stands in their neighborhoods on the weekend.
In the realm of PR/marketing, I believe entrepreneurship manifests in various ways throughout the industry. Whether game-planning for the next service or product launch, or trying to gain some brand recognition, thinking of untraditional ways to break through the congestion that is the internet is vital. It’s something I like to call putting on your gorilla suit.
Why that phrase?
Once upon a time, I used to commute to a city far, far away. Because it was forever away, I used to ride in a vanpool. It was not a particularly enjoyable commute, but I did get the chance to meet some cool people in a variety of professional fields.
One man in particular has made his mark in the archives of my memory. To make a long story short, he was telling me about a past job interview he had for a marketing position with a tech giant. He then proceeded to nonchalantly tell the story of how he wore a gorilla suit to the interview.
If you’re anything like me, you’re thinking: “Excuse me, you wore what?”
Yes, he *literally* wore a GORILLA SUIT to a highly competitive and highly esteemed job interview.
He said (I’m paraphrasing here), “The interview was for a marketing position, so I interviewed like a marketer. I wore a gorilla suit and used phrases like, ‘I’m bananas to be here,’ etc. And, they went for it.”
Whether it be starting your own business, bringing something new to the table for your clients, or wearing something utterly ridiculous to make a memorable impression, thinking like an entrepreneur goes beyond the lemonade stand and a pair of dress slacks.
Thinking like an entrepreneur is to be brave, courageous and confident enough to take an intelligent risk for a greater gain.
So, gorilla suit up.