How to be an entrepreneur…with a job

I love entrepreneurs.

I love being one. I love working with them. I love events like last week’s Startup Riot where you get to spend a day with 50 startups.

I love the way an entrepreneur looks at a problem and sees a solution from an angle most people couldn’t see. I love how entrepreneurs say, “bad economy? What does that matter to me, I’m about to change the damn world.”

I love the passion that only an entrepreneur can have for his/her idea. The blind, all-consuming, never-quit passion.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how someone that doesn’t have their own company, but rather works at a company, can still embody that entrepreneurial spirit.

Here are a few tips on being an entrepreneur…with a job:

1. Work at a place that inspires you. If you can’t do that…

2. Make the place you work inspiring. Be inspiring. Find ways to make change. Get on committees at work that will allow you to change the vibe. Get involved in projects you care about.

2.5 But only work at a place that will allow you to do this. Don’t settle. Putting lipstick on a pig isn’t going to solve your problems.

3. Make the impossible possible. Entrepreneurs always think they can solve a problem. Make that your first reaction. “Huh, I bet I can figure out a way to do THAT.”

4. Cluster with people at your company that you enjoy, that will challenge you, that have the same vibe you are looking for. The best startups typically are a group of entrepreneurs working together, not in silos.

5. Be flexible. The ability to change the way you think and work if there is a better way is a quality of successful entrepreneurs and will serve you well no matter where you work.

6. Find mentors. I had an amazing advisory board at Spunlogic and continue to have mentors that guide me. Sometimes entrpreneurs find mentors with their investors. You can probably find some both inside and outside your company. Everyone should have mentors.

7. Celebrate.  When you have a startup and you get your 1st customer, you celebrate.  When you get your 100th customer, you celebrate.  Typically at a company you work for, especially large companies, people forget to celebrate.  At a startup each sale represents your lifeline.

8. Be positive.  I have never met a successful entrepreneur that wasn’t positive.

9. Have ideas.  Pitch new service lines or products to your company.  Invent new ways to get stuff done.  You’d be surprised how infrequent people do this at a company.

Here’s a great video from Grasshopper to get the juices flowing.  Now go out (or in) and be an entrepreneur.