How do you know when you’ve gone pro at something?
Maybe it’s when you feel confident enough with your skillset that you submit an application for full-time employment at a company for a role which requires this skillset. And then you beat the other candidates, get hired, and get paid a market salary for your skill.
I think that sounds about right.
But I’d go one step further: It’s when you feel like you can rely on your professional skillset to make your living. You feel a sense of security in your trade.
OK. Now how about entrepreneurship? When do you become a professional at entrepreneurship?
Is professional entrepreneurship even a thing (or are we all just winging it)?
I think it is. But it’s different. And it’s a lot harder.
Not because entrepreneurship itself is hard (although, yes, of course it is). Becoming a professional entrepreneur is different from becoming any other type of professional because the person deciding to hire and pay you as an entrepreneur is… You.
Customers? No, they don’t pay you. They pay for your product. But you’re the one who gives yourself the job title of entrepreneur.
In my career so far, I have launched at least 12 products that customers have bought. Not bad. But still to this day, when I’m rolling out a new product, I have the same familiar sense of uncertainty: Could this ever support me and my family? Will even one customer buy this one?
At some point in this journey, I began feeling more comfortable in that uncertainty. I began using that uncertainty to make better business decisions. I began being more strategic and intentional about what I choose to work on, and when.
That’s when I began relying on my entrepreneurial skillset. Depending on it. Trusting it.
That’s being a professional entrepreneur.