Step 2: Claim Your Identity

It took me a while to claim my identity as an entrepreneur.

I thought the true mark of an entrepreneur was in the financial statements, but that’s not where entrepreneurship starts.

In fact, every entrepreneur starts with an idea. That is exactly all I had in the beginning- an idea.

I did not have a website, trademark, clients, pricing, mission or vision statement, mentors or anything else to flesh out my ideas.

I wanted to see the “proof” of being an entrepreneur before I started calling myself one.

Now I know that the relentless pursuit of an idea is all the proof anyone needs to call themselves an entrepreneur.

Early in the beginning, I had an identity crisis. This was in part because I could not find my voice, but also because I did not want to take on the mantle of entrepreneurship. The whole situation was weird. I wanted to start my own business and I really liked the services I provided, but at the same time, I was scared to call myself an entrepreneur.

My insecurity came from my lack of stuff. I thought “real” entrepreneurs had offices and business cards and contacts and all this extra stuff that I lacked.

Now I know that’s not true.

The real turning point for me was when I started going to networking events. Before my first networking event, I created business cards and my website. Even though I had a couple of the things I thought “real” entrepreneurs had, I still did not feel like I could claim that title.

The purpose of a networking event is to build meaningful relationships. During that networking event, everything synced. I was excited to hear other peoples’ stories and elated to share my own. I enjoyed engaging in a community of professionals and I felt like I belonged. Plus explaining not just what but why I did what I did over and over again made me fall more in love with my business.

I realized that night that my business is an extension of myself.

Being an entrepreneur is not about the amount of stuff you have or the number of clients in your book. It’s about you and the vision you have for yourself. Entrepreneurship is an extension of who you are as an individual and the commitment to make that part of you viable. Everything else- the office, the business cards, the contacts, the website- is secondary.

Without you all that stuff you think you need (I thought I needed) is meaningless.

If you have an idea that you are willing to pursue relentlessly, then you are an entrepreneur.

Claim your identity. 

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