Not all entrepreneurial ventures succeed. And sometimes when they do, the next opportunity may be as a hired gun. I hear many entrepreneurs claim they are unemployable. (I myself may have claimed it once or twice.) So recently on my podcast YPO 10 Minute Tips From the Top when I interviewed Asheesh Advani, I needed to find out how he has been successful in all roles.
Advani, a member of the Young Presidents' Organization (YPO), is a serial entrepreneur who sold his first company to British billionaire Richard Branson, sold his second company to American billionaire Thomas Peterffy, and is now CEO of Junior Achievement Worldwide. He considers himself an entrepreneur but also has been a top employed executive in both corporate and nonprofit leadership settings. He spoke about his career trajectory and offered this advice on how to become a successfully employable entrepreneur.
Oh, and these tips will actually help anyone be more successful.
1. Own every opportunity.
Many entrepreneurs aren't willing to take ownership of something they didn't create. It isn't their baby, so why should they care so deeply for it? Working in a number of differing environments, including the World Bank, gave Advani a broader perspective. "That experience taught me that I didn't have to feel like I had to create something to own it," he noted. "Entrepreneurs have that flaw. If it's not something they developed, then it's much more challenging to get them motivated to own it." Entrepreneurs that fail to take ownership over opportunities will ultimately find fewer to learn from.
2. Be empathetic.
Some entrepreneurs struggle getting emotionally vested in someone else's passion. Lack of passion can translate as apathy toward the people involved in those projects. Advani suggests connecting on common ground and learning empathy. If you can imagine yourself in someone else's shoes, you can find reason to get more involved in their projects and drive to success.
3. Learn from listening.
Advani evangelizes, "It's all about communication skills." Ironically he believes the very skills that make entrepreneurs great are the same ones that bring success when working for others. He explains, "Many entrepreneurs are really successful salespeople because they listen." Advani advises entrepreneurs to listen to everyone, be they clients, managers, colleagues or subordinates, as there is something to learn from everyone.
Each week on his podcast, Kevin has conversations with members of the (YPO), the world's premiere peer-to-peer organization for chief executives, eligible at age 45 or younger.