Entrepreneurship seems to be a popular pastime.
In developed nations, where opportunity abounds, more and more people are choosing the path of entrepreneurship. Rather than the road less travelled, entrepreneurship seems to be something that everyone wants a piece of--to at least "give it a try."
There are other trends, too. This year is proving to be an eventful one for the ever-changing world of entrepreneurship.
1. Everyone is doing it.
It seems like everyone calls themselves an entrepreneur. According to a report cited in Inc, "The U.S. now has 27 million entrepreneurs." This is staggering when you consider that this number is nearly a fifth of all working adults.
Entrepreneurship certainly has appeal. But beyond the appeal is the action. Quoting Inc., "Better yet, 80 percent of those who plan to start businesses in the next three years are doing something about it, such as leasing space or registering their companies." The barriers to entrepreneurship are technically low. You don't need a ton of capital or to jump through dozens of bureaucratic hoops. The real test of these entrepreneurs is how long they'll last once they realize how hard it really is.
2. Intrapreneurs are becoming more common.
What is an intrapreneur? Here's Murray Newland's explanation:
Intrapreneurship is a relatively recent concept that focuses on employees of a company that have many of the attributes of entrepreneurs. An intrapreneur is someone within a company that takes risks in an effort to solve a given problem.
The word "intrapreneur" is hard to say and easy to misunderstand, so a lot of companies are simply calling these people "internal entrepreneurs."
In Eric Ries's book The Lean Startup, he describes many such successful entrepreneurs. The entrepreneur is typically thought of as a lone ranger who goes forth, unattached to any corporate entity, to blaze his or her trail and start a company from scratch.
The reality is, many established companies need the bravado and insight of an entrepreneur to take risks, launch movements, and shake things up. More and more companies are hiring these internal entrepreneurs.
3. Solopreneurs are making it big time.
A solopreneur is an entrepreneur who runs their business alone. Traditionally, they don't have employees, although they certainly have contractors. The appeal of a solopreneurship venture is that it keeps things lean, nimble, minimal, and free. The challenge, however, is that is can limit scalability and greater growth.
Sure, there will always be those entrepreneurs who aspire to unicorn status. But I believe we are beginning to see the end of the unicorn startup.
Solopreneurship is definitely a great option, especially for those whose entrance into entrepreneurship is still a part-time pursuit.
4. Entrepreneurs are marketers.
Entrepreneurs can come from any industry, have any background, and are experts at any trade. But I'm seeing more and more marketers become entrepreneurs.
Here's why I think this is happening. Skilled marketers have seen their skills grow a business. They know that virtually any product or service can sell, as long as they unleash their marketing powers upon it.
For this reason, they believe, they can make an impact with a new business. In the past, the entrepreneur was a tradesman--someone who possessed a creative skill that could sell. Their success, however, was limited in direct proportion to their business ability.
The rise of the marketing class of entrepreneurs is a good thing. These people, with their growth hacking and marketing savvy, can push startups to success farther and faster than ever before.
5. Hiring contract workers is the thing to do.
Attracting top talent for a startup has always been a challenge. Where do you find a top-notch coder, an expert copywriter, or a skilled marketer?
Increasingly, the common solution is to find these people on contract worker sites. Popular websites provide highly skilled people a place to gain visibility and find gigs. It's a win-win, allowing startups to find the talent that they need without having to take on the time and expense of making a new hire.
6. Entrepreneurs are laser-focused on revenue.
More entrepreneurs are seeing the need to focus on revenue, first and foremost. There was a time when funding was plenteous and an entrepreneur could make a few pitches and gain a few thousand. Today, however, funding is limited. The entrepreneur is forced to gain early viability and near instant revenue.
In my opinion, this is a great development. It can be easy for an entrepreneur to become comfortable with limited growth, depending on the deep pockets and future rounds of investment.
When an entrepreneur shifts his focus from funding to revenue, the business is more likely to succeed.
7. Few entrepreneurs are starting big companies.
The ideal entrepreneurial venture happens with a Macbook and a vision. An entrepreneur starting, say, a manufacturing plant, or a worldwide transportation company is not a popular pursuit.
Elon Musk stands in stark contrast to the minimalist trend. His entrepreneurial pursuits include starting a rocket transport company, an auto manufacturer, and a solar company.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are the digital nomads, whose income-generating activities on, say, Fiverr or Upwork, allow them to stay lean, travel, seek adventure, and still run viable businesses.
There's no question about it. Entrepreneurship is changing, and I believe that many of these changes are positive.
How else will entrepreneurship evolve in the next few months or years?
I don't know. But whatever changes take place, I want to be a part of them.
How have you seen entrepreneurship change recently?