Are You a Careerpreneur? 7 Ways to Tell If You Are

We can't all be entrepreneurs, there's simply not enough problems that need to be solved and it takes a certain innate quality to venture out on your own. At some point though, we will all have to establish and manage our careers, and there's no reason we can't apply an entrepreneur's mindset to this task. It's the combination of managing your career and thinking like an entrepreneur that brings us to the concept of "careerpreneurs".

I came across this term a week ago while surfing the internet and immediately felt a strong affinity for it. After doing some further research I found it used as far back as 2000, although it doesn't seem to have gained as much momentum as other "preneur" suffixed terms such as "technopreneur" or "mompreneur". Every professional, regardless of age should operate their career as a successful company. Below are some principles that successful careerpreneurs possess.

A Careerpreneur is Founder and CEO of "My Career Inc." – Google, Facebook and Apple may have been created by dynamic duos, but there's definitely no co-founder for this start-up company. You are the sole founder and top executive for this business, and all decisions are made by you. You grow your career from modest beginnings to the behemoth that you expect it to be. As the CEO, you wear many hats and are ultimately accountable for the success or failure of your career. You need to ensure your product (skills and qualifications) is marketed effectively by the company (you).

A Careerpreneur has a business plan – Whether it's written on the back of a napkin or more formerly typed in 12pt font on Word, a business plan that documents the intended execution of your product and the market for which this product demands is absolutely necessary. Even entrepreneurs that don't seek investment require a business plan to clearly communicate the product offering and the strategies to bring this product to the market. Careerpreneurs must also articulate a long-term strategy for career management that demonstrates progression and growth. It differs from a standard CV which is just a snapshot of one's credentials at any point in time. A Career Plan on the other hand has a much broader scope and maps your development into the future. Remember, failing to plan means planning to fail!

A Careerpreneur creates value – I wrote about this previously as a requisite for sales people, but creating value is of utmost importance to a company. Positions exist in organizations for candidates to produce more value than the cost of hiring them. Similarly, entrepreneurs offer products and services that create more value than the cost of purchasing the products and services. If this equation is inversely balanced then a market for such a product wouldn't exist. Careerpreneurs constantly prove they can add value to organizations throughout their careers and can dollarise their worth. If their skills increase sales revenue by $ 1M, then they are surely worth some of the profit on the $ 1M.

A Careerpreneur aggressively increases income – Most people will settle for "earning a living". It meets their needs to survive or live comfortably and they generally earn more with seniority. Entrepreneurs don't settle for earning a uniform monthly paycheque; instead they are constantly looking for ways to increase income – upselling, new products, advertising and so on. A careerpreneur employs a similar strategy to his or her career by continually looking for new ways to generate income. It may be by working overtime or intrapreneurial activities that lead to a pay rise, or it could be through external opportunities such as property investment or opening a restaurant.

A Careerpreneur has a competitive advantage – When any investor assesses the risk of investment into an entrepreneur and his company, one of the most crucial issues on the forefront of their mind is the competitive landscape. If a new service enters an already competitive market and cannot demonstrate how it adds value over and above the existing players, it won't get funded. Investors look for innovators, not imitators! Likewise, careerpreneurs are confident of their product offering and are able to exhibit the unique strengths they bring to the table to build illustrious careers. After all each candidate is evaluated for a job position in relation to many other applicants for the same position.

A Careerpreneur builds a solid network – It's rare you'll find an entrepreneur today that doesn't do his fair share of networking. It's not necessarily about having to rely on other people, but networking opens doors to opportunities you would have never imagined before. I personally aim to build my network as much as possible because the more people I meet and interact with, the more people I have as ambassadors of my company. A Careerpreneur recognises that "who you know" is as important as "what you know" and will strive to build a solid network of contacts around their personal brand. During their career many opportunities will arise through personal encounters and referrals.

A Careerpreneur adapts to change – You've heard the saying that "the only constant thing is change", well that's as close a depiction of entrepreneurship as you can get. Entrepreneurs are endlessly faced with changing customer requirements, product features, economic conditions, market demand and so on. Not only must they be resilient and bounce back after setbacks, they must also possess the agility to adapt to changing market conditions. An inability to do this may mean the difference between death and survival. Careerpreneurs must also be nimble enough to flourish in a diverse array of roles to accommodate their careers in tumultuous economic conditions. The recent global financial crisis has tested many professionals across the world and the ones able to recover smoothly have been those prepared for change.

Well the above are certainly traits that every job-seeker should possess. It's an enterprising way to consider our career and keep us honest. The more proactive we are managing our careers as CEO of My Career Inc. we'll find a direct correlation with an increased sense of career fulfillment. Try and apply the above steps to your career, no matter what stage you are at, and enjoy greater vocational freedom.

We won't all be entrepreneurs, but there's no reason we can't be careerpreneurs.