Expert Professional or Entrepreneur? You Choose
My heart goes out to the man who does his work when the “boss” is away, as well as when he is at home – Elbert Hubbard, A Message To Garcia
In a world where people are more concerned about their work and career, I’ve heard a lot of people asking whether they should work for someone else or for themselves. In trying to answer their questions, I have thought it necessary to make them aware of the differences between being the employed and being the employer. I do this because people accomplish more in their work when they are happy at what they do. And to be happy at what you do means feeling totally comfortable with whatever it is you have chosen as your occupation.
It takes a lot more than a person’s education or skill set in determining whether to be an entrepreneur or an expert professional. Things like a person’s personality and lifestyle, their strengths, weaknesses and experiences have to be taken into account when making such an important decision. Some people like working in businesses they own, while others enjoy working for people who own businesses.
My personal definition of an expert professional or an entrepreneur helps me to realise the distinction between the two and helps me to advise people as best as I can.
An expert to me is someone who has accumulated specific knowledge and developed skills in a particular field of study. An architect for example would be classed as an expert in drawing detailed designs of things that can be later developed. Such an expert would be expected to know their stuff inside out because of the amount of time and effort spent in becoming a qualified professional architect. They have a lot of knowledge in this one field and aren’t required to know what other expert professionals like doctors and lawyers know. Professionals like to be given a job to do and they get on with it. They help to solve problems within companies and industries and are more likely to know a lot about a little. For this reason, such expert professionals do not necessarily need to (and seldom do) own their own businesses. They enjoy working for others as part of a team of professionals. They like being employed.
An expert entrepreneur on the other hand seems to be the opposite of the expert professional. While the latter knows a lot about a little, the entrepreneur makes it his business to know a little about a lot. Instead of the specialised knowledge and skill sets of the expert professional, entrepreneurs gather general knowledge which they use to try and help a lot of people. While the professional helps to solve problems within organisations and industries, the entrepreneur looks for problems to solve in the world. Although this makes them more independent, it also means they have a lot more responsibilities. Since they need the help of other expert professionals in achieving their goals, they usually end up becoming employers.
A professional architect who decides to start his own firm of architects for example, will not be solely concerned with the business of architecture, but will now need to familiarise himself with the business of company formation, management, recruitment, payroll and much more. He will need to be informed about the state of different departments which are headed by other professionals within his new firm. As an architectural professional alone, this did not need to be his business but as an employer, it must! Employers need to find ways for everyone to be able to do their jobs and be compensated for their efforts. They need to make a lot of people happy and for this reason, they are usually very skilled at public relations and persuasion techniques; skills that require a lot of general knowledge about different people and situations.
Now that you know the difference between an expert professional and an expert entrepreneur, which one do you think suits you best as a career choice? Do you enjoy working and finding solutions as part of a team? Or do you prefer looking for problems to solve for mankind? Do you know a lot about a little or a little about a lot? How can your experiences, knowledge and skills be put to the best use? Do you feel more comfortable being employed or does your vision require you to employ others? How do you see yourself truly helping people? What kind of work allows you to be yourself and to be truly happy?
Asking yourself these questions and probably a few more will help you in deciding where you should be and why. They will also help you to identify what should be your life’s work and where your skills will be more effective and appreciated. In the end, it’s simply about loving what you do as Research In Motion‘s Blackberry so rightly suggest.
I wish you all the best in your search for your perfect career. Now, get out there, have fun, and be lucky!
By E. Nyoreme Nakpodia
Expert Professional or Entrepreneur? You Choose © 2012 Nyoremes Books, a subsidiary of Nyoremes Inc.