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Becoming an entrepreneur

I shared previously my story of finding it hard to accept that I was a designer. Later, it was about being comfortable being called a facilitator. Now, it's about coming to terms with a new role.

I'm an entrepreneur, because as Adam Hayes puts it:

An entrepreneur is an individual who creates a new business, bearing most of the risks and enjoying most of the rewards.

My father ran a business. He built it as I was growing up, only finally selling it a few years ago to my brother. Further to my dad, I've always been inspired by role models that have started businesses.

One of those key figures is Simon Mottram. Simon founded Rapha, who make the world's finest cycling apparel, out of a personal need and a desire to create something for himself, having worked with luxury brands in a previous role as director at Interbrand.

Looking at my situation, I'm no longer a product designer. I understand it, can critique it, and can help mentor others, but it's no longer the thing I love to deliver. I'm also no longer a facilitator. I can do it, often it pleases me no end, but it's not a huge area of growth for me. To an extent, I feel I have 'been there, done that.'

The next step for me is adding 'entrepreneur' to the list. That word does have a branding problem. My wife shudders at the sound of it!

I freaking love sales and marketing, being an ambassador for what I do and talking to people about problems and possible solutions. What qualifies me more than most I believe is that I truly understand design, delivering outcomes and ensuring people engage and enjoy along the journey.

I've had previous too. Starting a design sprint department from scratch enabled me to do all the bits I love. I used the term "intrapreneur" briefly and it worked.

One of the key things I have learnt in my career is that when you're really great at what you do, set a higher goal. Enter a larger ocean and start swimming. It's hard, like all new things, and at times uncomfortable, but lean into it. It's that that keeps us growing.