The Non-trepreneur: My Version of a Business Owner
“I would never have defined myself as an entrepreneur. A lot of times when I thought of classical entrepreneurs, I [thought] OK they’re risk takers, they’re big idea thinkers. And I was like ‘OK, I don’t fit that.’”
– Angie Hicks, Co-Founder of Angie’s List
I must have looked like a real live bobble head for anyone who would have seen me vigorously nodding along to these words as I listened to this episode of the How I Built This podcast in my car.
Like Angie, I always held such reverence for the word entrepreneur because to me, they were these larger than life people who had these profound, world-changing ideas. They took massive risks, and the leapt headstrong in to the void of uncertainty that so often comes with building something new.
These notions could not be further from who I am as a person.
I am and always have been calculated, logical, unbelievably organized, risk-averse, and someone who nerded-out over processes and systems and a beautiful execution plan. Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up.
Now while few things excite me more than being handed a problem and being able to come up with a strategic, creative solution… that was always done in the comfort of working for someone else’s company.
But there was always this little voice that said “You can do this on your own.”
For years I was too terrified to even consider starting my own company but then having my daughter was the final push I needed.
As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I knew I couldn’t return to working downtown Toronto. I was driving to and from Bowmanville, which usually meant I was in the car 3-4 hours a day, and I couldn’t fathom spending that much time away from my daughter each day. Not to mention how draining it would be to physically continue that commute as a mother.
So when it came time to return to work, I found a local Admin job that meant I could be on daycare drop off and pick up duty and close by if a situation arose where my daughter needed to be picked up. And this situation worked well, for a while…
About a year in to this new role I started to deeply miss the kind of work I used to be able to do in Toronto. I missed the strategy and the quick thinking. I missed the variety of working with all different kinds of clients and their businesses. I missed the challenge.
So through a series of events that unfolded much faster than I ever would have imagined, I found myself handing in my notice and setting off to build a life and a business where I could do the work I was so passionate about and still be physically close to home.
All of this felt great but then when I first started attending networking and educational events after starting my company I felt like a complete imposter amongst all the amazing entrepreneurs and business owners I was meeting. So much so that I questioned if I was the right “type” of person to be an entrepreneur.
I finally coined the term Non-trepreneur at one of these networking events while I was explaining to someone that my business was actually about helping others with their business. I was having this very discussion about how I didn’t really feel like an entrepreneur because I didn’t feel I had all the tenacity and innovation of that of a traditional entrepreneur.
Over time I have come to own the fact that I’m the person who works behind the scenes to help elevate others businesses. I love my self-proclaimed title on the Non-trepreneur because it represents that while I don’t fit the traditional model, I’m still doing it. I feel incredibly proud to lend my business background and strategic mind to build up the actual business side of entrepreneurs’ dreams and propel them to new heights in their ventures.
God bless the dreamers who further our world with their brilliant and crazy ideas. But let’s also give a shout out to the nerds in the background who help run the machine.
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