Being an entrepreneur is not for everyone. But entrepreneurs are known to possess certain qualities that make them successful, and every worker can take a page from their playbook to help advance their careers.
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The latest government data might show the labor market is improving as the unemployment rate dropped to a five-year low in November, but competition for finding and keeping a job remains fierce. This means it’s more imperative than ever for employees to maintain their relevance--not only with their employers, but also within their industries.
Consider these four career tips that are at the core of many entrepreneurs’ spirit, to give you an edge on the competition:
1. Never get comfortable. The days of staying at the same company for your whole professional life are long gone. That’s something from our grandparents’ generation. If you get too comfortable in your job, you may find yourself unintentionally parting ways with your employer. Entrepreneurs know it's imperative to stay on your professional toes: Always work to grow your network and make sure you stay in touch with the key players in your industry. This allows you to always know who’s hiring, just like a successful entrepreneur is always up to date on the shifts in their marketplace. After all, you never know where an opportunity will arise.
2. Recognize that you (not your boss) determine your professional success. Sure, it’s true that your boss holds most of the cards for your career path within that organization, but that doesn’t mean you blindly have to accept his/her judgment. The truth is, your employer is nothing more than the equivalent of an entrepreneur's client or customer. There are always customers and clients looking to hire if you offer what they need. Spend some time taking stock in what you provide as an employee and make sure that matches up with what your boss or other companies need.
3. Accept that you are a brand. Entrepreneurs spend a lot of time and money establishing and cultivating their brand because they know the value of a strong brand in luring in customers and clients. A brand is nothing more than the way others see you. If you want to be seen as a viable candidate for a particular position or promotion, then it’s your job to think about how you are presenting yourself to your employer or to potential employers.
4. Own your position. Entrepreneurs succeed when they give their all to their company. They live and breathe by their business, and know their main goal should always be to fulfill customers’ needs. Employees need to take a similar approach. All jobs are about one thing: filling a company’s needs. Change your mindset and own your position. Recognizing that your company is your customer and the work you apply to your job should be focused solely on meeting your organization’s needs and goals. Good things happen to employees who make decisions with the company’s needs in mind, rather than their own.
Lindsay Broder, The Occupreneur™ Coach (on Twitter @occupreneur), is a certified professional coach based in New York. A Wall Street veteran, she specializes in Occupreneur™ coaching, strategy and crisis management services for executives, business leaders and organizations who strive to improve their businesses or careers.