Learning Journal – My entrepreneurial journey
• Reflect on content and activities covered in the workshops.
• Describe how you practice any entrepreneurial skills
• Awareness and reflections on topical entrepreneurial news items
• Interactions with social media regarding entrepreneurial activities
• Entrepreneurial communication and networking completed
• Entrepreneurial interviews & industry discussions conducted
• How you generated and applied inspiration
• How you increased and applied your Creativity & Innovation
• How you reviewed your Risk-Taking
• How you applied your Social and Ethical Responsibility (How did you try and make
the world a better place)
• Overall reflections
Two points of contention have baffled me for years, ever since I became aware of the concept of entrepreneurship: are entrepreneurs born or are they only carved out of ordinary people? I am well mindful of the fact that this has also been a topic of controversy in the public domain (Shefsky, 2011; Fisher & Koch, 2008). However, I am less concerned about society`s standpoint as I am on what my side of the debate I find myself comfortable in. Few can argue against the fact that the likes of Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerburg, and Steve Jobs were born tech geniuses, an element they fully exploited into innovative world-changing outcomes. From a personal standpoint, I believe real entrepreneurs are a blend of these two facets. I think we are all born with innate abilities that are dormant until we choose to activate them and exploit them to achieve desired outcomes. It takes a learning process, through failure, hardships, and tribulations to become successful entrepreneurs in a world full of complexities. The following journal attributes my journey through entrepreneurship, highlighting what I have learnt, exploited and achieved throughout the semester.
Skills, Qualities, Knowledge and Attributes
Even those who advocate for entrepreneurship being in-born can recognise that all entrepreneurs do inhabit many skills, qualities, knowledge and attributes that have positioned them where they are currently (Fisher & Koch, 2008). I think that the most significant characteristic of an entrepreneur may be a management skill. Administration in this light boils down to the most basic of elements such as time, available resources, relationships, networks, personal welfare, and psychological balance. These will always be reflected in how I can manage the bigger elements such as business operations, personnel, and public opinions and criticisms. Other attributes that define entrepreneurs include perseverance, hard work, ambition, faith, resilience, belief, and persistence.
ICT & Social Media
Advancements in ICT have completely changed how businesses operate in the modern world. Technology has come to become an intricate part of any business venture, a facet without which an entrepreneur will not be able to be competitive or achieve outcomes optimally. For instance, technologies such as computer, tablets, and mobile phones have become a part of everyday life. The latest generation of people may assume them as simple elements of life without having an intricate understanding of how much of a difference they make from conventional methods. Technology makes business processes easier, connects people in real-time, acts as an important research and development tool, and heightens abilities beyond human capabilities. However, one of the most influential and most powerful tools I have identified to date is social media. The social media has completely transformed the social landscape, reducing it to a small world where you can connect, build friendships, and network with possibly anyone anywhere in the world. This medium also provides a suitable tool for establishing new ideas and expanding present knowledge at unprecedented levels.
Communication & Networking
As I mention that before, technology such as computers, mobile phones, the internet, and social media to be precise that has transformed how we connect and communicate with people across the globe. I have as an entrepreneur exploited it to the best of my ability. I have been able to connect with people who I deem of positive influence in my entrepreneurial journey through various social sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google+. Still, I have been taking an active role in the different entrepreneurial forums on the internet that have helped me stimulate my thinking and develop an entrepreneurial spirit through being challenged by people who have already achieved success. Other than using technology nevertheless, I have still stuck to many conventional mechanisms of networking. Chief among these has been placing myself in places where I am more likely to meet successful entrepreneurs. These include workshops, forums, training programs, and business networking settings. These have proved pivotal in positioning me at a level where I am always being challenged to become a better person and fine-tune my entrepreneurial skills.
Creativity & Innovation
Perhaps one of the natural attributes in the debates highlighted at the beginning of this journal, I have come to learn that creativity and innovation are the intricate element of an entrepreneur. Since my days as a child, many things in my surroundings interested me, and I brightly remember how I would get into trouble with my parents for meddling with different things at home trying to make something that just existed in my imagination. I probably knew that this curiosity and experimentation would eventually come to be even more vivid in my entrepreneurial journey later in life. I am quite thankful that my parents did not discourage this spirit but instead nurtured it into a disciplined, controlled state. I do acknowledge myself as a dreamer; always coming up with what if is in my mind. However, I have learned through experience and mentorship that these will always remain dreams if I do not take positive action to actualise these dreams into reality. This has been the policy I have been doing for in my entrepreneurship journey; making true of my thoughts, words, and imagination through guided action. I believe this is what many would call a touch of creativity in innovation in what I pursue as an entrepreneur. I know I should be open to learning if I am to keep up with current trends and supplement my inborn creativity.
An entrepreneur can have all the skills, attributes, resources, and creativity on their side. However, these may prove to be substantially futile without the element of inspiration – be it internal or external (Bridge, 2010). Inspiration can accrue from various sides that could be unique to several individuals or similar to a considerable number of people. Inspiration is definitely one of the most important aspects that keep entrepreneurs focused on their ideas and ultimately achieve positive outcomes within criticisms and discouragement from their immediate environment. I have found inspiration in my entrepreneurial journey from people and events without as well as belief in my ideas and abilities. It was despite the fact that most of my friends did not share my visions and would just refute or ignore them. They would take back their words once they saw success in my ambitions, a factor that builds on my need to continue and remain inspired despite perils in the present. A thought that always passes my mind in difficult times when attempting to actualise my ideas are the hardships that great innovators such as Steve Jobs, the Wright Brothers, and Bill Gates had to contend with to receive the reputation they have today. It is usually a great inspiration.
Risk Taking is an element that has been discussed widely concerning entrepreneurship. Most of people would agree that an entrepreneur cannot achieve considerable success in his/ her effort without having to contend with a substantial level of risk. Risk can accrue from the smallest of things such allocating money to a project rather than investing on oneself to big business decisions that could either build or break one`s efforts. That is why it is important to acknowledge that something I have learned the hard way that entrepreneurs should neither be high or low-risk takers. They should make informed decisions and take calculated steps even when taking on the unknown. It would place one in a position where they could benefit considerably and be able to contend with losses in the event they become actualised. Risk will always be part of an entrepreneur considering this field does not have the level of security offered to one as an employee in the corporate. Entrepreneurs constantly should operate in an environment full of unknowns that should ultimately be resolved.
Social & Ethical Responsibility
I really appreciate that I have got in my entrepreneurial journey and in the way I do not take my achievements and support for granted. It did not take my sole effort but rather that of many stakeholders in society, most of whom I may not know at a personal level. It is for the reason that I have tried to volunteering was geared towards giving back to society, and I luckily was allocated to The Salvation Army for volunteering of 10 hours. I have made new strategies to attract people to donate and be interested of the charity. I actually took a whole day out my busy schedule to spend time with other volunteers. It was quite a joyous moment that I have got a new experience that help someone. All able-bodied Korean men must serve in the military for the country, so I will go back my country after this semester and then take the military service for about 2 years in Korea because this is also an ethical responsibility for me.
As this journal has highlighted, entrepreneurship is essentially a journey rather than a one-time event. My personal journey has been one of ups and downs that at times made me feel like giving up. However, I am thankful for the resilience and determination in me that motivated me through my entrepreneurial journey. This journey would be impossible without involving other people, each of who have had a different role to play in my road to success as entrepreneurship. Active networks are indispensable in an entrepreneur`s path to success. This is primarily because these are the people who create channels essential in maneuvering different hurdles as they arise. It is still important to give back to society, not only as a form of appreciation but to have a positive impact on society that would ultimately improve it. As an answer to the question rose at the beginning of this learning journal, I have come to believe that real entrepreneurs are neither born nor made. It all depends on what one perceives themselves and how far they are willing to make their dreams, imaginations, and thoughts into reality.