We now live in a world where we all have the freedom to create and express ourselves freely. We can now upload stories of our everyday lives and even grow a following by telling people our darkest secrets.
In a world where everyone can create, it should not surprise you that majority of people partake in the activity. Although not everyone would consider themselves a content creator, people take an active part in all the content that is being created around them. That may be through interacting with posts they saw online, sharing content with someone or creating their own.
It was not too long ago there were no such things as influencers, content creators or game streamers. Instead, we had celebrities, the regular news and a means to contact each other when we needed to. However, the world has changed drastically, and more individuals are starting to consider themselves content creators.
Fifty million people in the world consider themselves content creators. What is interesting about this number is that only a small number out of this 50 million are actually professional creators. By professional, I mean a qualified individual or established company creating content.
Only 9.3 million out of the 50 million people in the world claiming to be content creators are professionals. And that tells me that content creation done well can have a significant impact on others. Most of the industry is made up of amateur content creators looking up to the very few professional creators who have succeeded in their craft and now make a living.
It should also not be surprising that many of these creators exist on our favourite platforms. YouTube is home to 50% of the professional creators that exist today. This is shortly followed by the addictive Instagram.
Although the creator economy is growing our entrepreneurial spirits and allows us to have a voice, there is a dilemma at hand. In the past, the creator economy consisted of individuals that had a particular skill to share. That may have been cooking, hard skills like coding or soft skills like project management.
This side of the creator economy still exists on platforms like Udemy and Skillshare, but they have had to receive a much greater push than dancers on Instagram to catch our attention. The creator economy of the past was a much more reliable source for knowledge sharing and networking as there was a high barrier to entry.
Individuals had to be skilled or be able to produce good quality content to capture our eyes. But now, with the help of algorithms and easy accessibility to upload content from our phones, it is easier to put things out into the world.
Although this accessibility allows for the wealth of the creator economy to be shared, it has an inherent risk of false information. It also has the risk of people sharing or posting negative things to get other people’s attention.
We would like to think that negativity and false information would just be ignored on the web, but it is the most popular type of content. Have a look at the title of the article below.
That article got a tonne of views and interactions. I would not be surprised if the article is still making money today. Many of the comments were against it, and so they should be. However, there is something about the negativity that forces us to interact, engage and click on them.
The same goes for false information. Click-bait content still continues to exist despite many individuals complaining about it. And people are still out there making money from their courses that promise you $100,000 within your first three months of signing up.
Feeling you have a message to share is good, and the world we live in today supports that. It encourages creators and allows future entrepreneurs to start building a following or get traction for the next idea.
However, we must be careful that the messages we put out into the world are good and helpful for society. And this is one thing successful entrepreneurs have in common. They seek to enhance the lives of others through their creative endeavours and their messages.
You may say that there are many people in the world that are successful entrepreneurs that are not spreading a good message. So, it is essential that we define the purpose of entrepreneurs clearly.
Although I have used the example of content creation that has assisted in the rise of entrepreneurial spirits and pursuits, it is not the best way to define an entrepreneur.
To teach entrepreneurship to the next generation, we must first understand its purpose. Unfortunately, the meaning of entrepreneurship has been twisted and changed to suit the needs of the current times. However, having a good objective definition of entrepreneurship will assist the world in creating better ones for the future.
Unfortunately, education is taught from a third-person perspective. We teach most of the grounding subjects (maths, science, history, English) in the third person because they hold true concepts for us all. Gravity is a reality we all experience, so it would not make sense to teach it from a personal first-person perspective.
However, teaching subjects in this way does not allow the individual to have a unique interpretation of the concept. And hidden in our different perspectives is the source of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurial pursuits.
To teach entrepreneurship in the third person would not give us the right picture. We would end up with definitions like:
“Individuals who create new economic or social value”
However, that definition does not encompass what it truly means to be an entrepreneur. After all, there are many ways you could create new economic or social value. You could build scams, write negative articles or promote false information.
A definition like this also takes away from the personal attachment of what it means to be an entrepreneur. For example, the entrepreneur creating content experiences different challenges than a tech startup. However, they do share one thing.
They both share a first-person ontology which allows them to see the world as it could be. It is this seeing the world as it could be that leads to their desire to create value, build companies and spread a message.
Therefore, the purpose of entrepreneurship is double-edged. The recipients of their pursuit (the customers), experience it as a decision to undertake an activity due to a potential opportunity for profit. However, the individual in this pursuit (the entrepreneur), experiences it as a call to create a reality they wish to see in the world.
So, successful entrepreneurs get the purpose of entrepreneurship right first. They understand that it is a call to create a reality that they can see that leads to value creation for society. And successful entrepreneurs have a strong call that leads to their persistence.
If we want to see a world where people pursue their creative endeavours for the mutual benefit of society, we must teach them. As highlighted, the one thing all successful entrepreneurs have in common is a call to create the world as it could be based on their own personal perspectives. Yet still, there is more to it than that.
This is not enough to build a better world for the future generations coming after us. As people continue to take on creative endeavours such as side hustles, building companies and creating content, we must add a sense of personal responsibility.
We do this by firstly teaching the power of self-reflection. Teaching the next creators to understand the world as it is and how they seek to improve it is a vital part of entrepreneurship.
It allows the individual to enhance their mission, world experiences and purpose as they take time to understand how their view of the world improves the current circumstances. Allowing individuals to criticise the current models we have will give birth to solutions and a greater sense of belief.
However, with that change comes the second thing we must teach entrepreneurs. And that is accountability. Allowing the next creators to understand what they put into the world is inevitably a result of their experiences will strengthen their personal accounts.
It will let them know that their influence over others is a direct result of their beliefs, whether that be a company or podcast. Teaching accountability enhances:
We are heading towards a world of creation and freedom of expression. Individuality is a good thing but should never take away from our collective responsibility to safeguard life and the flourishing of others.
Therefore, how we teach entrepreneurship in the future will be pivotal to the output we get in the world. And one thing we can guarantee is that all successful entrepreneurs have a call to create the world as it could be through their unique perspectives.
However, they strengthen this call through self-reflection and having a personal account. Successful entrepreneurs understand their mission is needed through reflecting on the world. And they understand they are accountable for whatever they create.
The combination of these two things builds a world of creatives that seek to use their own perspectives to enhance the lives of others. And that is my definition of the purpose of an entrepreneur in a nutshell.
An individual that seeks to build the world as it could be to enhance the lives of those within society.
So, let us pursue all of our creative endeavours and entrepreneurial pursuits in this way. In doing so, we can build a better world and better people.
Dimov, D. and Pistrui, J. (2020). Entrepreneurship Education as a First-Person Transformation. Journal of Management Inquiry, 31(1), p.105649262096459. doi:10.1177/1056492620964592.
Geyser, W. (2021). The State of the Creator Economy | Definition, Growth & Market Size. [online] Influencer Marketing Hub. Available at: https://influencermarketinghub.com/state-of-the-creator-economy/#:~:text=Questions%20Read%20more- [Accessed 23 May 2022].
Suciu, P. (2021). Spotting Misinformation On Social Media Is Increasingly Challenging. [online] Forbes. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/petersuciu/2021/08/02/spotting-misinformation-on-social-media-is-increasingly-challenging/?sh=7a5b1ccc2771 [Accessed 23 May 2022].
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