Ten Signs You Are An Entrepreneur

July 3rd, 2010 · 4 Comments · Blogging Journey, Property Management

Results Oriented

Business owners are by nature results oriented. If you are like me and you are as result oriented as I am, you become unemployable by conventional employers. Buildings, for example are a hide bound bureaucracy. Even when they’re half empty they still don’t consider that they have done anything wrong, they generally believe that it’s the staff’s fault. After being your own boss for a while you’ll become unemployable because your resume sucks and the only thing that you can qualify for is a grunt job. This you will not enjoy because after years of working and thinking for yourself you will be asked to substitute other people’s thinking for your own and kissing ass.

Stupid Tasks and the Reaction of the Results Oriented Person

A good example of this was when I worked at a building and we photocopied keys and money. This is a very stupid idea which serves no purpose other than to waste toner. We didn’t even get the tenant to sign those photocopies to prove that they had received the keys. We also had another unit inspection form to fill out that included a signature that did have a check box to indicate that the tenant had received the keys. I never could bring myself to photocopy keys or money.

Don’t Be Fooled By Minor Improvements

Conversely one thing that was stupid that I did get changed was the keeping of multiple deposits on file in our office. Knowing people I don’t trust people with cash. Anyone who had access to the office (well over 10 people) had access to the files, with at one point, over $5000 in cool hard cash. I am an honest person and I don’t steal but I’m aware that some people do and I don’t like being blamed for stealing. The first job I had I worked as a waitress and was accused of stealing $20 which was later discovered behind the cash drawer. When money goes missing everyone is suspected and people get blamed irrationally.

At the same time as we started depositing the deposit money we also started not returning deposit money if the people changed their mind. This made the building owner money so I was a hero for about 2 seconds. Still even though I made a major improvement to the risk management of the building and increased the income, the next time I suggested an improvement the reception was the same.

Spectrum between Process and Results Orientation

There is a spectrum between process and results oriented people. That is some people are very process oriented people then there are people who are in the middle and then or course the very results oriented person and these are our entrepreneurs. I can’t help being results oriented any more than a process oriented person can help liking rules and safety. I just want to solve the problem and how I get there doesn’t matter to me. For process oriented people they like steps, procedures and filling out form in triplicate.

Are you an Alien?

So if you find that like myself you feel like a bit of an alien, you may well be suited to start your business instead of irritating all your bosses and co-workers with your questions. I am just naturally curious and want to understand why things are done the way they are done. Once I develop the understanding then I can improve the process and efficiency. For instance in one building where I worked we logged all rents paid in 7 different places. Furthermore this was all done by the exact same person, it wasn’t verified by anyone else. I made the mistake of asking why we logged payments in 7 different places once and was told to mind my own business. Our building accountant was overworked and had many jobs to do such as change the enter code system;  he didn’t get to do it very often because he was busy entering the same information in 7 different places. This really ticked off new residents because it would be months before they could let visitors into the building.

Figure Out Where You Will Excel

What does this mean for the results oriented person? Well it means you will excel at jobs where people give you a quantifiable goal such as fill all the vacancies in this building or dig this 20 foot ditch or improve sales then they leave you alone to figure it out with a person who is more process oriented to provide balance, mention that things are against the rules and to fill out forms.  The results oriented person, once they hear that they have to dig a 20 foot ditch will first ask why the ditch needs to be dug and start digging. They intrinsically understand that the only way to dig a ditch is to start one shovel full at a time. Then they’ll dig your ditch and keep digging till it’s done. The process orient person will be checking their watch, taking their breaks and standing around the top of the ditch leaning on their shovel. They’ll also want to leave immediately at quitting time and the results oriented person will be saying things like “Screw that, we only have 2 more feet to go and we’re done. I don’t want to come back here tomorrow and dig ditches again.” This can easily be seen at any union job for the city. There’s usually one skinny old guy digging the hole and a bunch of guys standing around leaning on their shovels watching.

Signs You are a Born and Bred Entrepreneur

  1. You like accomplishing or finishing hard tasks as quickly and efficiently as possible.
  2. You like asking questions about why things are done the way they are.
  3. You don’t care about popularity
  4. You love learning about your interests but don’t like school
  5. You are ready to break a few eggs to make an omelet
  6. Your co-workers come to you when something needs doing immediately and it’s yours
  7. You don’t mind taking calculated risks
  8. You’re a critical or scientific thinker, you like to verify “facts” for yourself rather than rely on assumptions
  9. You don’t like busy work or wasting time
  10. You’ve held jobs or done unusual things since you were young.

Avoid Bureaucracy and Team Think

In this day and age of bureaucracy and team think, a born and bred entrepreneur will find it painful, difficult and impossible to do well at some kinds of work. It seems to me that there are some places I could have enjoyed working for other people but I chose property management. Computers and IT and Internet related activities all seem to attract results oriented people. Even thought I’m not too good at computers Google sounds like a place where I’d work for free. They reward ideas and gather as many problem solving results oriented people as they can. As a consequence they actually have to make rules about how long to work and that employees must take time off. My experiences with fellow bloggers have been awesome. You can find people willing to help you to achieve your goal. They are sharing information all over the net about how to have the best blog! They are innovators.

Buildings

Compare this to buildings, first of all, in Toronto no one’s built a building for 20 years. Staff are paid salary and don’t get paid for extra time worked. There is no reward for exceptional performance. Every time in the last 20 years some thing’s gone wrong they made a rule and people just follow it forever. Imagine how many rules there are after 20 years. They just keep doing the same things over and over again even when they no longer work. A great example of this is job letters as proof of income. Before everyone had computers and work processors this was probably good. Now anyone with the will, and 10 minutes can cut and paste any company logo and create their own job letter. Then there’s the way your front line workers interpret your process, one lady told me that bankrupt applicants were better because they were more likely to be approved past the 30% income rule most buildings have. I also recall her telling people just to take the bank letter and get it stamped and not worry about filling out the amounts. So even though the process oriented people are filling out the forms and copying the keys and money they just do it to do it. Why they are doing it and what the reasons are for doing things and the desired result are completely unimportant to them. As far as they are concerned they’ve done a great job. They’ve followed the process exactly to the letter so they can’t get in trouble. Not using your common sense is not something you will get fired for.

How to succeed

What is important is realizing what kind of person you are and placing yourself in a position to succeed. If you get a job that requires a lot of process oriented thinking you will be dreadfully unsuccessful and probably go mad. If there is a lot of bureaucracy where you work, you also won’t be happy and you will probably never be promoted either. If you have the mistaken impression that your ideas will get you somewhere and you work for such a place and you aren’t great at kissing ass, forget it. Pretty much the only time you will be welcome is when the situation gets so bad, the business is going under or some other completely desperate situation is happening. Then you will be praised for a very short period of time until the situation is normal again. Then you will be relegated to the broom closet you initially came from.

Find a place where you will be surrounded with other people like yourself and appreciated for your successes. Small businesses, IT, self employment are all places you will enjoy working and contribute greatly.

Cheers!

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4 Comments so far ↓

  • Jordan

    Interesting post, I’ve never thought about the results vs. process orientation aspect of a job before. Good perspective. As an aside, photocopying money (which you describe near the beginning of your post) has a lot of legal issues attached to it. Generally it’s a bad idea to try to scan or copy paper money, especially if you have good equipment.

    Found your site through a random link (a commenter on Garth Turner’s blog, I think). Will be back.

    • Rachelle

      Thanks Jordan, I’m not sure who’s linking me. Thanks angel linker !

      People don’t generally thing about unless they are at one of the two extremes. The results oriented thinker is the guy who’s always trying to change things for the better at his company. The process oriented thinker is the one who knows all the rules and tries to make everyone follow them to the smallest scintilla.

  • Creig

    Great article. Best read so far out of all your reads. I bumped up on your blog through canadian money advisor because I started a security company sometime ago and was looking for an extra service to basically have as my wild card. I own a security company btw, offering security guards.

    I am fairly young, and thought to myself I can’t do things like everyone else– I will not be a follower. So I thought in addition to security, I would do either facility management, property managent, information security, cleaning etc (as they do in the UK).

    However, after hearing your woes about property management, I think I would stick to my own field of work and be the best I can be at it. If you ever need security, give me a call or an email cpierre@defron.ca, and if I ever need a house, I would contact you. BTW, how hard was it for you to get started?

    • Rachelle

      It wasn’t hard, I went to school for it. It is harder to get into the buildings simply because they want a “very serious” manager.