While the industrial revolution placed the means of production, and job creation, in the hands of the few, the technological revolution has provided the many with the ability to create their own jobs. Entrepreneurialism is increasing as a result.
Technology and Entrepreneurialism
The technological revolution is having as powerful an impact on employment as the industrial revolution had in the past. Once again, traditional jobs are being eliminated, while new types of work are being created. For the first time in history, technology has made it possible to imagine a world in which “jobs” can be replaced by meaningful, and even enjoyable, work.
If necessity is the mother of invention, stagnant wages coupled with rising prices have created the necessity for people to invent their own jobs. Another contributing factor is the decrease in job security. Long-term career incentives like pension plans and employer-funded health care benefits have largely gone the way of the manual typewriter. Unlike workers of the past who often worked for a single company until retirement, today’s workers remain with a company for an average of only 4.2 years.
It would be difficult to estimate the number of books that have been written about how to achieve success. Since the advent of the internet, the number of web pages dedicated to that topic can probably be counted in the millions. However, the definition of success is changing. For today’s workers, success is not measured just in dollars, but in overall quality of life.
The quality of life index includes criteria such as mutually respectful working relationships and a balance between work and enjoying time with family and friends. Another increasingly important consideration is whether the work itself has a positive meaningful impact in the world. Today’s entrepreneurs realize that investing time and effort into learning new information, developing new skills, and improving upon their current skills is essential not just for achieving success, but for sustaining it.
Many people associate the term “sustainability” with renewable energy sources. It is most often used in discussions of replacing non-renewable fossil fuels with cleaner, renewable sources such as hydrogen, solar, and wind power. Long-term entrepreneurial success consists of a continual series of daily successes. Those daily successes require continual re-examination of changing technology and market conditions and adapting to those changes. No matter how successful a business model has proved to be, adhering to the same model under different conditions will not produce the same results. It would be like building a new factory with machinery that runs on fossil fuels in the year 2041, despite the negative environmental impact and expert predictions that fossil fuels will be depleted by the year 2042.
Entrepreneurial sustainability requires a commitment to creating and maintaining trust based on mutually respectful working relationships. The most important working relationship any entrepreneur will ever have is their relationship with themselves. Building self-trust begins with establishing personal priorities and goals that accurately reflect those priorities. Only then is it possible to develop both the skills and the other relationships necessary to achieve those goals.
Successful entrepreneurs may have differing opinions about what quality is most important for achieving success. Some point to persistence and determination, while others cite time management and communication skills. However, acquiring these qualities requires a daily commitment to investing the time and effort necessary to discover and develop all of your own unique capabilities to the fullest. Doing so will not only help sustain the life of your business, but also create a life worth living.