Entrepreneurs are a little weird. They’re quirky and unpredictable. Some of it comes from their unconventional approach to make things happen. Some of it comes from their desire to change the world. And some of it comes from their creativity and ingenuity. Right?
We’re *all* a little weird. The difference with entrepreneurs is that they let their weirdness show. They feel comfortable being who they are at work because it’s their company, their products, their money, and their creation. What you see is what you get. There’s no B.S.’ing, politicking, or maneuvering.
When you work for others, you’re expected to conform to the organization’s culture, standards of professionalism, politics, etc. Those who do, make it. Those who don’t, move on.
I call it the “light switch effect.” When I used to work in corporate America, I felt like I had to turn on a switch when I got to work and become someone I really wasn’t. That made me feel very uncomfortable. And when I left work, I could turn off that figurative switch and go back to being me.
When I went out on my own, I realized the light switch disappeared. I could be myself everyday, all day. Fortunately, as I transitioned into academia, the light switch didn’t reappear, at least not everyday. Universities are wonderful at accepting weirdness but, I must add, they’re more comfortable with faculty weirdness than staff weirdness. But, I digress.
For those of you who aren’t entrepreneurs, find work that takes advantage of your weirdness. Find an employer where you fit in, where you’re comfortable being you, and where other people seem weird. Find a place where your quirks, goofiness, and idiosyncrasies can actually add unique ingredients to the recipe.
For those of you who are entrepreneurs, take advantage of your weirdness. Put your personal stamp on the company, its culture, the way you do things, your mission statement, and how you interact with people. Talk about how weird you, your organization, and your people are. Let that personality come through on your website and in your marketing materials.
No, not all people will respond to it in a positive, constructive way. But you’ll attract people and do business with those who appreciate that weirdness, making for a wonderful workplace for them and you.
Oh, yeah, one more thing. Don’t ever, I mean ever, add that light switch at work.