How to be Entrepreneurial Without Starting a Business


Written by Vancouver Connector Dina Lu

When you hear the word entrepreneur, what comes to your mind? Maybe Steve Jobs or Elon Musk? Do you immediately think of famous entrepreneurs who have big, successful companies?

While Steve Jobs and Elon Musk are definitely entrepreneurs, being entrepreneurial doesn’t mean that you have to start your own company.

In today’s fast changing world, having an entrepreneurial mindset will help you be successful, whether that be at school, in your career, or in your personal projects.

You’ll know how to take initiative, think innovatively, solve problems creatively, and collaborate with others. It’s mindset that is unique, well-rounded and increasingly valued. It will help you reach your goals, no matter how ambitious they are!

Don’t know where to start? Here are a few ways that you can cultivate and embrace an entrepreneurial mindset without starting a business:


1.       Start a club

Do you know if your school has a club dedicated to your interests or passions? If not, why not start one? When it comes to interests, the sky’s the limit. Ten years ago, no one knew about blockchain technology. Now, you'd be hard pressed to find a university that doesn’t have one or more clubs dedicated to it. Forming a club around a technology that you think will play a huge part in our future is just one idea. What will yours be?

2.       Start a passion project

A passion project is a creative project that contributes to the world in some way and is tangible. If you’re into photography, how about starting an Instagram page? If you love helping the homeless, how about working with a local community center to organize a soup kitchen? Again, the sky’s the limit here! Sometimes a passion project can even turn into a business venture or non-profit down the line.

3.       Host a meetup or organize an event

Maybe you love the idea of bringing people together for a common purpose, but can’t commit to something long term. Organizing meetups or one-off events is perfect for engaging people without the long term commitment that comes with a club or passion project.  A meetup could be as simple as gathering a few of your friends to talk about a topic that interests you. This is a great way of meeting and forming strong relationships with people who have similar passions and ambitions to yourself. Collaboration is a key driver of entrepreneurial spirit!

4.       Be entrepreneurial in the teams you already belong to

You don’t have to be a founder to be entrepreneurial. You can be entrepreneurial in the teams you’re already part of! For example, in your project teams at school, you can think of more efficient ways of working with your peers, maybe using new technologies and platforms that enhance collaborative work, like Slack or Hootsuite. In the clubs you’re part of, you can suggest new ways of doing things or brainstorm new events to organize.

5.       Freelance or start a side business

Okay, this one is actually starting a business, but not in the traditional way people often perceive  entrepreneurship – which is usually by creating a new product and selling it. You can use your current skills, whether that be marketing, graphic design, or writing, to start a small side business. Do you have friends who frequently ask you to help them out with something? Perhaps that something could be turned into a small business. Common side businesses include consulting, tutoring, coaching and blogging.

An entrepreneurial mindset can be applied in any area of life, but we hope that these ideas will get you thinking. Most importantly, strive to be innovative and creative no matter what you're doing, or where you are. Who knows, you may just end up being the next Steve Jobs or Elon Musk because you’ve been cultivating that entrepreneurial mindset early on.