At Moonshot Pirates we encourage young people to gain an entrepreneurial approach to life. To us, that means finding one’s own way, thinking differently, and using creativity, critical thinking, and innovation to solve problems. Building a startup is one way to use those entrepreneurial skills, but there are many other situations where you can apply them. Benvolio Panzarella, a self-proclaimed fake entrepreneur, is a big advocate of the entrepreneurial approach. For many years he has worked for other companies using entrepreneurial skills and an entrepreneurial mindset to solve the challenges the companies were facing. For this reason, he calls himself a “fake” entrepreneur – he acts as an entrepreneur, but instead of working for his own business, he works for someone else’s.
So what are these skills and this mindset of a “fake-entrepreneur”? There is a whole bunch of them, but some of the more essential include the following:
- Curiosity & Courage: In order to find new problems to solve or new solutions to old problems, to explore the possibilities of inventions and technologies, or to reinvent old and inefficient business models, you need a great amount of curiosity and the courage to question the status quo. New ideas always constitute a risk, but also always an opportunity, so foster the curiosity and courage in you in order to see the opportunity and go for it.
- Resilience & Passion: Developing a new and successful idea takes time, a lot of discipline, and even more hard work. When sailing into unexplored waters you might meet unexpected dangers such as strong headwind, bloodthirsty sharks, or huge icebergs. To navigate all of those dangers and stay on course, you need to go on the adventure with both heart and soul, so you have the motivation and resilience to pull through.
- Network & Team: Everyone of us has an abundance of skills, experiences, and knowledge that makes us and our ideas unique. However, regardless of our personal awesomeness, there will always be things we cannot do on our own. Having a strong network and an amazing team is often what divides stories of success from those of failure. The more diverse, supportive, and well-connected your social circle is, the better your chances are of success.
- Time Management & Goal Setting: Personal leadership is a key quality of entrepreneurs. They have to structure their time and energy, set clear goals and priorities, and define action steps and milestones both for themselves and for their team. Even as a fake entrepreneur who has to coordinate with a team and a boss, these are useful skills to have. You’re more efficient and more motivated, if you think and act as your own leader.
Acting like an entrepreneur has many advantages. You act more responsibly, more independently, more efficiently. You seek out opportunities, prioritise curiosity over fear, and connect with people from near and far. These skills are incredible when following your own dreams, when supporting the dreams of others, and even in school an entrepreneurial mindset has many benefits for prioritising your time, getting things done, and exploring topics with curiosity instead of with dispassion.
In the webinar below Benvolio offers examples of his own adventures as a fake entrepreneur and how he has used those entrepreneurial skills to solve problems for big companies. His work life is a great example of how you can #beapirate regardless of what kind of work you do.
Benvolio has often been described as a “fake-entrepreneur” because his greatest successes have come from innovative actions taken while scaling-up regional businesses for HQ. Having learned from pioneering colleagues in consumer electronics and e-commerce, he now invests in start-ups and mentors entrepreneurs in several countries.