Entrepreneurs are celebrated for their passion, drive and ability to pivot when necessary—the sky’s the limit.

But while these self-starting qualities are essential in the gig economy, is it possible for anyone to harness these same traits to achieve success?

As Ottawa-area success coach Heather Petherick says, entrepreneurs often challenge leadership and authority, find their own answers and create unique processes for success, which can be very different from how many people are expected to act in the workplace.

But the good news, say executive coaches, is that entrepreneurial or self-starter mindsets and behaviours can be adopted by everyone—as they are about taking responsibility for your own success.

Here’s how channeling your inner entrepreneur can help drive your career and financial growth:


Branch out: According to Toronto-based executive coach Merrill Pierce, even within an organization, it’s a good idea to be self-driven. This starts with a clear understanding of your strengths in order to ensure you’re using them in your role and building on the skills that you aren’t as good at.

Then, she says, take the opportunity to go out on a limb, take initiative within your role, increase your visibility and boost collaboration.

“Rather than staying stuck in just the role that you were hired to do, branch out, give yourself permission to try on different hats,” Pierce says.

“The growth that I’ve seen within companies where people have had the opportunity to do that and have embraced that kind of behaviour, [they] have actually become so much more successful and then ultimately that leads to more financial success,” she adds.


Be nimble: Another hallmark of the entrepreneurial mindset is the ability to be flexible and shift when necessary.

Those in new roles, says Pierce, should set realistic, measurable and attainable goals—ideally in 90-day increments rather than looking five years ahead, as circumstances can change.

“Being able to look at short-term accomplishments and long-term change is a strength,” says Pierce.

A quick win or short-term accomplishment, she says, “changes their outlook and then it affords them the opportunity to propel to try something again.”

Similarly, Pierce says, it’s vital for those in corporate roles to constantly look for opportunities to learn and to never be satisfied with the status quo.

“Never stop and don’t become complacent. That’s what ultimately leads to people being ‘packaged out’ these days.”


Take responsibility: As Petherick says, those who are more entrepreneurial in nature often have a sense of responsibility for both good and bad results.

“Their thinking typically follows the path of ‘How can I…’ ‘How can I figure this out? How can I get more opportunities? How can I get that promotion? How can I get more experience? And even if they don’t have the answer today, the thinking is that they’re always on alert, it’s like they tune their brain like a radio, tune their radar to possibility, opportunity, connections and resources.”

Switching to this way of seeing things away from ‘what if’ thinking can help a person become a more independent agent in the workplace, she says.


Brand yourself: We all have favourite corporate brands – everything from technology to food or clothing. But Pierce and Petherick both say that creating and embodying a personal brand is also a crucial step for the self-employed and for employees. Essentially, this involves clearly communicating who you are, your unique selling proposition and characteristics, and your integrity and vision.

“When you treat yourself as a personal brand, you get very clear on what your core values are and what your ‘brand ambassador’ traits are. What makes you unique and stand out from colleagues who may have similar experience or training,” says Petherick.

“The more we see ourselves as a personal brand and embody that and give ourselves permission to bring our personality, bring our full selves into what we are doing, we’re going to get a lot more visibility and we’re going to get a lot more support for what we do,” she adds.

Ultimately, she says, it’s by continuing to develop skills, gain new experience and embody a personal brand that anyone can create their own income security—whether as a part of the gig economy or within the corporate world.

Helen is a freelance writer specializing in news and feature articles on a variety of business, legal and investment topics. Her work has appeared in publications such as the Globe and Mail, National Post Legal Post, Fund Strategy magazine, Canadian Lawyer magazine, Benefits Canada and the Hamilton Spectator’s Hamilton Business magazine. Prior to embarking on a freelance career, Helen was the Community Content Editor for Stockhouse.com, and she previously worked as Associate Editor of Canadian Lawyer magazine/Law Times newspaper. Follow her on Twitter @helenbnichols