The Entrepreneurial Mindset: Making Your Own Opportunities

Written for & published by In Her Shoes Foundation (May 2014)

By Melissa B. Doman, M.A.

“Luck is the residue of design.” – Branch Rickey

There’s a common misconception that the sole description of being an entrepreneur means you have to be a business owner. The traditional definition of entrepreneurship is “the process of identifying and starting a new business venture, sourcing and organizing the required resources.” I want to expand and broaden this definition. 

Repeat these words after me kiddos: to have an entrepreneurial mindset is to take it upon yourself to go out and create your own opportunities.

Whatever those opportunities may be, remember that developing an entrepreneurial mindset is the process of becoming a real self-starter. Whether it’s scoring contract work with a .com you love, or becoming chapter president of a local organization, only you hold the power to believe you can be successful in those endeavors and reaching out to the universe to manifest them. 

This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to create your own business, but it can just mean seeing something you’re interested in / or want to become a part of, and finding innovative atypical ways to connect yourself to it. I realize this may sound abstract, so for the sake of description, let’s call it “thinking outside the box.”

A lot of times, the first thing that trips people up is a fear of rejection, avoiding the unknown, or saying to yourself, “why would they answer my e-mail, me, the random person?!”

I have three words for you: STOP SAYING THAT.

You literally become your own obstacle when you say things like that. As someone who practices what they preach, let me say, you’d be SHOCKED at the opportunities you can stumble upon if you just pipe up and ask about them.  Now let’s keep in mind, I’m talking about both apparent opportunities and also inquiring about the potential need for any unmet demands (non-apparent opportunities). Just because something isn’t out there on a platform for you to see doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

For example, for those of you on the job hunt, remember that statistic saying that almost 75% of jobs aren’t advertised? I hate to tell you, but that’s actually very true. You know what that means – time to network your tooshie off! If you don’t know how, you better learn. The best part is you can ask anyone for help. Developing an entrepreneurial mindset and being a great networker, while it comes more naturally to some, is something you can learn steadily over time.

For you NPR lovers, here’s a great article referencing what I’m talking about:

Also, for those of you who love to read and want more of a ‘how-to guide,’ there’s a bevy of books available on developing an entrepreneurial mindset available on

Do remember that with any great inquiry comes great responsibility: have your s**t together if/when people answer you. Nothing can be more annoying that receiving a request from someone, you taking the time to respond to them, and then they have no idea what they want or how they can help you. Whether it’s putting together a portfolio of work, creating a website, organizing a set of organizational questions about the company – make sure you’re prepared for when you get a response.  If you’re willing to ask, most of the time, people are very willing to talk to you. You need to make sure you’re someone worth talking to.

There is a smorgasbord of opportunities out there….if you’re courageous enough to ask about them.