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Feel Like an Outsider? Here’s Why That’s a Good Thing
Being different is exactly what makes entrepreneurs successful. Just ask Coco Chanel.
Do you ever find yourself feeling like you don’t really have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur? If you feel like an imposter trying to break into the world of business ownership, it turns out that might be exactly the mindset you need to succeed.
New research on fashion icon and entrepreneur Coco Chanel suggests that being an outsider inspires entrepreneurs to try new things and take unique approaches to problem solving.
Chanel did not come from a high fashion world. In fact, she grew up in an orphanage where she learned to sew. Despite her humble beginnings and lack of contacts in the fashion world, Chanel’s outsider status gave her the creative freedom she needed to experiment with radical ideas and challenge the status quo, the researchers said. Not having a preconceived notion of how things should be done allowed her to innovate and build a company from the ground up without following anyone else’s rules.
Chanel did not come from a high fashion world. In fact, she grew up in an orphanage where she learned to sew.
Chanel is just one of many successful entrepreneurs whose status as “outsider” helped fuel their entrepreneurial success. From Thomas Edison to Elon Musk, many of the world’s biggest thinkers come from unique backgrounds. In fact, this Harvard Business Review article by Gino Cattani, professor of strategy and organization theory at New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business, argues that being an outsider actually gives you an advantage. The trick is getting someone on the “inside” to listen to your ideas.
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To do that, you need to cultivate relationships with people who will be there and ready to listen when you’re building your business or ready to take the next growth step. Find those supporters and be sure to keep them up to date on your work and plans. Nothing will make them more likely to open a few doors for you than feeling connected and emotionally invested in your business. And, if you don’t know any insiders it’s not too late to meet some. Even if you’re not good at networking, you can get better. Go into any networking opportunity with a desire to learn and be sure to look for common ground, this article suggests. If you do that, you won’t be an outsider for long!