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How to force a moment of entrepreneurial epiphany

on February 9, 2011

Here’s some of my coverage from the ICIS Conference in St. Louis. I was covering the event for Dice and Dice News.

When have you had enough? When do you realize you could do it yourself and you no longer need to “work for the man?”

This voluntary moment of “I’m quitting and going to start my own business” was the focus of the paper, “From IT Employee to IT Entrepreneur: The concept of IT Entrepreneurial Epiphany” written by Gaëtan Mourmant, Assistant Professor at University of Strasbourg and Katerina Voutsina of the London School of Economics.

How does an IT worker get to that moment of epiphany where they decide to quit their job and become an entrepreneur?

Mourmant and Voutsina interviewed entrepreneurs as to why they left their job with an “I’m done” and decided to become an entrepreneur. The goal was to try to understand what brought people to that specific moment. According to their findings, it all boils down to five different factors:

1.    Understanding the business game – You know the rules, you agree or disagree with them, and have the necessary skills to play the game.

2.    Risk reduction – Even if you don’t know all the facts, you’ve assessed the situation and your ability to mine your social network. There’s also a level of voluntary naivety that contributes to this lower perceived risk. Plus, having a well established network of business acquaintances also reduces this perception of risk.

3.    External Environmental Context – Opportunity awaits.

4.    Timing – The opportunity is now, and the window is closing.

5.    Long term reasons – More personal self realization. Choose to do this to increase your pleasure, home life, or to make more money.

The implications for IT managers is they should be aware of these warning signs and act early on if they want to retain top employees. As for potential entrepreneurs, if they know what the five factors for entrepreneurial epiphany are they can spur them on instead of waiting for things to happen.

Stock photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

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