For most of my life I was known as an IT guy. In high school, I was the go to guy for computer support, setting up networks, connecting to the internet, etc (most of the time I just had to remind them to reboot the computer). In college, I was the go to guy for web design and building sites (in 1998 my roommate and I were running a Linux server in our dorm room to power a textbook exchange service for students).
After college, while working on my content management software company, I was still known as an IT guy. Even with dozens of employees, whenever asked about my profession, I’d say software entrepreneur, and the most common follow-up question was, “Do you work out of your house?” Clearly, the word “software” took more precedence over the “entrepreneur.” People still looked to me for help with IT projects.
Sometime in the last five years I became known for entrepreneurship and no longer known as an IT guy. Perhaps it was because I was focused on digital marketing software and not website management software. Perhaps people didn’t need as much IT help as Macs and iPads were so much more prevalent. Regardless, people were coming to me for help with their startup, and not for their IT needs.
I wanted people to view me as an entrepreneur and not as a techie (even though I love technology). I had arrived. I’m an entrepreneur first.
What else? Do people think of you for one thing when you aspire for something else?