If angel investors, incubators and startups aren't part of your normal circle, then referring to yourself as an entrepreneur may feel equally strange or foreign. But there's no need for that to be the case! At its core, entrepreneurs are those who set up and run their own business. And they come in all different shapes and sizes: from different sectors of industry, with different backgrounds and experiences, and through different paths. We sat down with Dilruba Tayfun, winner of Sony Talent League by THU's 2020 edition, who after the challenge felt she could finally embrace the title entrepreneur, to ask her about her views on the subject.

The most unexpected thing for me was saying "entrepreneur." Seeing those words come out of my mouth. And trying to own really being a leader and orchestrating this mad show that is Togather. That was unexpected. A really flourishing moment.

- Dilruba Tayfun, when asked what was the most unexpected part of the STL experience

What does the word "entrepreneur" mean to you?
People that make shit happen! Bring others together in their creations, and extend their activities to others through a vision and mission, investing their energy with purpose.

Why do you think some creatives are afraid or unwelcoming of the word and its connotations?
I think there’s a huge association of ‘entrepreneur’ with industry giants whose activities encourage excessive consumption and unhealthy relationships with our world today. I never considered, for example, entrepreneurship as a label next to my name, but it came up on various occasions during Sony Talent League, simply because that is what I was trying to do. Make shit happen, and bring other people in on it. Manifest the idea through realising that I don’t want to do this alone and can’t do this alone with a project like “Togather”, and good ideas can come to life when you bring others in on it. We forget that it’s all about the motives behind the entrepreneur, what they manifest and the people that are supporting their vision that offers a real perspective on what entrepreneurs are really about. 

How do you see yourself as an entrepreneur?
Honestly I struggle with this, especially in the aftermath of the team spirit we conjured during the league, sometimes feeling like artist and entrepreneur are like opposite ends of the spectrum. There are enough examples out there that prove this otherwise though. During and after THU Main Event, and leading my first workshop there I felt entrepreneurial again, willing to sacrifice what is not serving me and my project and focus my energy on attainable goals, thus inviting others to bring their energy into it again. Little by little with bitesize goals!

What doors (in yourself, and/or elsewhere) opened up for you once you embraced that title?
I felt empowered claiming the title as the orchestrator, or the mycelium spore with an idea. Scouting for the talents I wanted to bring together, and accepting my destiny as a connecting person. A human bridge. Now, I feel like with any ideas that I have in the future, whatever I want to actualise, I have the experience in initiating and reaching out to people whose interests and passions align with mine.

Where do you feel you still need to grow most, or learn to better succeed as an entrepreneur?
Fear of success & failure (I really mean both) AND talking about money. This is something I’m getting better at the more I look at how other projects got up and running. 

Do you see entrepreneurship as a solo venture? Or if not, what has that looked like for you?
I don’t feel like I’m experienced enough to answer this actually…but from what I’ve felt, it has been less solo than being the artist that delivers the work. Because you become the node in the web that everybody is connected to, in a relentless feedback loop. 

What's been the biggest challenge and biggest reward of it for you so far?
Challenge - Working with my closest friends (of 10+ years) and discovering our strengths and weaknesses together when we are all invested so emotionally. Reward - this immense feeling that the web of connection with other creatives is ever-evolving and never stops extending as long as I keep going, sharing my ideas and inviting others to participate. 

And lastly, just for fun - everyone talks about personality types, but I'm more curious about mythical creature types. If you were a mythical creature, what would you be?
I had to look this up because I guess I’m not as in touch with the fantasy genre …. yet… always been more of a pirate to be honest. Dryad? Somebody said I was the 3rd fairy they located at the THU Main Event this year…so maybe I’m a fairy and I never knew it? :)

There you have it, personal insights from a real, live, nascent entrepreneur! So the next time you see the word and think it doesn't apply to you, re-examine that thought. And if you're not quite there yet, but are thinking of making the leap into those waters, know that you have others in this incredible Tribe who can help inform and guide you on your journey. Just reach out on Discord, tap into that teeming source of knowledge and see where the conversation takes you.

Sony Talent League is back for a brand new edition this year! To find out more, and apply, simply go here :)