There is a definite difference between the mindset of someone who is an entrepreneur and someone who is an employee.
Mindset is the way you habitually think – about yourself, other people, situations and life in general. More than anything else your mindset influences your results and different situations require us to think and respond differently.
However, the mindset you need to be a good employee is not the same as the mindset that will help you become a successful entrepreneur. This is something many women wanting to leave their corporate jobs and become their own boss often overlook.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with being an employee with an employee mindset if you’re happy staying like that. But, if you want to become an entrepreneur, you need to adopt a totally different way of thinking.
It’s not enough to just want to be an entrepreneur really badly. You have to consciously work on your mindset so that you’re ready and able to take on all of the challenges and successes that come with being an entrepreneur.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen overnight.
Beliefs are so pervasive that it can take time to change your thinking. You may not even realise you have any beliefs that could hinder your success, especially if you’re good at your job.
Take a look at the points below. I’ve outlined 5 key areas that I believe will help you transition from an employee mindset to successfully becoming an entrepreneur.
How to Go From Employee To Entrepreneur
1. Embracing risk
Many people say that entrepreneurs love risk and even thrive on it. I’m not sure how true this is for all entrepreneurs because everyone’s situation is different and no two people will have the same definition of risk.
But I do believe that to be successful you have to be willing to embrace risk.
This doesn’t mean being reckless and putting your home, your family and everything you’ve worked hard for on the line. More often it’s simply about having the courage to think or act differently in order to move your life forward.
In contrast, for someone entrenched in an employee mindset, risk-taking spells danger. Most employees try to avoid risks and stick to what they know because they fear dismissal. Safety and stability are more important than risk and growth.
While an entrepreneur will think “out of the box” and try to find a way through, round or over any challenge, someone with an employee mindset will stay within the confines of their limited thinking.
So, where do you stand on the subject of risk? It’s a biggie so if you aren’t comfortable with taking risks, maybe entrepreneurship isn’t for you.
2. Hiring smart people
Entrepreneurs love people who are smarter than them. In fact, they usually hire them because they know that they can’t master everything and are happy to delegate tasks to others or outsource work.
They know that their time is valuable and they aren’t willing to waste it on something that someone else can do, often better than them.
I hire people brighter than me and I get out of their way.
A typical employee on the other hand is uncomfortable around smart people. They know that they could easily be replaced and see the smarter guy or girl as competition. They often have a deep lack mindedness, which makes them critical of others or reluctant to delegate. Deep down they believe that no one can be trusted in case they steal their ideas.
How do you react to smart people? Do you feel insecure? Are you judgemental? Please look at that because it could hold you back when it comes to starting or growing your business.
3. Learning continuously
When you decide to become an entrepreneur, you are embarking on a journey of continuous learning. Every day will throw up new challenges and you will have to adapt if you want to grow your business.
An entrepreneur knows they can’t stand still; they have to be creative and keep learning.
Until you can outsource tasks or hire talent, you will have to wear many hats. You’ll have to learn all about marketing, understand the numbers of your business, network with your peers, handle customer enquiries and manage the tech side of things. Even if you don’t know how to do these things or dislike doing them, you have to do them – no excuses!
I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.
But for an employee, it’s a different ball game.
You get a job description that requires a specific skill-set and there are a range of tasks that fall within the scope of your role. Within a few months, it’s possible for you to “master” your job to such an extent that each day becomes routine. You may even have an assistant to whom you can delegate the unpleasant tasks that you secretly hate doing.
Continuous learning is one of the most challenging mindset shifts for any aspiring entrepreneur, and is something many of my coaching clients struggle with.
Maybe they’ve been at the top of their game in their careers for so long that it’s hard to be a beginner again. Or perhaps they underestimate how much learning is actually required for an online business.
Whatever the case, if you don’t like learning or aren’t teachable then maybe you aren’t cut out to be an entrepreneur?
4. Taking responsibility for decisions
We’re all ultimately responsible for our decisions and no one knows this more than an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurs often start a business because they spot a need in the market or want to make a difference in their own lives or the world at large. And there’s no doubt that entrepreneurship is an incredible opportunity to birth an idea you’ve been nurturing for months, even years.
But with it, comes great responsibility.
An entrepreneur is responsible for every decision in their business; the big and the small, the good and the bad – even the decisions they don’t make!
The buck stops firmly with them.
However, someone with an employee mindset doesn’t think this way. They are happy to blame their bad decisions or poor results on others. Quite often they will make excuses or blame their lack of success on bad luck or bad timing.
Blaming other people or circumstances for your shortcomings is a classic case of victimhood. It isn’t helpful in life and won’t get you far as an entrepreneur either.
5. Taking action on their dreams
Entrepreneurs have dreams like everyone else but they act on them. This is how all the great businesses and successful business people we admire start out – Steve Jobs, Diane Von Furstenberg, Richard Branson, Sara Blakely and so on.
Someone with an entrepreneurial mindset knows that if you want things to change, you have to take action. They don’t wait around hoping, praying or dreaming. They understand the importance of taking the next step towards their goals, no matter how small.
It is easy to sit up and take notice. What is difficult is getting up and taking action.
Honore de Balzac
While continuous learning is important, they don’t wait until everything’s perfect or they’re an expert before they launch. An entrepreneur knows there’s no such thing as perfection and that good enough is well…good enough.
Someone with an employee mindset on the other hand uses perfectionism as a delaying tactic. This helps them avoid taking action. While entrepreneurs are busy acting on their dreams and goals, employees dream about doing new things but never actually work toward them.
I spent years working for a bad boss before I started my own business. Although I eventually made the leap, I struggled with entrepreneurship until I released some deeply held employee attitudes I wasn’t even aware of.
That’s why I encourage you to start the process early.
Being an entrepreneur comes down to your mindset rather than what you are doing or where you are working. So, it’s quite possible you have an entrepreneurial mindset even though you’re working for someone else (for now).
Don’t be discouraged because this is how many great entrepreneurs start.
Now that you know that it takes time to transition towards becoming an entrepreneur, start working on your mindset while you’re still employed. You could set up a business alongside your day job. This will help you develop vital skills and experience without risking your salary until you’re ready to do so.
On the other hand, it’s possible you’re an entrepreneur but still have an employee mindset. If so, this is probably holding you back, personally and professionally.
Do you recognise some of the employee attitudes I’ve listed above? Maybe it’s time to work on your mindset? Start by reading through the above points and tackle the most pressing one first.
Over To You
Which way does your mindset lean? Do you think more like an entrepreneur or an employee? Please share your thoughts below in the comments.