The difference between an Entrepreneur and Employee Mindset


Mindset is central  to success in any area of life or business but when people make the move to start a business there needs to be a particular shift in Mindset. In fact the mind set shift is probably more important to your success than any of the ‘actions’ you might take.

In many ways the employee is the norm for the majority of people. We grow up being asked what we want to do and usually that is framed in terms of employment., or at least it was for those who are now adults. I think we are seeing a bit of a shift and we are seeing huge growth in the numbers of people starting their own businesses, BUT often they don’t change their mindset so they approach their own business with an employee mindset.

Characteristics of an Employee Mindset

Thinking is constrained

there may be some enlightened companies that encourage employees to think ‘outside of the box’ but that is generally pretty rare. Most companies have particular ways of thinking and often will actively discourage aspects of creativity with a – if its not broken don’t try to fix it mentality. I would imagine that many people reading this will have had times when they have gone to an employer with a good idea only to be slapped down in some way.

There are ‘rules’ to be followed

Almost any organisation has rules, whether that’s about what time you start and finish, or the way you must complete certain tasks they exist in almost every sphere of employment. Some are necessary but what it does is create in us a rule bound mentality which can often lead to a rigidity and clock watching.

Roles and Expectations

In organisations there are usually certain ‘limiters’ for work so it is not unusual for employees to stop short of what they might want to do because it is not their role, or even because the expectation is that they wont do certain tasks because that falls within the remit of another worker.

The Vision is Restricted

Some employers or managers are skilled at ensuring all employees share the vision, the big picture, though I must confess that in my working life that has rarely been the case. The opposite has often been true, the message being to get on with your own contribution and not worry about the rest.

Very Little Autonomy

I have worked in a few places where there was autonomy but not many. The majority of my managers have actively discouraged autonomy even if they haven’t all wanted to ‘micro-manage’. again I can acknowledge that in some cases this is necessary but the pint here is that if you shift to being an entrepreneur – there will beno manager and you need to be sure that you have the right mindset to make that shift successful.

So if you want to be a successful entrepreneur, but have spent most of your working life to date being an employee, some of these mindsets need to be replaced.

Entrepreneur Mindset

Stay in touch with the BIG Picture -Think out side the box – dare to dream. Remind yourself as often as you need to what your vision really s and why you are working towards it.

Set realistic Goals – keeping the big picture in mind is essential but you also need to set yourself achievable goals so you can actually move towards that vision.

Identify your motivators – there are no ‘rules’ as a business owner or entrepreneur – no one will tell you what time to get up or when it’s ok to have holiday so you need to identify how to motivate yourself and stay on task and moving forward.

Identify the important activities – any business, whatever the product or service might be, needs to make money. Identify the activities that generate revenue for your business and make sure they take priority. That might mean delaying certain things in order to do others, making sure a product or service is delivered on time and maybe putting off organizing your workspace (unless this stops you delivering your product or service)

Be prepared to Outsource – once you have identified your priority actions you may need to delegate or outsource certain tasks to others. Clearly it is different for every company but say as a therapist you earned £50 per hour but could only fit 3 hours a day in because of other ‘chores’ – admin etc then freeing up time bu paying for some support could actually be cost effective if that outsourcing cost less. Three hours of admin at £10 per hour could enable you to earn an additional £150 so even with the additional cost of admin you’d be making more.

Be prepared to Learn – it’s almost a guarantee that if you start a business you will need to learn some new skills – it might be book keeping or generating a sales funnel or any one of a hundred other things. So the ‘I can’t do that mindset needs to be replaced with a ‘how can I do that’ what do I need to learn’ mindset.

Invest in yourself and your business – this might mean paying for training, attending courses, investing time to read and research or paying for some one to one or group coaching, but if your business is to grow you will probably need to invest time effort and money in to it and often that means investing in yourself.

Develop a Support Network – this can be formally though network meetings or through finding people in a similar position to yourself or it could even be Virtual but support is essential.

Get used to Overcoming obstacles – its another guarantee that in life as ewell as business yo will face challenges – so get used to tackling them and don’t let them get you down.

Look after yourself – usually YOU are central to YOUR business so while you may delight in working hard at it you do need to take care of yourself. The article I wrote for Success Stories might help – read it here

Be Prepared to take risks – playing it safe is fine for employees but read the biography of any entrepreneur and risks are involved. So be comfortable with that, it doesn’t mean being reckless but there will be risks involved.

If you want to be a successful entrepreneur start to think like one, develop the right mindset and then doing the right thing will become a whole lot easier.