The 9 Steps from Employee to Entrepreneur
Unlike employees who work for others, entrepreneurs are in charge of the future success they will enjoy and the failures they will experience.
Depending on your viewpoint, this is either terrifically liberating, or an overwhelming responsibility, in which case you must acquire a different mindset that enables you to see the world through a business owner’s eyes.
So here are nine of the most critical mindset changes you will need to make if you are to free yourself from the constraints of ‘employee thinking.’
1. Learn how to set your own priorities and take complete personal responsibility for all your actions rather than blame others when things go wrong. As an entrepreneur you don’t have the luxury of being able to pass the buck: this is your business and you are the one who has to carry the can.
2. Make education your life-long ally. Employees are generally told what’s important to the company and accordingly given limited training that’s related only to their job. As a business owner you will need to determine your own ‘entrepreneurial curriculum’ so you can make ever-improving decisions about what is best for you in both the short and long term.
3. Become a master of implementation. Understand that you cannot wait for things to happen. So while ongoing learning is important, to be a successful business owner requires you to take action – frequently. With no one to tell you what you should do, each morning you must wake up with a plan, not only for the day-to-day management of your business, but also for moving you ever closer to your personal and professional goals.
4. Start to think big picture and see yourself as the business owner you want to become. In a job, it’s very easy to become embroiled in the minutiae of getting things done, filling in paperwork, tinkering at the edges, ensuring that every ‘i’ is dotted and‘t’ crossed. While you still cannot ignore essential details, as an entrepreneur you need to think beyond the obvious and the small, so that you spot both the opportunities and traps that lie ahead. Spending more time on ‘big things’ will accelerate your business success.
5. Refocus your efforts on seeking valuable ‘outcomes’ and not just on completing tasks. As an employee you were part of a larger machine, responsible for undertaking a particular activity. If you did this to the correct standard, then you had done your job. But an entrepreneur’s mentality is different – now just doing something is no longer good enough if it doesn’t move you closer to where you want to go.
6. Aim for progress not security. Be willing and ready to embrace change. When you are an employee you become accustomed to the status quo, so when things change uncertainty follows. At its worst, this could even mean that redundancy follows. However, the entrepreneurial mindset not only must seek out change, but in fact encourage it to happen because only by doing this can opportunities be created and leveraged.
7. Be ready to step outside your comfort zone. Running your own show isn’t easy. There’s no place to hide, and that means that from time to time you will have to do things that you don’t like. The entrepreneurial mindset has to be ready to take on the role of debt collector, disciplinarian, or salesperson, and all manner of other jobs as well. This can often mean pushing yourself beyond what you’re used to, but only by doing this will you go beyond mediocrity and achieve excellence.
8. Don’t try to please everybody. Niche marketing is the key to success these days, so creating a recognisable personal brand that makes you unique in your market place will ensure you stand out from the crowd.
9. Be competitive. Only by setting yourself ever-higher measures of success, will you push your business forward. But don’t measure your success by comparison with others, as this can lead you to make the wrong decisions.
Can anyone acquire an entrepreneurial mindset after years of working only for others? The answer is yes, if you choose to and are determined enough.
But don’t try and transform yourself all at once. Place emphasis on just one or two areas at a time and work to improve in these. Then continually monitor your performance, so that you become more aware of when you are falling back into old ways of thinking.
Do this consistently, and over time you will find that your mindset is no longer that of an employee but of a true entrepreneur.