Most people who start their own business do so after working for someone else. Usually, they are doing the technical work of the company. For example, you may be an accountant, a carpenter, an electrician, or a hairdresser. So, you start an accounting practice, a carpentry business, an electrical business, or a hairdressing business.
In his book “The EMyth Revisited – Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It“, author Michael Gerber describes this as having an “entrepreneurial seizure.”
By the way, if you own your own business or are considering starting a business, please buy this book!
The fact is that working for someone else is profoundly different from working for yourself. An employee’s mindset and an entrepreneur’s perspective are like chalk and cheese.
Let’s look at some of the main differences.
|Easy to blame others or pass the buck in the organization.
|You are the person responsible for everything.
|Responsible for short-term tasks rather than long-term business goals
|You must focus on vision and plans for the short-term and the long term.
|Paycheck comes in every week, rain, hail, or shine. You follow the system.
|Uncertainty is the new reality. You get paid last and make decisions that affect everyone else.
|Specific job training only
|You must understand all aspects of the business along with how to do the work.
|You follow a chain of command.
|You make the rules and are always looking for improvement.
There are also differences between a small business owner and an entrepreneur.
Having consulted with small business owners for over 40 years, I can categorically say that most small business owners are not entrepreneurs. The way I would describe it is that most do not own a business; they own a job. And this is a result of their mindset.
|Small Business Owner
|More comfortable with predictable things. Consequently, they tend to make more conservative decisions.
|Comfortable with higher levels of risk and venturing into the unknown.
|Focused on local issues and keeping their customers satisfied.
|Pursues ideas and opportunities that are new.
|The focus is more on short-term goals and a level of stability.
|The focus is more on the future and achieving fast growth.
|Like employees, they tend to focus training around the work of the business.
|Continually look to learn new ideas and acquire knowledge that can help them grow.
|Once again, it is stability in meeting customers’ needs and earning enough to provide for the family’s needs.
|They are focused on fast growth and profits without the business needing to revolve around them.
Our mindsets are developed in our journey through life. Right from birth, we are conditioned by all our experiences: family, education, work experience, etc.
The fact is that society, in general, does not educate people to become entrepreneurs. Instead, to fit into society as adults, we are acclimatized to think with a more fixed mindset, particularly regarding authority, money, and intelligence.
Here are a few taught misconceptions about money that hurt entrepreneurs.
“Money is the root of all evil”
“People with money cheated to get it.”
“There is never enough money.”
“You must sacrifice if you want to buy (enter any item here).”
“We’ll never be able to retire.”
These thoughts bring about feelings of hopelessness, guilt, or scarcity of money. Therefore, they can be significantly limiting for an entrepreneur.
Our beliefs about work are also shaped by our education as well as by our family environment. Education systems focus on the learning required to pass an exam. It doesn’t educate children in many aspects they will encounter in the future. For example, there is generally very little education about money or any vocation beyond being employed.
Training for self-employed small business owners is like training to become a parent: it just doesn’t exist.
The focus is on working for a boss, doing allotted tasks for a set amount of time per week for an agreed-upon pay. If you obey your boss, work hard, and add value to the business, you might get promoted to a better position or a higher wage. You are rewarded for your obedience and your ability to minimize risk.
This fundamentally clashes with the entrepreneurial mindset. Accepting risks and taking on challenges is key to success as an entrepreneur.
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