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An entrepreneur vs employee mindset

human-mindDo you remember watching a toddler learning to walk? They stand up, they fall over, they stand up again and take a few steps and then fall over again. But do they give up and say “this can’t be done”. Of course not (I guess they may not be able to talk yet anyway). They don’t stop trying until they succeed.

They see people around them walking and so they keep trying and trying until they achieve their goal. This is the only outcome acceptable.

Does this sound like an entrepreneur mindset to you? It does to me.

So where does it all go wrong?

Where does the entrepreneurial child go?

As the growing child starts to get told what to do by the people around them, it starts a chain reaction in their belief system. As they continue to be told what they can and cannot do, what they are or are not capable of achieving, they start to shape their beliefs based on what others tell them.

By the time schooling begins, the child is already being raised with an employee mindset. The education system teaches you to become a follower and not a leader; creating consumers instead of creators. What are you taught? “Go to school. Get good grades. Graduate from college. Get a good job. Work hard. Get a promotion. Get a raise. Retire happy”.

As you get older, you are still taught to live your life to please others instead of yourself but many start to see the fault in this line of thinking. More and more people start becoming entrepreneurs as they get older. Many eventually see the reality of how what we’re taught and what we need are so different.

Right. So it seems that we are all born entrepreneurs at heart, but the system eventually beats it out of us. If that is the case, how do we get our entrepreneurial spirit back?

How to overturn the employee mindset?

The first step in doing this is to understand the core differences between the employee and entrepreneur mentality. It is how we think about ourselves and our mindset that matters, and there are five core differences that set employees and entrepreneurs apart:

1. Time

Both employees and entrepreneurs see time as a scarce commodity. However, this is where the beliefs and approaches to time diverge.

For employees, time is divided distinctly between their time (work) and my time (personal). Work time is devoted to an employer so that they can earn a salary. My time is used to do whatever makes me happy or to de-stress me from my work time. People with an employee mindset trade their time for either money or enjoyment, and they usually do this for their entire life.

Entrepreneurs believe time holds immense value and should be invested towards achieving their dreams. Studies show they actually work more hours than employed people but are happier and feel more fulfilled. So, how does becoming an entrepreneur provide more freedom if you have to work longer? Easy. Entrepreneurs love what they do. It is not the burden that going to work is for so many people.

And what happens over time? You grow as a person, your business grows and your income from your business grows. To me, that is a much better investment in time than working your a** off for someone else all day and then spending the evening recovering in front of the TV.

2. Money

Everybody needs money to function within our society and almost every one of us wishes we had more. However, there are vast differences between how employees view money and how entrepreneurs view money.

In the employee mindset, money is seen as a tool to buy things. Employees trade their time at the office for a finite quantity of money each week or month. Then they use that money to buy the things they need (or don’t need) and hopefully put a little away for the future. But rarely do they manage to save enough to retire comfortably.

Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, see money as a vehicle that should be invested to produce growth. By investing money wisely, it can work to make more money. Then, this money can be invested to make even more money and the cycle continues. Money is not finite but rather a means to an end. So, entrepreneurs see a future where money works for them instead of the employee mindset where they work for the money.

There is no instant gratification. It takes time and patience to grow the money supply and this is why many employees baulk at the idea of entrepreneurism. “I want that [new car / new iPhone] NOW!” Most entrepreneurs would prefer to invest in themselves with the knowledge that this will provide a brighter and richer future for themselves and the people close to them rather than indulging in something to provide immediate satisfaction.

3. Problems

Problems are a fact of life. How we address those problems differentiates the employee from the entrepreneur.

Employees try to avoid problems at all costs. If they can pass them on to someone else, all the better.

Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, see problems as challenges that need to be overcome so that they can continue to move forward. Instead of “passing the buck”, they tackle the problem head on and take ownership. To an entrepreneur, problems are only an obstacle to reaching their long-term goals.

Entrepreneurs break problems down into manageable chunks and then work their way through to a solution. Many of the innovations that have changed the course of history came about through an entrepreneur owning and solving a problem.

Take the electric light bulb for example. Without it, we would still be burning candles to see in our homes at night. How about driving your car at night without headlights? Rather difficult to contemplate. Thanks to Edison and Swan, two people with true entrepreneurial spirits, society was liberated from a near-total reliance on daylight to the world most of us live in today.

4. Dreams

Almost everybody dreams of a better future but as we get older, dreams become less and less important. Did you know studies show that 92% of people never stick to their New Year’s resolutions. 94% of people don’t achieve their childhood dreams. These are huge numbers.

The employee mindset will tell you that there is no point trying to achieve your dreams because the odds are stacked against you. Why fight for something if you can’t win?

However, entrepreneurs will do whatever it takes to reach their dreams. They believe it is their innate right to make their dreams come true and will not stop trying until they achieve their goals. To reach your goals is to achieve your dreams.

5. Struggle

As a famous Australian Prime Minister once said, “life wasn’t meant to be easy”. Life is full of struggle, so why not embrace it? Again, this is where employees and entrepreneurs view things differently.

Employees see struggle as a bad thing and believe it is better to take the easier path and avoid struggle.

Entrepreneurs will take on struggle as they know it will make them stronger. Struggle represents opportunity and the truth is that if you take the hurt and embrace the struggle rather than resisting, eventually you will prevail. This is how the entrepreneur mindset works.

The need to change perspective

If you can truthfully look at your own life through these five core values, you can immediately see if your current mindset is an employee or entrepreneurial one. From this, you can learn what you need to do to grow your entrepreneurial skills in each of these areas.

By fine-tuning your skills and abilities, you can gain a new perspective on these disciplines that you need to grow your entrepreneurial mindset. Be true to yourself first and foremost. It all comes back to how we think about ourselves.

An entrepreneur is who you are, not what you are.

Not ready to ditch the boss yet?

But hey, how about if you are comfortable to hang in there for now instead of branching out on your own. After all, a weekly paycheck is nice security while you develop your entrepreneurial skills. Well take heart, you can always become an intrapreneur.

So what is an intrapreneur?

According to Wikipedia, an intrapreneur is a person who behaves like an entrepreneur while working within a large organization. It is a corporate management style that brings together the main entrepreneurial skills – thinking outside the box, creativity, reward and motivation – within a business.

So, even if you aren’t ready to quit your job, there is still the opportunity for you to develop and use the entrepreneurial skills as outlined in the article. Who knows, you may be rewarded with a bonus or salary increase and access to company resources if you can demonstrate the benefits of your intrapreneurial skills.

A win – win situation for you and the company!

Conclusion

In the end, it is truly your personal decision whether you become an employee, an intrapreneur or an entrepreneur. The decision is yours alone to make. But help is available.

If you would like to accelerate your own shift from an employee mindset to an entrepreneurial mindset, I highly recommend that you read eSCAPE: The 4 Stages Of Becoming A Successful Entrepreneur by Anik Singal. The book looks at “Who You Are” – your entrepreneur mindset – rather than focusing on all the external elements of succeeding as an entrepreneur.

Now, his marketing style leaves a lot to be desired (in my eyes) but the book is a great read. If you want to purchase any of his other products, I cannot advise you there.​ I have only bought the book and I am more than happy with that.

I will be upfront and tell you that if you order the book by clicking on the banner below, I will receive a small commission. Not enough to achieve financial freedom but a couple of sales may pay back the cost of my book!

Affiliate marketing is one of the topics we will cover when we look at passive incomes, so hey, I am just practicing what I preach.

 


Was this helpful? Share it with your friends. After all, they also deserve the fine things that life has to offer.

 

Gary

28 Comments

  1. Hello Gary. Thanks for sharing this information on an entrepreneur vs employee mindset. I love the illustration about a baby trying to walk, falls and rises again and keeps trying till he is able to walk. That is indeed the mindset of an entrepreneur. I see everyone around succeeding, I know I can succeed too so I will have to put in my best and hit my target.

    The employee mindset has been an hindrance to many upcoming entrepreneurs. We can actually overcome this mindset and do well in our pursuit as entrepreneur.

    • Hi Barry,

      I thought the baby learning to walk analogy was a typical entrepreneur mindset. Keep going until you succeed. If you put your mind towards success and don’t accept any other outcomes, it is amazing how your mind focuses everything you do towards achieving that goal.

      All the best success for you,

      Gary

  2. Yes  Gary, I agree that we are all entrepreneurs at heart. I discovered that after I decided to leave a job after 20 years to live my dream. Being an entrepreneur challenges you to be creative because the problems  have to be solved by you . I think the  two best things that  work for me are : 1) the fulfillment of doing what I Iove, and 2) in the life of an entrepreneur, there are no limitations neither in income nor job description. Thanks for this. All points are well covered.

    • JJ, thanks for your comments. I think we all start out as entrepreneurs and then gradually “un-learn” it as we get older and start to take more  notice of what others think, rather than maintaining our own mindset.

      Doing what you love and removing any limitations in your beliefs are two great attributes tgo have.

      Best wishes for a successful life,

      Gary

  3. WOW this article really speaks to me. Being an Entrepreneur can be scary but you get to call the shots and be in control of your own destiny. Instead of being held back by office politics, a mean boss or whatever pitfalls come with working for someone else, your own business is your “Baby” so to speak. It is inspiring and interesting and touches on a lot of great points to being your own boss. I will be checking back regularly

    • Hi Alison and thank you for your comments.

      I have had a huge response to this article and I am very grateful for all the comments. I think that this shows there are many more people out there with the entrepreneurial spirit than I had imagined.

      Be your own person, your own boss, and take on life the way you want to. That is how you will create great success.

      Cheers to your future,

      Gary

      PS. Would it be a good idea to start a subscriber service to notify people when new posts are added to my site?

  4. What an awesome post!  It reminded me right away of words spoken by Bob Proctor.  He says persistence is another word for Faith.  Having faith in what we do, and persisting at it, will definitely bring us where we want to go!

    The five core values you enumerate here are exactly what an entrepreneur has to focus on ALL THE TIME.  

    It’s by changing the paradigms of our past that will get us ahead in the future.  

    I am not ready to fire my boss yet, and I don’t think that the Intraprereneur mindset is for me either.  What I do is I use my “spare time” working on my entrepreneur goals instead of wasting it watching TV or the “news”.  

    Almost every minutes I have to spare I work at my online business, because I know that eventually, by doing so, my goal of ditching my boss is getting closer every time.

    Thank you for putting into words what I have thought all along.  Great! Article!

    • Denis,

      Thank you for your comments. Bob Proctor describes 5 paradigms that need to be changed and they do follow similar logic. His work is well worth reading and his website is inspirational.

      I appreciate you telling me that although you are not ready to fire the boss or take up an intrapreneurial role in your current employment, you still do have an entrepreneurial mindset in creating your own future in your spare time.

      After all, slow and steady wins the race.

      Wishing you all the success in planning your future.

      Stay in touch,

      Gary

  5. I have been an employee for so long but not going to lie I am getting sick of working for someone.

    Im getting tired of logging into my employee portal to see if I have sick days, vacation or whatever.  Then I need to put in a request, then I almost need to beg to get a day off.

    I am tired of living paycheck to paycheck.  Im just working to survive.

    So bar none Im at the point where I am looking to be an entrepreneur as opposed to being an employee.

    This was a great article and it really helped me get going in the right direction.

    Dale

    • Hi Dale,

      Thank you providing your comments.

      It is great that you are considering a future that is best for you and not the company that places all the rules and restrictions on you. If you have to live by rules, make them your rules!

      Get the entrepreneur mindset, set some goals for YOUR life and then go for them. Don’t stop until you succeed.

      All my best wishes for a successful future,

      Gary

  6. Hi Gary, this is such a great post! I really like the 5 points you discussed that are capable of turning an employee mindset into an entrepreneur mind set. Who would not love spending time on what they love doing and making money while doing it? I love the fact that an entrepreneur is not in a J-O-B box. They can follow and grow their dreams to and level they want! 

    • Hi Juliet, thank you for your comments on my post. I had an employee (or more likely an intrapreneur) mindset for a long time and it was only after I read Anik’s book that I saw through this. I would recommend it to anybody who wants to start living for themselves instead of someone else (the boss!)

      Spending time doing what you love and getting paid for it is the ultimate rush. I know, I am doing it.

      Success for your future,

      Gary

  7. Good afternoon Gary,

    I think your post will give quite a lot of people the understanding and then the confidence to make the leap. You explain very well the differences between the way of thinking of an employee compared to an entrepeneur. 

    I think it depends a lot how parents have educated their child. If they have given the child enough confidence to think outside the box and courage to spead its wings all will be good. 

    We have been brainwashed in believing we are not capable of greatness. We should brainwash ourselves into thinking we can accomplice great things. Yes, we can.

    Regards, Taetske

    • Thanks for your comments Taetske.

      How parents interact with their children is part of the problem and part of the solution. Parents that don’t have an entrepreneur mindset will tend to pass the same mindset to their children. Building confidence in your child and showing them by example that anything is possible is the solution.

      The education system is also to blame for creating the employee mindset. Large classrooms and set curricula results in everybody being like everybody else (in most cases). Some students will come out differently and maybe this is due to the parents. It would be an interesting study.

      Please brainwash yourself into thinking you can accomplish great things. Your mindset will ensure that you succeed.

      Best wishes,

      Gary

  8. I was told that one with an entrepreneur mindset blossoms more than one with an employee mindset. I’m grateful to see how I can overcome the employee mindset right in this article. I’m venturing into something new and these tips would go a long way in my Ventures.

    I want to escape the rat race and the only medium is to do what I love with my time.

    I don’t see money as an issue; I am damn good in saving to aim my target.

    I have a great dreams and would do all I can to see it in real life ☺️

    • Vwegba, thank you for your comments.

      It is great to see that you are venturing into something new. That is the trait of an entrepreneur. Get outside your comfort zone and try something new.

      Escaping the 9-to-5 and doing what you love will ensure a long and stress-free life. Especially if you are good at saving and money is not an issue. For those where money is an issue, there are still many low-cost ways where you can start doing your own thing. Check out my other posts.

      Best wishes and I hope all your dreams do come true,

      Gary

  9. Hi Gary,

    I laughed when I read your analogy of a toddler learning to walk to being an entrepreneur.  I have a granddaughter who learned how to walk recently and she watched her sister who was 4 yrs old.  When the time came she would sit there and contemplate her moves.  Then she would pull herself up on something and give it a try.  Eventually she’d take a step or two and gain confidence.  She fell and flopped many many times before she got good at it, then there was no stopping her.  So that comparison is genius.  

    So they are born entrepreneurs at heart, but as you said their creativity is taken away and they are molded into the employee mindset.   I always had an entrepreneur spirit but kept working out of necessity.  Eventually when the children were grown I started working for myself.  Long hours but loving it.  Having the freedom and my time to use for my good and gain and not someone else’s business.

    This is a good article, well thought out and written  Thank you for the time you invested in it.

    V. Pearl

    • Hi Vanna,

      Thank you for the kind words. I have a 2 year old grandson and was in the same situation as you, watching him trying to walk. It was the basis for my analogy.

      It is great that you have started up your own business since your children have grown up. As you say, it takes a long time but if you are doing something which you enjoy, it is much easier to persevere. I like analogies so will use another one here.

      Starting up a business is like building a skyscraper. It takes a long, long time to pour the foundations but, once they are in place, the rest of the building is completed in no time at all.

      Build your base and your business will flourish.

      Best wishes,

      Gary

  10. Gary, Hi! I read your topic (already read it!) And immediately began to think in sync with you. More precisely, in the flow of your reasoning. On the formation of the entrepreneur, his thinking and character. About difficulties and overcoming them. 

    I haven’t gotten to eSCAPE: The 4 Stages Of Becoming A Successful Entrepreneur by Anik Singal. Which do you recommend. 

    I enjoyed your energetic manner of explanation and clarity of conclusions.

    Let’s start with the term “passive earnings”. It came from fabulous presentations and pseudo-advertising fireworks. Well, there simply cannot be a passive entrepreneur! 

    Thank you for thinking topic. Mark

    • Hi Mark, thank you for your comments.

      I am glad you are in sync with me. Too often, people think that the entrepreneur mindset is one of taking big risks and hoping for a successful outcome. This is far from the truth.

      Entrepreneurs take measured risks and will continually modify their behaviours to ensure they can control the risk. Otherwise, they would be called gamblers!

      Anik’s book, eSCAPE, is a great expose on the entrepreneur mindset. You can get it by clicking on the banner for the cost of delivery ($7.99 I recall), so it is not quite free. But, I guarantee that after you read it, you will think very differently about most things that you have been doing in life. It is eye-opening.

      I agree passive earnings are not really passive and particularly not to an entrepreneur. You need to put in a lot of hard work at the beginning and eventually it may become relatively “passive”. But, being an entrepreneur, you will not be satisfied just sitting on your laurels. You will want to go out and try something new.

      So maybe you are right. Maybe entrepreneur and passive shouldn’t be used in the same sentence!

      I hope you have a very successful future,

      Gary

  11. Hi, This was a very informative article. It is so true what you say about how we are programmed and how more people stick with the option they know and also for little gratification in the way of self development or retirement. I was just wondering how come you seemed to stop numbering your sections at number 5, or was that intentional. Just not sure. However, the article drew my attention from the very beginning and gave me some pointers as to why I have not yet achieved my own goals of financial independence. I truly look forward to more articles from you .

    • Hi David, thank you for your comments.
      It is a sad reality that we are gradually forced to give up our entrepreneur spirit and we move through the education system and into the workforce. It is up to you to take back that control.
      There are 5 core areas where employees and entrepreneurs think differently; time, money, problems, dreams and struggle. This is what the numbered sections refer to. Sorry if I was not clear.
      Take up the challenge and create an entrepreneur mindset. Focus on your goals of financial independence and don’t let anything (or anyone) get in your way.
      Best luck,
      Gary

  12. I really liked you article and can agree to all the points you have shown and wrote the explanation.

    It also brought me back, 22 years ago, in the old country, where I started a home care business and how I had to struggle, overcome obstacles and did succeed in the end. Back then, it took me 3 years to break into the competitive market.

    I remember, during an entrepreneur workshop the workshop leader said clearly, that it can take  up to 5 years until a business is established enough to be called a success; meaning, that it has put down enough roots and is considered stable enough to be build upon.

    I think, this too can be said here as well. I mean the struggle, time issues, problems coming out of nowhere etc will never really go away no matter how long you are in business.

    However, in the first 5 years of being an entrepreneur it can be more than crucial and, only the mindset of an entrepreneur, will help the individual to overcome it and achieve its goal/success

    Thank you for the insight you have given it is very helpful and certainly make you think if you like to be an entrepreneur or if you like to be an employee.

    • Thanks for your comments Sylvia.

      It can take a long time to become “successful” as an entrepreneur. But if you are doing something that you enjoy, it is much easier than slaving for a boss for your entire working life.

      It is your choice if you would like to be an entrepreneur or an employee and I am not going to persuade you one way or the other. How you live your life is up to you to decide.

      I made my choice and will never look back.

      Best wishes to you for your choice,

      Gary

  13. Hi Gary, I really like your article and how you perceive about entrepreneurship. In most part of your article, you’ve actually hit the “bull’s eye” in terms of your facts.

    I believe that entrepreneurship is a life-long “subject”. And it is not mend for every person, a true entrepreneur will truly succeed if they love to “build” stuff and not getting exhausted in what they’re creating. It’s not always about how much $ a person can actually make at in his / her lifetime.

    The money or (net worth) in layman terms is just a bi-product for the “success” of the stuffs that we’ve built. One thing for sure is that those who started entrepreneurship at a young age (say under 30) / never attended college are more likely to succeed in entrepreneurial journey. There’s still HOPE for those who’s obtain a college degree / been trained for several years in an employee atmosphere.

    One thing for sure is that entrepreneurs have REALLY high desire to WIN. Build “something” that’s worth to be proud of and get the fame and money out of it. I believe that’s the common trait for all people with entrepreneurial mindset and successful entrepreneurs.

    At the end of the day, execution of all the entrepreneurial ideas will only come to LIFE if the entrepreneur hold on to his “dreams” and never give up in building an EXCITING LIFE. Not to mention the fact that, entrepreneurs have to “hang out” with entrepreneurs to maintain the spirit and enthusiasm in whatever niche we’re focusing at.

    One of the best place to hangout is Wealthy Affiliate. An absolute “hangout spot” for internet entrepreneurs who think and act alike.

    -ChrisC.

    • Hi Chris,

      Thank you for your comments on my article. It is true that there seem to be a lot of young entrepreneurs and it may be because they have not been subjeted to the employee mindset. But, having said that, there are also a lot of people who are retired or nearing retirement that see that the 9-to-5 grind is only making their employers wealthy and go on to create very successful businesses, both online and offline.

      I think it just comes down to the individual and their mindset.

      Wealthy Affiliate is a great place to hangout if you have an entrepreneur mindset. There is an ad for WA on the side bar if anybody is interested in joining.

      All the best success for your future,

      Gary

  14. Thanks for sharing this informative and educative post. I used to have the employee mindset because that’s is what the syste has taught us to be , I must really thank you because reading this has turn my mindset and I will follow everything I this post to be pleased with myself. I really love this and I will strongly share this post for others to get educated.

    • Thank you for your comments.

      I hope that you can change from an employee to an entrepreneur mindset as this opens up endless possibilities for you in the future. No longer will you be happy to just “do what needs to be done to survive”. A positive mindset creates a positive physical state as well and you suddenly feel that there is more to do with your life.

      Take up a new hobby or a side hustle business, lose weight or build muscle tone – there are so many interesting things that you can do if you have the right mental approach.

      Please share this post with others. They also deserve the best life has to offer.

      Gary

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