photo of hands holding 2 sticky notes and one reads employee and the other self-employed

Employee versus Entrepreneur Mindset: What you need to know

Employee versus entrepreneur mindset – knowing the difference will help you succeed as a business owner.

If you’re in the beginning phases of exploring entrepreneurship, it’s vital you take time to get to know yourself a bit better and assess if entrepreneurship is the right path for you. And if you’re already a full blown entrepreneur, it doesn’t hurt to take a look at where your old employee mindset might be keeping you stuck.

First off, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being an employee, the world needs awesome employees. It’s simply important to realize being an employee vs an entrepreneur each requires completely different mindsets. And if you’ve been an employee for most of your life it will take some time to shift your mindset to that of an entrepreneur.

So let’s dive into some of the top the mindset differences between an employee and entrepreneur.

Security vs Freedom

Most people were raised being told to find and hold a “secure job”, so they stay at their jobs because of the understandable desire for security. They get a regular paycheck, paid vacation, benefits and know exactly what they need to get done on any given day. 

On the other hand, entrepreneurs desire freedom and with that comes an uncertainty they embrace. They often don’t get a regular paycheck or any benefits. Entrepreneurs also don’t have a boss setting deadlines and telling them what to do so they have tons of freedom. Because of this difference entrepreneurs need to learn how to manage themselves and their time to take advantage of the freedom they have.

Held Accountable vs Self Accountable

While an employee has a boss they’re accountable to, an entrepreneur is their own boss. This means they need to master self-discipline which isn’t easy for most. If you’re someone who prefers to be told what to do versus having to create your own plans, schedules, tasks, you’re going to need to practice adopting self-accountability to become a successful entrepreneur.

Saying Yes versus Saying No

Employees believe in the value of saying yes. This “yes person” mentality can position them in a positive light with their boss, ideally leading to pay increases, bonuses, etc. 

Entrepreneurs are masters of saying no. They realize they need to hyperfocus on what will give them the greatest return for their investment instead saying yes to every opportunity that comes their way.

DIY vs Delegate

While employees embrace the “I can do it all” mentality, entrepreneurs leverage delegating. Like the last point about saying yes versus no, employees need to impress their bosses whereas entrepreneurs need to use their time wisely to reach their goals.

Safety vs Risk

As I mentioned before, employees thrive on safety and security, enjoying the benefits of a “stable” job. Entrepreneurs tend to be risk takers. They have a willingness to live with uncertainty and are aware failure is part of the journey.

Balance vs Seasons

Most employees state they are looking to achieve the illusive “work – life balance”. They’re forever trying to figure out how they can make sure every area of their life is getting equal attention.

On the other hand, entrepreneurs feel “work – life balance” is a fallacy and instead focus on seasons. They embrace the fact that there will be times where you have to give a certain area of life less attention, but it won’t be forever.

Fixed vs Flexible Time Management

Employees are great at taking the tasks they are assigned and getting them done within the scheduled deadlines.  Since entrepreneurs typically wear many hats, they have to learn the art of flexible time management. 

Now vs Future mindset

While the employee is focused on the work to be done on a particular day, entrepreneurs focus on the future. Yes entrepreneurs have specific tasks that might need to get done today, but they keep their eye on their vision and work towards it.

Technician vs Driver

Employees are technicians. They are hired to perform a certain role and are highly skilled at their craft. They get paid to perform tasks solely related to their role. 

Entrepreneurs are drivers. They are the ones with the vision, roadmap and drive. Entrepreneurs need to be able to see where they want to take a business and work to get it there. This often involves taking on a variety of roles and constantly assessing the results of their efforts.

This is probably the most tricky mindset shift for entrepreneurs to make when shifting out of the employee role, especially if their business involves them also being the technician. If that’s you, just remember you need to prioritize taking time to focus on being the driver as well.

Becoming an entrepreneur

It takes time and practice to adopt an entrepreneurial mindset. Being a business owner is natural for some, learned for others, and not a great fit for many. Whether you are exploring the idea of entrepreneurship or are already on your journey, use the list above to assess your strengths and weaknesses. Once you are clear on where you still have an employee mindset, start putting practices in place to shift your approach.  This isn’t always easy to do on your own, so don’t hesitate to connect with a business coach, mentor or fellow entrepreneur to support you. 

Looking for more insight on making the mindset shift, check out the article “9 ‘Mindsets’ You Need to Switch From Employee to Entrepreneur.” 

We’re here to help

Our Fall 2023 Start Up: Business Bootcamp will be Monday and Thursday evenings from 5:30-7:00 PM October 16th through November 9th and is designed to help you not only launch and grow your business, but also uncover if entrepreneurship is right for you!

And if you’re looking for individual support, you can schedule a business coaching session with one of our coaches.

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