Thinking About Going From Employee to Entrepreneur? Make These Mindset Changes First

Running your own business is very different from working for someone else


We don’t need to make becoming an entrepreneur something mythical, because it is not. But it is decidedly different from being an employee. If you’ve delayed starting a business because you can’t quite figure out how to make the mental leap to that of an entrepreneur, this article is for you. Here is what is necessary to get into the right mindset.  

1. Learn to think horizontally rather than vertically.

I’m speaking mostly to people who have been in jobs in large corporations. Large companies have people doing acute jobs with plenty of electric fences. It is very difficult to think holistically if you’ve worked long enough in a large corporation or even a government institution. You are trained to think about how to do one job rather than how an entire organization runs.

If you’ve worked as a plumber under a company, you are probably good at doing plumbing work, but do you understand the importance of customer service, billing, human resources management, etc.?  

I often recommend people start with their own one-person business, so they have time to learn how to think in an integrated, rather than a role-based, way. Also, there is a lot of good literature that you can read that will help you start to think more broadly when you start your own business. I really like Paul Hawken’s book, Growing a Business.

2. Learn to be alone. 

This is another vague point, but it is a crucial one. When you work in a company, you work around other people. You are affiliated with something larger than you. This is similar to being in school, when we had reference points. I’m not sure how to remedy this, but I mention that it will be part of your reality, so you can be mentally prepared.

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