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How to Adopt an Entrepreneurial Mindset

Posted by Joe Garza on 2014-08-07

Making the transition from everyday employee to enterprising entrepreneur is often the most daunting aspect of launching a company.

However, Employee to Entrepreneur is here to equip you with the guidance you need to make your transition a smooth one. Each installment focuses on a specific topic related to entrepreneurship, with plenty of tips and advice from top experts in the field.

This installment centers on mindset -- that is, transforming your mindset from that of an employee to that of an entrepreneur.

Employees don’t become successful entrepreneurs simply by starting a company; they must also embrace an entirely new way of thinking in order to adapt to and thrive in the unpredictable world of startups.

If you’re an employee looking to make a seamless transition to becoming an entrepreneur, keep in mind the following five key ways you’ll need to adjust your outlook before making the leap.


1. Take Responsibility

As an employee, you might have been responsible for a number of tasks, though your boss was ultimately in charge. As an entrepreneur, you become responsible for an entire company -- everything that happens, good or bad, falls on you.

In a recent article titled "Nine Mindset Changes That Will Turn You From Employee to Entrepreneur", Maite Baron discusses the drastic shift in responsibility that takes place once you choose to become an entrepreneur:

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.”

In another article by Baron titled 9 ‘Mindsets’ You Need to Switch From Employee to Entrepreneur, she further emphasizes the necessity of a proactive mindset for entrepreneurs. Baron says,

You can’t wait for things to happen, or for someone to tell you what to do, you must make them happen. Successful entrepreneurs also understand that opportunities may be short-lived, and so develop a sense of urgency that helps them achieve their goals.”

2. Think “Big Picture”

Employees are often delegated specific tasks that allow little room to think beyond a narrow scope. Entrepreneurs must have the capacity to simultaneously be detail-oriented yet be able to focus primarily on the company at large. According to Baron,

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.”

3. Constantly Learn

As an employee, you may have initially learned a lot when you were first hired, but now find that you know everything there is to possibly know about your job. As an entrepreneur, the learning process is continual; there are always new skills and information to be gleaned that can further your company’s progress. Baron says,

Being an entrepreneur involves learning many new skills, unless you have the funds to outsource what you're not good at or don't want to do. That could be learning to set up a spreadsheet, getting investors on board, marketing your ideas, crafting your perfect pitch, or using unfamiliar technology.”

According to Farnoosh Brock, as described in the article "Considering Entrepreneurship? Drop the Employee Mindset First", you must also learn from your mistakes.

Mistakes happen as part of your learning curve when you switch to working for yourself. Make them, learn from them and never allow yourself to make the same mistake twice.”

4. Embrace Uncertainty

Everything about the life of an employee is predictable -- whether it’s salary, schedule, or projects, employees are typically accustomed to the comfort of stability. Entrepreneurs, however, view stability as stagnation and see unpredictability as a driver of change and progress. Baron says,

When you are an employee you become accustomed to the status quo, so when things change uncertainty 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.”

Brock additionally mentions the importance of breaking the monotony at work:

Discomfort should become your new normal, as well as your fuel for creativity and productivity. You’ll do your best and discover your brilliance when you push way outside that comfort zone.”

5. Accept Failure

Employees tend to see failure as the unthinkable -- something to be avoided at all costs. Not only do entrepreneurs not fear failure, but they accept it as inevitable and don’t let it stop them from progressing. According to Brock,

You’re not starting your own business to be a failure or a success; you’re starting it to make a difference [...] The best entrepreneurs don’t label their milestones as failures or successes, and this detachment keeps them focused on what’s really important: making a difference with your work.”

Making the leap from from employee to entrepreneur is by no means an easy feat; changing your mindset, however, is already a step in the right direction. In the words of Oprah Winfrey, "The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change by merely changing his attitude."

(Young attractive businesswoman sitting on top of rock and reading image by shutterstock)

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How to Adopt an Entrepreneurial Mindset

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