Read This Before You Go From Being an Employee to Entrepreneur

I’d annihilated the interview, four rounds of it —feeling more momentum every step of the way and knew I was a shoo-in. 

The flashy job with a nice salary was all but mine. When the phone rang from the CEO, I knew it was a matter of detail, logistics, all that jazz.

And that’s when he told me:

“You’re the best candidate we’ve ever had, and you’re an impressive young man —but we consider you unemployable. In other words, we think you’ll leave us.”

At that moment, I didn’t know how to react. Was this a compliment, or a total diss? As I hung up the phone, I had one of those moments: where you realize something is fundamentally different in your life.

Right there, I knew would never work for someone else —and I was 100% responsible. And listen: in an entrepreneurial, do-it-yourself culture —there is nothing wrong working for someone else.

Buuuuuut I’m a firm believer in approaching life entrepreneurially, meaning, taking command and control of You, Inc.

Because everyone is one swift decision away from being left on the street —and no company is loyal to anyone.

Plus, in a changing economy and the way we’re quickly moving towards a remote, freelance, project-based workforce —you can’t not take ownership.

When I work with those transitioning from being an employee to a full-blown business owner —we don’t start from the outside in (marketing, strategy, tactics, sales, etc.).

Instead, we start from the inside out. Because, often, new entrepreneurs carry a worn-out employee mindset, leaving them stuck in performance, lacking results, and wondering why it’s not happening for them.

Let’s dive in.

1. Employees Save, entrepreneurs Create

The employee model is about saving because income is relatively fixed, while entrepreneurs create. This saving mindset is more than simply income: it permeates every decision an employee tends to make.

When resources are fixed, you’re more prone to hold on to what you have.

For example, say you want to invest $10,000 in your business or go to Maui for 10 days—the employee mindset will find ways to cut back and create a 9-month plan where an entrepreneur can find ways to create more value in the marketplace and potentially have it tomorrow.

Because of this mindset, entrepreneurs are able to collapse the time, distance, space, and effort between where they are today —and what their goals are. 

2. Employees Focus on Time and Effort, Entrepreneurs on Results

In a time-and-effort economy, you’re mostly paid on the fixed inputs of – you guessed it – time and effort. While the benefit here is you typically still get paid regardless of the result, it’s a huge price to pay.

When you transition into an entrepreneurial mindset, you must leave the land of time and effort behind —and operate in a results economy. You get paid for your result, not how long you tried something or the 7 failures it took you to get there.

For example, it takes an employee 25 hours to complete a project within the organization —but it takes the same entrepreneur 5 hours to do so. Who wins here? Of course, the entrepreneur: they got the result in 5 hours and now have 20 hours left over to either produce more results or take time off.

3. Employees Build Their Lives Around Their Work —Entrepreneurs Build Their Work Around Their Lives

Because the traditional employee model requires 40-50 hours a week at a fixed location (with time and effort) —this takes up their best days and times —while an entrepreneur has the freedom to build a business around their lifestyle.

In a results economy, the time when you complete the result doesn’t matter: what matters is the outcome.

For example, the average American worker is productive 1.8 hours in an 8-hour workday. An entrepreneur can put in 4 lethally focused hours, and be done by 12 PM.

The employee isn’t driven to do the same, because they’d have another 5 hours left.

4. Employees Operate in Constraint, Entrepreneurs in Abundance

Last, and most importantly, as an employee, no matter how incredibly you work for the next 12 months and make the company profit, you’re capped:

  • Capped in income.
  • Capped in bonuses.
  • Capped in performance.
  • Capped in take-home cash.

Often, there are limits, there are hierarchies, there are bosses and meetings, and, in many cases, it is not a performance-driven culture.

The three big issues I see here are:

  1. You can hit a Grand Slam and your income goes up 5%.
  2. You’re bound to a certain level of performance due to hierarchies.
  3. Public companies value shareholders over employees.
  4. It takes decades to accumulate sustainable wealth.

Alternatively, in an entrepreneurial model, you can increase your income 10X year to year if you do it right.

There are no caps. There are no bizarre hierarchies where you need to taper down your performance because your boss will be insulted and look bad.

From Employee to Entrepreneur

So, is it all sunshine and puppies in the entrepreneurial world?

Of course not —with all of these benefits, there are risks. If you don’t get a result with your work, you don’t get paid. If you don’t “feel” like showing up, no one is going to hold you accountable.

And last: there is nothing wrong with being an employee —if this is in line with your values, you find meaning and some autonomy in your work. But I believe having an employee mindset is the path to average:

Average thinking, average execution, average lifestyle.

But when you have the mindset of a creator, a producer, a problem solver (even within an organization): you become the leader, and leaders get paid and are the linchpins.

Which one of these connected with you and what can you do about it?

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