I have a question today for anyone that’s an entrepreneur.
Is your employee mindset holding you back?
You might be wondering what started my trek down that rabbit hole. The truth of the matter is that when I started getting serious about my 2020 planning, I had to face the fact that my mindset and some of my habits were indeed holding me back. They were causing me to play small.
What do I mean by that? In spite of outsourcing a lot of things, I am doing too many tasks in my business I shouldn’t be doing. It’s just that simple. I want to go on record and say this is the year that’s going to change, and I mean it. I am in the process of creating a new outsourcing plan for myself. More on that at a later time.
Why Did You Start Your Business?
None of us started our businesses to work harder than we worked in the jobs we were so anxious to escape. We wanted control, we wanted freedom, and we wanted more free time to enjoy life. But for most small business owners, that just isn’t the way it worked out. We are more tied down than ever.
When you’re just starting out, it’s pretty typical that it’s a one-man show. However, you cannot grow a real business if you stay that way. It certainly impacts the money you make when you’re trading YOUR hours for dollars. So, let’s take a look at some of the differences between the employee mindset and the entrepreneurial mindset. That is the first thing that needs to change.
The Beginning of the Entrepreneurial Journey
Most people running their own businesses today didn’t start out that way. They started out as an employee working for someone else. Somewhere along the way, they started or possibly acquired a business. There’s a significant learning curve for most people because there is actually a big difference between working for someone and being the business owner.
I want to be clear that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being an employee. The world needs employees and the particular skills they have. Not everyone has the desire to own their own business. However, it’s a fact that entrepreneurs have to learn to look at things differently which means they need a different mindset. Let’s dive into that.
The Employee Mindset vs the Entrepreneurial Mindset
In order to adopt the mindset of an entrepreneur, you have to let go of the employee mindset and that can be a lot easier said than done. Our brains get used to performing in a certain way. It’s not always easy to tell it, “Hey, I’m done with the old way of doing things; this is the new way”. But that’s exactly what we need to do to make big sweeping change
One important distinction between the mindset of employees and entrepreneurs is the way they look at these two things: security vs freedom. As entrepreneurs, freedom is one of our big “whys”. That’s not to say that we don’t also value security, but we want the freedom being an entrepreneur allows us. On the other hand, most employees place a high value on security. Entrepreneurship is way too risky for them.
Looking at my childhood, I grew up during a time when most people wanted the perceived “security of a job”. It was very common for people to get a job right out of school and stay in the same company until retirement. My dad was an entrepreneur though, so I always understood the benefits of entrepreneurship. I also understood the worry and the stress that went with being the owner of a small business from a very young age. Here’s the thing; people with an entrepreneurial mindset just accept that as part of the package. They accept and are OK with a certain amount of “what if’s” and insecurity.
4 Other Important Distinctions
1.Trading time for dollars.
When you are an employee your income is limited by the number of hours you can work, and you are paid a set amount of money. You are trading your time for money. That’s not the case for business owners. They know that having other people doing tasks in their business instead of them doing them is the path to true freedom. They are likely thinking, “Who can I get to do these tasks so that I have more free time in my life and more time to work ON my business”? They know how much it is costing them to actually do the low-level tasks.
2. Strategic thinking.
Entrepreneurs have to think strategically to grow their businesses, while employees are generally just thinking about what they have to do today. This is one area where the employee mindset really holds entrepreneurs back.
3. Risk avoidance.
Another big difference is that employees generally avoid taking risks. Remember, they want security. Business owners have to get comfortable with taking calculated risks if they are going to be successful.
4. Results vs effort.
Robert Kiyosaki once said, “When things go wrong, a successful entrepreneur is the first to raise their hand and admit it was their fault. And when it comes to rewarding talent, this is based on results, not effort”. Entrepreneurs value results. If they can figure out a way to get a job done faster and with less effort, they are all in.
Someone with an employee mindset has been trained to believe that their effort should be rewarded; you work an hour and you get paid for that hour. If you think back to the very first job you had, the boss was quick to point out how things were to be done. They told you the rules, and they almost always discouraged any kind of independent thinking or even the suggestion that there might be a better/easier/faster way of doing something. We were taught this mindset right from the beginning. That’s why it’s so easy to fall into the trap of doing everything ourselves as a business owner. We think it’s our effort and our hard work that brings us success.
Getting Rid of the Employee Mindset
The first step is knowing that you’ve held on to your employee mindset even though you’re an entrepreneur building a business. Most people don’t even realize they’ve done this.
However, once it really sinks in that you’ve been doing things all wrong for way too long, you can begin the process of change. After all, we did this to ourselves. We unknowingly created this situation, and we have to be the ones to change it.
Take out a piece of paper and draw two lines down the center of the paper so you have 3 columns. The first step is to write down every single job or task in your business in the left column. In the middle column, write the name of the person that does that job. Do they all say, “me”? Probably so for a lot of people.
Take a hard look at that list and put a checkmark beside at least 5 things that could be outsourced right away. Remember, you want to ditch the employee mindset. You can get a VA (virtual assistant) on Upwork for as little as $4.00 or $5.00 an hour. Having someone take even a few of these tasks off your plate for as few as 4 or 5 hours a week can be life-changing. We’re talking baby steps here. You can take those few hours, head out to a coffee shop and work ON your business strategically. It’s important to leave your actual work-space when you do this.
The next step is to take a look at revenue-generating activities on the list. Identify those things that at least have the potential to make you money. Revenue-generating activities should be some of the first things you outsource. What are some of those things?
Direct mail is the first thing that comes to my mind. Outsource your direct mail campaigns so that they are on autopilot. This will generate income and free up some of your time at the same time. If you are cold calling prospects, this can be outsourced too.
Your Zone of Genius
Look at all the tasks on your list and identify those things that only you should be doing. These are the things that are in your zone of genius; things that you are really good at and ultimately set you and your business apart from the competition. I would like to point out that these should not be lower-level tasks that are just easy for you. We’re talking high-level work.
This will be different for everyone. In my business, I am the face of my blog and my podcast. These are two things I wouldn’t outsource since they are so intricately tied in with my brand.
Once you are clear on the only things you should be doing, make the decision to get rid of the rest of those tasks over time. I want you to think long term. Full disclosure; this won’t happen overnight. I can tell you from experience, it won’t happen at all without a plan. My very first attempt at outsourcing was all laid out on a whiteboard in my office. That’s where I had all the tasks listed. Next, I underlined the ones in blue marker that I identified as the first things I wanted to outsource. Once I had actually outsourced a particular task, I checked it off with a different color marker. (You probably figured out I’m a very visual person).
Something else I had on this whiteboard was things I wanted to create that year like coaching programs, new marketing campaigns and other ideas for growing my business. I still have that whiteboard today, and it always reminds me of the power of doing this exercise. The very act of creating such a visual plan is so powerful. Do yourself a huge favor and get a big sheet of whiteboard at one of the big box stores like Home Depot or Lowes. You can get a sheet of that for about $10.00 or less.
My Challenge to You…
My challenge to you is to outsource at least 2 or 3 things in the next 30 days. They can be small things, and this doesn’t have to cost a lot. But it’s important to just get started right away. You just need to take those first steps and begin to act like a true business owner. Remember; this is all about getting rid of the employee mindset so you actually think differently.
I Would Love to Hear Your Thoughts
Have you discovered that you still have an employee mindset without even realizing it? Let me know.
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