If you are someone who is currently working as an employee and in a confused state about considering to should start your own business or not? This blogpost talks about 11 entrepreneur mindset shifts a person with an employee mindset needs to know while starting on to the entrepreneurial journey. Inculcating these mindset shifts will definitely help you start & become a successful entrepreneur. Though being an entrepreneur is an unimaginably rewarding thing, let me tell you that being an employee is not at all bad. Choosing between being an employee or to become an entrepreneur is totally your choice. Whatever is your choice, it’s all good to go with. But if you are reading this till now, it’s something inside you urging you to start & become an entrepreneur. So, I suggest you to consider giving a good thought on whether you have the mindset to become an entrepreneur. If you are unaware of any of the below points or recognize gaps to be ready to instill it by learning and developing yourself.
The good news is anyone can instill these key elements by working on themselves. So, let’s begin…
1 Breaking of Inferiority Complex
To start with this, I would like to mention a quote from Les Brown –
“You don’t have to be great to be started but you must start to be great”.
One of the major reasons for not taking 1st step is thinking I am lack this or that and either wait endlessly or dropping the ides.
Apart from race, religion, height, weight, or skin color, it’s also an observation that many aspiring entrepreneurs do not take the 1st step of beginning due to one or more questions like -
I don’t have a business background in my family.
I am not rich.
I do not have anyone to guide me.
I was not excellent/good in academics
I failed during my college
I am not comfortable with computer/tech things.
Usually, all the above statements are considered excuses but it also indicates it needs to be corrected at mindset level. This also refers to an inferiority complex, breaking this pattern is the most important for anyone who aspires to be a successful entrepreneur.
One of the best ways that I feel to break this is reading & watching biographies of successful people. Another way is to watch TEDx / Josh Talk type of shows and this will give you an inspiration that it’s ok not to have any of the above things and you still be able to make it successful with entrepreneurship.
Courage is nothing but "Moving from Fear to being Bold" enough to take 1st step and the next one and the next one and on and on and on….
Being courageous does not mean taking unreliable risks but calculated risks.
You need to plan it well like putting down your business plan, analyzing risk factors, identifying & closing as many gaps as possible before getting into a full-time business.
Without doing all this homework and moving full-time into business could be considered equivalent to a suicidal attempt. So, the mindset of courage with calculated risks is the kind of important aspect when deciding your “last day at work” as an employee & from there onwards as well.
In today's digital era, all of this has become even easier. You can do the market surveys, optimize your offerings, try & test those in the market, well before you jump on to full-time entrepreneurship. Isn't that awesome and be thankful for as compared to entrepreneurial generations just a couple of decades ago?
Whatever you do, self-belief is the most important factor to be great at anything.
My mentor said, “you will encounter crazy problems on the way to entrepreneurship so be ready to swim through it”.
You will observe the presence of this key aspect in all of the biographies of successful entrepreneurs. Be it Steve Jobs or Jeff Bezos, or Mark Zuckerberg or Dhirubhai Ambani, or Narayan Murthy, or any super successful entrepreneur in the technology or non-tech domain, this element matters the most. Without it, it’s very difficult to sustain through this path.
The best part is with the right guidance you can build it and counter all the challenges.
Your environment is more powerful than your willpower so, putting yourself into the right environment is also equally important to keep your self-belief at high levels. In other words, the people you hang around with are the utmost important part.
There are a few key elements that constitute the right attitude of a successful entrepreneur -
a. Passion - One needs to be extremely passionate about what he/she is doing. I mean, it has to be done like being on a mission.
b. Flexibility - Everyone is not capable to handle sudden changes or negative surprises. An entrepreneur is destined to face those much more than the employee would be so to encounter and cut through this it's necessary to be flexible to adapt to new situations, quickly change approach. If required learn new technologies and make changes accordingly.
c. Ethics - Slogging through long working hours, being creative to provide value, uphold yourself in cutthroat competition with unique positioning, and deliver the best is not easy. There is very little probability to be successful without a strong work ethic. Face the fact that it's not a 40 or 48 hrs workweek and planning for vacations, there is no shortcut to success.
d. Integrity - Authenticity is driven by walking the path of integrity. Thoughts, Words & Actions should be in sync all the time. This is an uncompromising thing to run & win a marathon of successful entrepreneurship.
e. Get It Done - This can also be referred to as being a "ninja warrior". An employee working with the corporate is concerned only to deliver tasks assigned to him/her and all the support system is available around him. The reverse is the case with an entrepreneur, where he needs to build his/her own support system for getting the desired output. He/she needs to be all over and doing things. Inability to make it happen will incur a heavy toll for him/her. "Come what may, I am gonna make it happen" is the mantra of an entrepreneur.
5 Breaking Comfort Zone
By now, you must have realized the environment an entrepreneur lives in is, full of uncertainty, surrounded by risks and challenges. Oh yes, there are a lot of lucrative benefits of being an entrepreneur but everything has cost attached to it. Competition analysis, finding problems in the market, putting up your beta version, getting feedback, improvising your solutions is a continuous process. You can't have a fixed schedule of work hrs., if not 2 days a week but at least 1 day a week of which you can spend with family, perks if you got to work with good corporate and many such things while working in a job. Man, you need to be ready to sacrifice all of this when you get on to the entrepreneurial journey. There will be endless working hrs. in a day and never-ending weeks in a month. This is just one part of it, you cannot afford to be a specialist but should be able to contribute and control every aspect of the business. It could be designing product & solutions, marketing & doing sales, client servicing, managing finances, hiring and managing teams, deciding on accumulating the right resources, and all of that. You literally can’t afford to be in your comfort zone at all. I will rephrase it as “Being in discomfort should be a new comfort zone”. I might not be able to put it completely in words over here so refer to the picture of this section which depicts everything of an entrepreneur's "new comfort zone".
From an employee to getting on to an entrepreneurial journey is like moving from one environment to a totally different one. I love to refer to it as "Security to Freedom Journey" There is a process to arrive at this 'life of freedom'. It's like to be comfortable in a consistently uncomfortable environment. A highly flexible & adaptable person will enjoy this journey and be able to get through to point of freedom. Situations can change anytime like economic, social, political environments around you or any disruptive technology can hold the ability to wipe out your products and solutions within months so taking into consideration all this, an entrepreneur needs to ask himself “is your business can absorb such shock and are you able to adapt to changes and sustain through?” The situations mentioned here are just a few examples of uncontrollable factors in an external environment, we also have internal factors as well. Such as key members leaving the team at a critical phase or running short on finances or any such will test your adaptability to pitch in yourself and if you adopt to do it yourself or find a new way to do it quickly & effectively. Giving a deep thought over this and being truthful to yourself will be worth it.
I fear not the man who practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times - Bruce Lee
This statement from the great Bruce Lee tells a lot about the importance of self-discipline. When you are working as an employee for someone else, ownership of results (success or failure) is not only yours however while running your own business it’s completely yours.
You are responsible for each and every activity and outcome of the same so it’s highly important to have self-disciplined. People around you will look up to you for inspiration. They will sense if there are any open gaps. Having instability on this part can go against you. Very small things in self-discipline like being on time for meetings and receiving calls or responding to emails can add huge points to build your reputation. This will also enable you to keep taking action consistently. Self-discipline will help you to keep focused on pursuing your vision irrespective of the rejections you face. This is one of no brainer activities that you can get into and build your habits for achieving success.
Being judgemental is a common factor amongst common people and so will be with a new entrepreneur as well. People will judge, they will provide their opinion about your abilities, products, solutions but you got to be confident about it.
"I don't believe in taking the right decisions, I take decisions and then make them right" - is a famous quote from Mr. Ratan Tata
In the initial phase, you might not be confident about your concept. You might be thinking about what they (friends/family/colleagues/etc.) will talk/think about it? Let me tell you, as long as you are solving a burning issue of your market, people's opinion does not matter at all.
Ok, and one more, as compared to men, this confidence thing is a bit less in aspiring women entrepreneurs when they start. At the same time, I must acknowledge that once they get it, it’s an unstoppable road to success. Belief in your idea will help to build confidence for you. Well researched concept and market analysis will boost it for sure.
As an entrepreneur, you cannot afford to not being confident about your own idea/product. Many say that “You need to fake it till you make it” but I suggest otherwise. It may take you more time to be successful in this way but your confidence will be rooftop high. The safest way is to provide solutions to unsolved problems of your market. Initially, you may need to do it free (don’t expect anything), get feedback directly from the market, improvise, and then sell. With this process, you will gain unstoppable confidence. Confidence helps you to see, create, and go after opportunities. It also helps in stabilizing and improving mental health too.
9 Risk Taking Ability
We enjoy dialogs like “रिस्क है तो इष्क है” & to some extent, that’s true as well but what’s more important is taking “calculated risks”. Security is attached with risk and that is important for both employees as well as entrepreneurs.
Employees get secured by taking no risks & entrepreneurs secure themselves by taking calculated risks. This is the biggest difference between employee & entrepreneurial mindsets. If you could figure out this formula for yourself to get to the calculated risk of everything around your business then owning that business is like being in heaven.
It reminds me of a quote from Dhirubhai Ambani - "You have to take the calculated risk, to earn something"
You must need to be predictable about your investment’s vs income for at least 6 months to a year in advance. When you have all the figures and pointers Infront of you, it will be easy to manage and control all areas of your business. In business, taking risks is not limited to finances but there are enormous areas where an entrepreneur will need to demonstrate this ability. There are huge benefits to it too. For example, approaching the market where competitors are not willing to take, they become leaders over there.
Taking action and getting failed is also valuable as entrepreneurs get the lessons to learn from. It helps in designing new & optimized strategies for future business growth. So, in all, if I have to categorize the risks taking ability an entrepreneur should focus and improve on then there are 5 major areas and those are –
- Financial risks – cash flow management
- Competitive risks - losing market share to your competitor
- Credibility risks – starting from no brand recognition to getting loyal customers
- Technology risks – being ready to overcome technology failures or encountering disruptive technologies
- Market risks - does the market is seeking your product or there is no demand at all.
Well, that’ an overused term but still that holds significant credit to put a tag as successful in the entrepreneurial journey, and most important is sustaining your venture. Look around yourself and you will find that, if not thousands but hundreds of people are already doing what you want to do.
That does not mean you should lose hope or change the idea of what you love to do.
"Don't worry about being successful but work toward being significant and the success will naturally follow" - Oprah Winfrey.
Because whatever you choose you will face competition and at the same time, there is enough for everyone. What’s important is how you position yourself and how uniquely you approach the market. To be successful, it’s very important to find the delta an entrepreneur brings into the market. What’s that delta of yours is the real question?
- That delta, making a difference.
- That delta, providing a solution to the burning problem.
- That delta, providing that product or service which competitors are not delivering.
I am not an expert to teach you how to be stand out in the market but can suggest the easiest way is that “doing the things others (competitors) are not doing” and eventually you will start getting your share. Survey & asking questions, reading a lot on your subject, and entrepreneurial material can be other sources where you get a lot of inspiration to build your uniqueness.
"If you don't give up, you still have a chance. Giving up is the greatest failure" - Jack Maa.
This quote states all about the importance of persistence and perseverance to keep moving in entrepreneurship. It’s easy to start, difficult to continue, and super simple to give up.
Data reveals that 80% of businesses close down in the 1st year of launch and 80% of the remaining 20% shuts down within the next two years. There are many reasons for this but one of the most common factors in all these is a lack of persistence.
It’s easier said than done, how will you continue –
When you are all down with rejections from everywhere?
When all your friends laugh at you?
When all your pockets are empty & drowned in debts?
When all you are out of ideas?
That’s really not an easy thing and one quits here if he/she lacks perseverance.
Fortunately, there are ample free and paid resources to build this mindset, look for those, and working on building this internal thing is a continuous process. Remember if you get disappointed or get frustrated at small things like someone else is taking credit for your project, it’s surely a warning sign for you of lacking this internal thing. Working on it is the only solution.
In the end, I would like to conclude this by putting one more quote –
“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” – Henry Ford.
Hope this blog post will help you decide to march on or not on your entrepreneurship journey. I would like to re-iterate that both ways are good. Choose based on what suits you personally. Wish you all the best for whatever path you would go from.
Did you like reading this, did this bring any value for you or if you have any suggestions, please comment below. Thanks for reading!