Episode 11: 8 Shifts To Go From Employee to Entrepreneur

When you think about how your week is going so far and how you’re showing up and putting in the work, are you acting more like the employee or the entrepreneur? 

If you started out your career working for someone else and you’re used to being an employee, there is an entire mindset around being an employee that has to shift to really take full advantage of all the opportunities that you have as an entrepreneur. 

Here are 8 shifts to go from employee to entrepreneur! 

  • Shift from focusing on the amount of time that you work to being productive. 
    • This was so hard for me when I first started my business. I felt like I had to work all day in my business even when the work was done. Rather than just getting things done and enjoying the freedom that I wanted to create as an entrepreneur, I was spending all of my time and filling my day, stretching out how long it took to get things done. I was focused on spending “enough” time working versus being productive and effective so that I can move on!
  • Stop following the rules and start breaking them.
    • As you look around at everyone else who is in a similar industry as you, you start to create these ideas in your head and what the rules are and how you should do things. But as the entrepreneur, you get to make the rules and it’s more important to innovate, to evolve, to adapt.
  • Go from avoiding discomfort at all costs to embracing it. 
    • Be courageous enough to take those steps even when you know you may fail. Risk it because of the potential reward.
  • Work on your business not just in the business. 
    • When you’re an employee you’re working in the business. You’re doing what needs to be done. But, as an entrepreneur, you have to set aside time to work ON your business in order to grow it.
  •  Shift from focusing on the present to thinking about the future.
    • As an employee, you may focus on the present, just showing up each and every day focusing on what needs to get done and trying to get through it but as the visionary, it’s your responsibility to think about the future.
  • Start looking at the metrics.
    • As an employee you might make decisions without any data or numbers, but as an entrepreneur, you have to look at the metrics.
  • Your clients are not your boss. 
    • You’re so used to having a boss as an employee and keeping them happy, that sometimes an entrepreneur, you treat your clients as your boss.
  • Never stop learning.
    • When you were an employee, maybe you have a lot of discomfort around the idea of being a beginner, but as an entrepreneur, there are so many things that you need to learn!

 

I hope that you're having an incredible week. I want you to really think about how your week is going so far. And when you think about each and every day, and how you're showing up, and putting in the work, whether you're acting more like the employee for the entrepreneur. If you started out your career working for someone else and you're used to being an employee, there's an entire mindset around being an employee that has to shift to really take a full advantage of all the opportunities that you have as an entrepreneur. The life of an entrepreneur sounds incredible. But sometimes you resist that life because of all of these ingrained beliefs, these beliefs that have been with you from the day that you started working. And those beliefs can hold your business back. So it's really important to make that shift.

 

I'm curious, what was your very first job? When did you start working? For me, I was 15 years old and I got permission to go and work with my grandmother. I worked with her for a couple of summers in a row, and it was so eye opening. My grandmother was a manager for a hosiery mill where they sewed all kinds of socks and clothes and things like that. And she was able to get me a job. And she told me that she wanted me to learn what it was like to work in a mill so that I would never settle for that kind of a job. She wanted more for me than she had built for herself. And I was committed to going to college, but if there was any doubt in my mind, this squash it. Let me tell you.

 

I knew that I wanted to do something more. My summers consisted of getting up early so we could be at the mill by 5 AM, there was a set time that we could take lunch and we'd have to punch the clock in and out, take our break in the break room, get back to work, and then our day was over by 2 p. M. Since we went in so early, I cherish the time that I spent with my grandmother those mornings driving in early as I was still waking up and the days heading back home, but those summers are where my mindset around work, began to form. The work that I did was in quality control and a little bit of packaging as well. So as other women finished sewing clothes, they would come over to me in huge stacks. And I check all the seams for holes and I would snip any loose threads, I learned how to fold and package everything so it would be ready for the storefront. But it's fascinating to me the things that I learned and how much I've had to shift my mindset since becoming Preneur, I was used to punching a clock and putting in a certain number of hours.

 

I was used to following the rules, working in my business, just focusing on what I had to do that day. That's all that mattered. Just getting done what I needed to do that day, I wanted to enjoy my work as much as possible. I didn't want any drama or discomfort or risk. I just wanted show up and do what I needed to do, the decisions I had to make were such low level decisions but I didn't really put much into those decisions. I had a boss that I had to report to, that I took direction from, and everything I did centered around making sure my boss was happy. I strived to get really good at what I was doing so that I was the experienced one. And yes, even at that early age, when another young girl came in to work, I was the one who was experienced and I could teach her how to do everything.

 

I liked being the expert, but so much had to shift. So let's walk through these 8 shifts to go from being an employee to an entrepreneur. The 1st shift is shifting from focusing on the amount of time that you work to being productive. This was so hard for me when I first made the shift. I felt like I needed to work full time in my business, and I very well might work full time hours or overtime in my business, but I felt like I had to versus when the work was done, allowing myself to take some time to rest and relax and go have some fun. But what I know from managing other people, as I worked my way up in my career, the time that it takes to get something done expands based on the amount of time that you have. So if you give an employee 8 hours to do something that takes 2 hours, they very well in many cases are gonna take that full amount of time. They'll take their time.

 

They may procrastinate or may not. They'll do extra research. Create more options. Whatever it is, but they'll take the amount of time that they have. And I found myself doing the same thing. Rather than just getting things done and moving on and, again, enjoying life, this flexibility and freedom that I wanted to create as an entrepreneur. Instead, I was spending all of my time and filling my day, stretching out how long it took to get things done. I was focused on spending enough time working, air quotes, versus being as productive and efficient and effective as I could possibly be so that I could move on.

 

But guess what? In business, in entrepreneurship, there's no participation trophy. So you don't get rewarded for the amount of time that you show up. You get rewarded based on the results that you actually create. So you have to aim for progress every single day, you've gotta figure out not only how you can be more productive but what you should spend your time on and spend your time on the best things for your business. The 2nd shift is going from being scared to make mistakes and following the rules to innovating and breaking the rules, as you look around at everyone else who's in a similar industry to you, you start to create these ideas in your head of what the rules are and how you should do things. Notice the word should. If you ever hear yourself think about what you should be doing, that should be a red flag. You get to make the rules, and as an entrepreneur, it can be more important to innovate, to evolve, to adapt, to try new things.

 

And with that said, that means that you have to be okay with the idea of failing. You have to get comfortable with failing. And that moves right into the next shift. You have to go from avoiding discomfort at all costs to embracing it, to embracing the discomfort and the risk and being courageous enough to take those steps, even when you know you may fail, risking it because of the potential reward. Number 4, you need to work on your business, not just in the business. So when you're an employee, you're working in your business. You're doing what needs to be done. You've got a task list and you're checking it off.

 

You're just focused on getting the job done. But as an entrepreneur, you have to take time and set it aside. Some CEO time. Maybe even a day where you focus on the business, where you work on the business, the future of the business, you think through strategy envision for your next steps, that leads into the 5th shift that you need to make. As an employee, you may focus more on the present. You're just showing up each and every day focusing on what has to happen that day and trying to get through it. But as the Visionary, it's your responsibility to think about the future, to realize that what you do today will impact where your business is 5 months from now, a year from now and having the sense of urgency to do what needs to be done to move your business further, faster. Number 6.

 

As an employee, you might make decisions without any data or numbers, but as an employee, you have to look at the metrics. If you're not keeping up with your bookkeeping on a regular basis and you're making decisions about how and where to invest or you're going off of a gut feeling of how your business is doing revenue wise, but you don't have the numbers, then you're not making the best decisions for your business. You're probably causing yourself undue stress or maybe you should be focused more on the numbers and you're taking it easy. Or maybe you're making decisions about your marketing based on that gut feel versus the metrics that actually tell you how a campaign is performing, go back and listen to the podcast about facts versus feelings, where I really dive into this one piece in greater detail. Number 7, you're so used to having a boss as an employee and keeping your boss happy, that sometimes as an entrepreneur, you first start out treating your clients like they are your boss, but they're not. You're the boss. You can't let your clients Bossier Around, you're there to serve them, to give them an incredible experience, to deliver results, but they're not the boss. You're the boss.

 

This is your business. And that means setting some boundaries. When you had a boss in your 9 to 5 and they stormed into your office unannounced, they interrupted what you're doing, and they gave you loads of new work, you may not have had the ability to really say no. And when you transition into this world of entrepreneurship and you take on those same characteristics and apply them to your clients, you're setting yourself up for so much trouble. You've gotta create those boundaries. And number 8, the 8th shift that you need to make is going from an employee who has a hard time being a beginner, who's constantly striving and growing and becoming that expert and wanting to prove yourself, and get those promotions and perform, perform, perform, that when you become an entrepreneur, you wanna act like you know it all and you don't prioritize learning. Maybe you have a lot of discomfort around the idea of being a beginner again. That as an entrepreneur, especially as a solopreneur, there are so many things that you need to learn.

 

And instead of putting your blinders on and telling yourself, I already know what I'm doing. I don't need to learn that. And closing your mind off to learning new things, I encourage you to really open your mind, to challenge yourself, to allow yourself to see new material as if you are a beginner, you're in the best position to learn when you do that. If you try to convince yourself that you already know something or know enough of something, and you don't really open yourself up to listen and learn, then you won't retain it. Your mind actually will shut down and stop retaining the information. So have you made these shifts, these 8 shifts? Have you transitioned from being an employee to an entrepreneur, or is there 1 or more areas where this employee mindset is still holding you back? If so, then know that it's normal, but awareness is everything. And now that you know you have a choice, you can make the shift and allow it to stop holding you and your business back. You're the boss.

 

You're the entrepreneur. Stop acting like the employee and take charge. I'll see you next week.

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