Switching from employee to entrepreneur after years of job security, a regular income, and other benefits is a big leap. Though a clear understanding of your objectives and careful financial planning can help you make this transition, it takes a lot more to become a successful entrepreneur.
To succeed as an entrepreneur, one needs a monumental shift in mindset. This is because becoming an entrepreneur requires you to stretch yourself in ways you would have never imagined as an employee. Most skills and abilities you have honed for years as an employee may not translate well into the unpredictable world of entrepreneurship. However, changing your mindset from employee to entrepreneur will increase your chances of success.
These six steps will help take you from employee to entrepreneur.
1. Think of Progress Not Security
One of the most important characteristics of being an entrepreneur is the willingness to embrace change. Most employees tend to become accustomed to the status quo. However, as a businessman, you don’t have the luxury to live a predictable life. So, the first thing you need to learn is to adapt to the changing circumstances as quickly as possible, and to do this you need to step out of your comfort zone.
You may have to take decisions and do things that you don’t like, which requires courage and the tenacity to keep going despite rejection and skepticism. Only by doing this, you will learn to be flexible in the face of change. Remember, successful entrepreneurs have the ability to turn risks into opportunities. As the renowned management consultant Peter Drucker once said, “In every success story, you will find someone who has made a courageous decision.” So, stop thinking about security and start thinking of exploring new growth opportunities.
2. Get Ready to Multitask
As an employee, you probably didn’t have to worry about watering the plants, video conferencing with a client, or fixing a server. As an employer, however, you may not be able to completely rely on the staff, especially if you don’t have the resources to pay for outsourcing or hiring an assistant. That’s when you realize running your own business takes a lot more than wearing a fancy suit and sending emails from your Blackberry.
As an entrepreneur, you will end up wearing multiple hats. You may have to be a debt collector one day and a salesperson the next. According to Jayson DeMers, Founder and CEO, Audience Bloom, the best entrepreneurs are the ones who thrive in this multidisciplinary, demanding, and multi-hatted role. The point is you need to be mentally ready to take on any responsibility that comes your way, at least in the beginning. Can you do that?
3. Make Learning a Way of Life
As mentioned in the previous point, you will need to take up several different responsibilities as an entrepreneur. This means, you have to keep developing new skills. As it happens, the “entrepreneurial curriculum” is virtually limitless. So, learning is more likely to become a way of life for most would-be entrepreneurs. Whether it is a success or a failure, keep learning from what worked and what didn’t in the past.
Liz Wiseman, President of The Wiseman Group, explains the importance of constant learning in her Wall Street Journal bestseller Rookie Smarts: Why Learning Beats Knowing in the New Game of Work. “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn,” says Wiseman.
4. Say Goodbye to the 9-to-5 Lifestyle
As it happens, employees have a fixed work schedule. Apart from free weekends, they can enjoy vacations, holidays, and sick leaves from time to time. Unfortunately, entrepreneurs don’t have this luxury. Though you won’t be tied to your desk 24/7, you will be working longer hours, particularly in the beginning.
People often tend to associate entrepreneurial lifestyle with three-day weekends and fewer work hours. Unfortunately, neither of this is possible, at least initially, because you have a variety of roles to fill. Unfortunately, neither of this is possible, at least in the initial stage, because you have a variety of roles to perform. In fact, several successful entrepreneurs continue to work long hours for years. Grant Cardone, a self-made millionaire, works 95 hours a week. “If you ever want to be a millionaire, you need to stop doing the 9 to 5 and start doing 95,” says Cardone.
You may also have to work for less than the minimum hourly wage. However, as your company grows, all of this hard work will translate into a rich and steady source of income.
5. Don’t Wait for Perfect Conditions
As an entrepreneur, you can’t wait for things to happen or the perfect conditions to arise because time is a luxury you cannot afford. You must act immediately to implement your plan. This includes not only creating a short-term plan, but also developing a long-term business strategy to reach your professional as well as personal goals quickly.
As Tim Ferriss, author of the 4-Hour Workweek and other bestsellers says, “Conditions are never perfect. ‘Someday’ is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you…. If it’s important to you and you want to do it ‘eventually,’ just do it and correct course along the way.”
6. Learn to Love Business Financials
Finance is the backbone of a business. Unfortunately, most would-be entrepreneurs fail to understand the basics of business finance as they start a company based on some idea, not financial literacy.
Linda McMahon, the co-founder and former CEO of WWE and nominated to be the head of the Small Business Administration, believes financial literacy is one of the key ways to help would-be entrepreneurs pursue their business ideas. She plans to improve financial literacy among young entrepreneurs as head of the SBA.
So, one of the first things you need to do is to learn as much as you can about the financials of your business. Though you can hire an accountant to keep track of your sales, operating costs, profits, and losses, you must have a deeper understanding of the financials to ensure a long-term business survival.
Can you become a successful business owner after years of living a secure salaried life? Yes, if you choose to change your mindset from employee to entrepreneur. Mindset is the driving force in almost all walks of life and entrepreneurship is no exception to this fact. So, before you give notice to your employer, focus on developing a business owner’s attitude. Paying attention to the above tips will go a long way.