Want To Become A Successful Entrepreneur?

mover_shaker_risk_taker_lisasperling_entrepreneur-300x300To my mind, there are two broad categories of people in life.

The risk takers.

And the risk avoiders.

If you want to become a successful entrepreneur, then there are ten “worker”traits you need to reject.

Want To Become A Successful Entrepreneur?

Risk avoiders tend to prefer to become employees.

These are the majority.

Risk takers are the minority. And it’s these who form the bulk of entrepreneurs.

Maybe you’re an employee who wants to become an entrepreneur, but you’re not entirely sure about making the change.

In my life so far, I’ve been both an employee and an entrepreneur at different stages. So I’d say I  have a fairly good idea of what’s involved.

To help you decide whether or not being an entrepreneur is for you, here’s my list of the top 10 worker traits you need to reject if you want to become a successful entrepreneur.

1. Thinking Of Your Work As “Work”

Successful entrepreneurs do not actually have “work”.

They are engaged in serving their community, their niche, their customers, their market.

You can’t do this by thinking like an employee. Employees aren’t wedded to the idea of serving their customers. They are in love with their pay check and their free time – evenings, weekends and vacations.

To be an entrepreneur you have to be prepared to abandon this outlook and replace it with total dedication to your market.

Your customers have to come first. Not your work. Or your “job”.

Employees have “work”, which they do in return for a pay check and for perceived ideas about “security” or “stability”.

Entrepreneurs have passion, engagement, and commitment.

And related to this…

2. Working Monday To Friday 9-5

Entrepreneurs work seven days a week. And nowhere is this more the case than with online businesses.

Jobsters have “working hours”, followed by “free time” or leisure. For entrepreneurs, work and leisure are more loosely defined.

Entrepreneurs can give up what Tim Ferris calls “binge leisure” – binge weekending, binge free time, binge sport, binge shopping, binge vacationing.

As a digital entrepreneur, you can rearrange your non-working hours and take a more relaxed approach, doing leisure activities for example mid-week or when you want to. You can take a series of mini vacations, rather than just one or two two-week binge vacations per year.

But as an entrepreneur you never really get away from your work.

Like an emergency doctor, even in your “leisure time”, entrepreneurs are always on call 24×7.

3. Holding Conventional Ideas of “Success”  or “Security”

Jobsters believe that working for someone else, being an employee, is secure.

But it isn’t.

Being an employee is the most insecure way of earning a living. It puts all your eggs in one basket. It makes your entire income dependent upon one pay check. Need I say more.

Yet most jobsters do not accept this fact.

You have to go against the grain and reject their misguided belief. It’s almost like a religion you are expected to accept unquestioningly and not speak out against.

To become an entrepreneur, you have to be honest and recognize that the belief that being an employee is secure is a delusion.

When you become an entrepreneur, you are still not secure, but at least you are now the one in the driving seat.

Entrepreneurs drive and control their own destiny.

Being a jobster is never secure.

4.  Trying To Win The Approval of Others

Or work or act or remain within the bounds of the approval of others – especially the employees you’ve left behind.

Never ask for, or take advice from people who are employees. Their outlook is totally different to that of an entrepreneur.  An entrepreneur will never get the approval of a jobster.

This also means that you must not “apologize” to others when people ask what you do.

Don’t try to dress it up to make it sound somehow “conventional”, “regular” or “professional” or to “fit in” with their outlook.

Instead always tell it like it is – and stick by it. You may alienate some and get funny looks from others. But that comes with being an entrepreneur.

Practically all entrepreneurs, when they ask for advice from the mainstream – the banks, friends and acquaintances, people who are employees, are almost without exception told what they plan will never work, that it’s too risky, that it will fail, that you are crazy, you’re onto a loser etc etc.

So don’t listen to what they say.

Jobsters need the approval of others. Entrepreneurs do not.

5. Not Thinking Differently

To be an entrepreneur is to be different to the majority. As you can already see from the above points, it means doing things and thinking about things in different ways to the majority.

Pretty well everything I have done in my life so far I’ve done without the approval of the people around me.

I long gave up seeking the opinions and approval of people who weren’t entrepreneurs about what I do. I realized the advice I received back from them was just based on risk avoidance and negativity. They never looked at the upside or any other positive aspect.Their advice was pretty well worthless.

Successful entrepreneurs, unlike jobsters, aren’t afraid to think differently.

6.  Insisting on a Regular Income

As an entrepreneur, my income has always fluctuated like crazy. I have to live with it.

Fluctuating income comes with the territory of being an entrepreneur, especially in the early days.

Regular income is for employees. And employee income always remains at the low end of the spectrum. The most an employee can hope to attain is “an above average salary”.

The advantage of being an entrepreneur is that whilst your income will indeed fluctuate, you will enjoy a much higher income potential overall.

Jobsters have low regular income. Entrepreneurs have high fluctuating income.

7. Worrying About Change And Trying To Prevent Change

Continual worrying about risk and the consequences of failing, the negative what ifs and allowing these things to prevent you from taking action will make you a very poor entrepreneur.

Trying to prevent change is classic jobster behaviour.

You see this whenever a large company announces cutbacks to its workforce. The employees strike and protest. While they are striking, the more entrepreneurial employees get out fast and find new jobs – or start their own businesses.

First accept the basic fact of life: there is no security. If by security you mean you want to keep your situation frozen as it is now for all time for ever into the future.

Everything on earth and in the universe, including yourself, is in a constant state of change and flux.

Once you accept that, it permits you to go on to utilize change for your own advantage.

Don’t try to stop change, never try to freeze things. Entrepreneurs cannot thrive by rejecting change or freezing a situation. Businesses that try to do so go out of business.

Jobsters aim to prevent change. Entrepreneurs thrive on it.

8.  Tolerating The Behaviour of Loonies

When you are an employee, there are all sorts of people you have to kow-tow to. Senior management, other staff members, managers in other departments.

You have to make the right noises, be seen doing the right things at the right time, avoid confrontation with the nutcases, play the corporate and office politics game.

When you are an entrepreneur, you now have customers to cater for. You can’t afford to offend customers.

But there are some customers who aren’t worth bothering with.

It’s the 80/20 rule.  It’s a fact in all areas of life that 20 percent of people cause 80 percent of the overhead and the aggro. This applies to customers just as it does to corporate colleagues and managers.

I encountered the loony 20 percent a plenty when I was an employee.  The people who hate life and those around them. Who just want to make continual trouble and who revel in being difficult and unpleasant.

The people to whom you would have liked to have given a piece of your mind and tell them where to stick it when you were an employee.

The difference is when you are an entrepreneur, you can’t afford to have your resources and time sabotaged by the 20 percent of troublemakers. They’re always out there. And they have to go.

This means you must not be afraid to “fire” customers.

If a client or customer turns out to be one of the 20 percent of loonies, someone who is continually argumentative, who is never satisfied or always complaining, then the best thing you can do is to get rid of them quickly and let them go elsewhere.

No successful entrepreneur can afford to have loonies for customers. Let the competition handle them. Much good may it do them.

Loony employees can be found in many organizations. But when you are an entrepreneur you do not need to tolerate people who cause trouble in your business. These people are a source of negative energy. Get rid of them as soon as you can.

Jobsters have to put up with loonies. Entrepreneurs do not.

9. Accepting a Rate of Return  “Competitive”  With a Savings Account

Or saying that you are only looking for a “modest” rate of return; so I can pay off my house, my car etc, go on vacations wherever I want etc.

If you think like this, then you will only be a mediocre entrepreneur.  Fobbing yourself off with a  savings account rate of return is classic jobster thinking. If you want that, then you had best put your money into a savings account, instead of into a business and stay put in your nine to five.

Entrepreneurs create value that provides for a rate of return way higher than that. Again, it comes down to readiness to accept risk.

A successful entrepreneur is never content with a low risk “savings account” rate of return. He or she regards it as wasted money, wasted time and wasted opportunity.  An entrepreneur expects better.

Jobsters seek low risk and low return.  Entrepreneurs accept high risk for high return.

…and related to this:

10. Regarding Buying A House As Your Major Goal In Life

If becoming a home owner is the extent of your goal-setting, then you are destined to remain a jobster.

Obsessing over real estate and buying owner occupier property (for business purposes as well as for residential use) is something that many people find hard to leave alone, especially in the English-speaking countries.

But – unless your business is real estate, real estate detracts from your business.

Real estate deludes you into thinking that your business and yourself are “doing well” when they are only doing mediocre.

I once worked at a software startup in England where the owner-founder bought the office space because he regarded it, as he told me, as “a good investment”.

Now hold on. Are you in the software business – or are you in the real estate business? Which has the better rate of return?

If you think buying real estate is a good investment then why are you running a software business?

And if you think investing in a software business is a good investment, then why are you investing in real estate?

This is an example of an entrepreneur who is still thinking like a jobster.

He has carried his owner occupier mentality over into his business. Unless his software business is a dead end, he is wasting his business funds by using it for buying real estate.

Jobsters regard becoming an owner occupier as their top priority goal in life.

Entrepreneurs do not.

So that’s my list of employee traits that can hinder you from becoming a successful entrepreneur.

I’ve come across plenty of employees who possess these traits. In fact, many of these traits are almost the definition of being an employee.

But I’ve also come across so-called entrepreneurs who hold some of these traits. To the detriment of their business success.

So if you want to become a successful entrepreneur, make sure you quit thinking like a jobster.

Image: mover,shaker, risk-taker – courtesy of lizasperling



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