I have personally been both an entrepreneur and employee like many others that dare to take on the uncertainty of being an entrepreneur. And before we dive into what I think the differences are between entrepreneurs vs employees let’s make it clear that you don’t necessarily need to own your own business to be classified as an entrepreneur. In my humble opinion it is more of a mindset than your status in the work force environment.
So many people I engage with on a daily basis don’t seem to understand what it means to be an Entrepreneur or perhaps they just don’t understand the concept. Some view being an Entrepreneur as taking unnecessary risks; but what it really comes down to is a certain mentality and way of life that not everyone is built for.
Mindsets of Entrepreneurs vs Employees
Let’s compare the differences between an Entrepreneur and Employee. Let’s start off with probably my favorite difference of the bunch. Employees are threatened by people smarter than them; Entrepreneurs try to get them on payroll. The corporate world is survival of the fittest and if you aren’t the smartest or hardest working person in your department you will see people leap frog you for promotions. Employees view the smarter people as competitors where Entrepreneurs mindset is one that attracts success. Steve Jobs has been quoted saying that he would always be looking for people smarter than him and convince them to come work for him.
Next up is the concept of a perfect work/life balance. Employees punch a clock and when they leave the work environment they are officially off duty and it is time with friends and family. They are always chasing the dream of a perfect balance between work and life. Entrepreneurs can’t live in this fantasy land because it isn’t realistically achievable. At different times throughout life or during a startup one of these will always take precedence over the other. It isn’t fair sometimes to our families or friends, but we can’t help it! It’s like asking a heroin addict of 30 years to stop cold turkey. The withdraws will eat us alive. Entrepreneurs are looking to fit 30 years of work into a 15 year span so they can retire early and find true wealth. Not riches, but wealth. There is a difference.
I hit on this next point earlier, but let’s just flat out say it. Entrepreneurs thrive on Risk whereas Employees try to avoid it. Employees like the security of their day job and have no interest in the uncertainty that comes with starting your own business. I will admit that this mindset of the Employee is not completely misguided :). There are certainly some low and frustrating times when having the mindset of an Entrepreneur. Without risk though, there is no reward and some of these rewards can be worth the garbage you crawled through to find it. As some of you know I am a sports fan, so let me throw in one of my favorite quotes that falls right in line here. “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” Wayne Gretzky, NHL Hall of Famer.
Another difference I will point out is that Entrepreneurs delegate where Employees try to multitask. There is no such thing as multitasking as studies have shown it’s impossible for our brains to focus effectively on more than one thing at a time. Basically trying to multitask is doing something half-a@@. Entrepreneurs require focus, and that is even more important if you are launching a start-up. Employees meanwhile are told to multitask, and beat themselves up when their brains tell them “No”.
Entrepreneurs vs Employees Similarities
Now let’s touch base on an example that makes Employees and Entrepreneurs briefly similar, or at least partially. Employees and Entrepreneurs both have ideas at some point in their life, the difference is that Entrepreneurs actually execute on those ideas. Most entrepreneurs fail but the ones that brush themselves on and dare to take another risk eventually find success; or at least learn a ton about the process along the way. Employees rather talk for years about how they actually thought of Twitter before Twitter and could have easily been a multi-millionaire. Admit it, we all know someone that has those kind of stories. So let’s throw out another one of my favorite quotes. “It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen.” – Scott Belsky, co-founder of Behance.
I could go on with some more differences between entrepreneurs vs employees, but these are my favorites. If you dislike what I had to say then my guess is you are of the Employee mindset. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. 🙂
I, Bo Lais am getting ready to begin my journey on a 3rd startup with two partners. We will start pitching our concept in early April and will be seeking our initial seed funding round. My track record has been pretty bright so far, will that continue? I will be blogging about our challenges, successes, and failures along the way so stay tuned!
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