4 Mindsets You Need to Adopt to Make the Switch from Employee to Entrepreneur

Posted on Posted in Career


It’s a new season people and the timing couldn’t be better to break free from the mindset that’s preventing you from forging your own path to success–not your parents definition of success.


Not your husbands’ or your manager at work….. but YOUR very own path to creating a life on your own terms. Here’s my not-so-secret story:  


Getting out of my own way was the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced—and let me be clear, I still struggle.


But over the last two years, I’ve learned that surviving the leap from employee to entrepreneur was more about mastering my mindset than marketing and selling my services.


The first year after I quit my corporate job I failed miserably at turning a profit because I was doing whatever had to be done—with a 9-5 Monday-Friday work habit. I was too afraid about what other people thought, so I neglected to use social media to spread the news about my new business. And, I had emotional meltdowns daily, because for months I heard nothing from potential clients, got no “pat on the back” from strangers or even family and friends.


So how did I survive my corporate escape? What things have I done differently? Here are 4 mindsets that helped me make the transition from employee to entrepreneur:

Focused Mindset: Get rid of your worst enemy…. that’s you.

Most of us give-up on our dreams 15 minutes after we think about them.

Maybe you’re afraid about what people will think? Or maybe you’ve scrolled through your Instagram or Facebook accounts, and fell into the trap of comparing your chapter 1 to someone’s chapter 20, or fell into the illusion of other people’s perfectly curated lives. Whatever it is. S.T.O.P. You don’t have to believe everything you think.


Stop entertaining self-defeating thoughts and give yourself permission to succeed. To do this you may have to check out of life (well digital life)   to simply get your mind right. And guess what? Trust me, you’ll live and grow the process.


As an entrepreneur, you always feel like you have to be connected. But sometimes the best way to get focused is to step away from your daily routine and detach from email, Facebook, Instagram, etc.. Step away from your computer, get outdoors, take a power walk or a new workout class; or read a few affirmations–I love this list of 70 Affirmations created by Rosetta from Happy Black Woman. Find something that allows you to be still and get quiet so you can focus on your gifts.


Fearless Mindset: Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable.

As an employee, you can depend on the CEO to strategically market and grow the business, HR or Accounting to handle the bills, and managers or supervisors to assign you new projects. But as an entrepreneur, you’re figuring out as you go along.


What can I do today, to take my business to the next level? What if I can’t pay my rent next month? How will I land my next project? My client is 90 days past due on his/her invoice, what should I do now? On a daily basis, these are just a few of the questions that plague most small business owners.


But here’s the thing, embracing the “unknown” is a part of the process. You’ll fail often. You’ll go through a lot of rejection. But you have to get used to being told NO. Despite rejection and skepticism, you’ll have to continue testing new ideas and exploring new territories without the reassurance of a team or even a blueprint.


I’m A Boss Mindset:

Recognize this, you can’t learn from success. You only learn through failure, failed relationships, bad business deals, etc. And guess what, no matter what happens–you’re still a boss. One mistake is not a prediction of your success.


So, whenever I face challenges, I say to myself: I am the problem and I am the solution. I am the Boss, I am the ISH. I am …okay I think y’all get the point. Seriously, even if someone else is at fault, you have the power to learn from a mistake and move on.


A ‘Boss’ knows, there will always be challenges. So get rid of destination thinking. “Destination Thinking” is the “When I get____________ (feel free to complete this sentence with your hearts greatest desire—famous, 1 million followers on Twitter, a million dollars in profit, etc.), I will be on easy street. Absofreakinglutely NOT. As a ‘Boss’ you’re always looking for ways to be better than you were yesterday.


Being a boss, also means that you stop waiting to be picked.  As an employee; you’re waiting for your employer to promote you to the next level. You’re waiting for your company to pick you as the “Employee of the Year.” You’re waiting for your manager to assign a new project. But if you’re really ready for the world of entrepreneurship, “Pick Yourself.”


Seth Godin said it best, “It’s a cultural instinct to wait to get picked. To seek out the permission and authority that comes from a publisher or talk show host or even a blogger saying, “I pick you.” Once you reject that impulse and realize that no one is going to select you–that Prince Charming has chosen another house–then you can actually get to work.


“If you’re hoping that the HR people you sent your resume to are about to pick you, it’s going to be a long wait. Once you understand that there are problems just waiting to be solved, once you realize that you have all the tools and all the permission you need, then opportunities to contribute abound.


So here’s a friendly reminder: No one is coming to save you. Stop waiting to be picked. Stop waiting for permission.Pick yourself and get started on your goals. 


Need some inspiration? Check out a few of my Black Enterprise articles about trailblazers who “Picked Themselves”:


Learning Mindset: Commit to lifelong learning

Repeat after me: “I don’t know it all and I don’t have to.” Learn to ask for help. Step outside of your immediate circle, and build relationships with people who don’t have your educational and/or personal background. Learning new things breeds’ confidence. Whether it’s attending conferences, workshops, professional development courses or events where you can build relationships with people.

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