A while ago, I went to a meetup hosted by the Founders Institute in my hometown Munich.
The title of the meetup: “Making the leap from employee to entrepreneur”.
The Founders Institute provides mentorship to teams and offers support during the process of setting up a business structure. The main idea of the program is to gather people, brainstorm ideas, learn anything from internal processes to legal setup and finally launch a real business.
The meetup featured a couple of local entrepreneurs who shared their stories and experiences to inspire people to start their own business.
One of the questions that stucked in my head from a young lady was: “Do you think entrepreneurs think differently? If so how can I develop the right mindset?”
For a while now, I feel that many people have the urge to start a company without having the right mindset yet.
One of the biggest influence probably comes from Silicon Valley. The hype makes people jump into businesses blindly in hope to get fame and fortune quickly (even Tim Ferris is getting tired of Silicon Valley).
I was not surprised, when during the Q&A session, many people were only interested in the topic of money.
Because the Founders Institute gets a piece of the pie as an investor, many were interested how much money would be left after selling a company (this is funny to me because they haven’t even started anything yet).
This is just one small example but it happens often that many follow the wrong reasons.
Can everyone become an entrepreneur ?
I wrote this article because I believe that a strong mindset is the foundation to create something that lasts.
Over three years now, I’ve been focusing my efforts to learn about the principles of a successful mindset that creates outstanding people.
No one is born as an entrepreneur. Some certainly have a higher affinity to entrepreneurship but in general, everyone can train his mind to become a successful entrepreneur.
In fact, many successful entrepreneurs today, didn’t set out into the world with the goal of becoming entrepreneurs.
They loved the process of creation and helping others and became successful entrepreneurs during the process. Sometimes even totally by accident.
The biggest myth therefore, is that you’re born with some sort of entrepreneur gene.
If you follow the simple rules laid out below, you will be able to develop an entrepreneurial mindset successfully.1. Understand the difference between an Entrepreneur and an EmployeeThe first step in making a change is to understand the difference between an entrepreneurial and an employee mindset.
In many modern societies, we grow up with the believe that going to school and having a university degree will lead to a high paying job later which is the ultimate achievement.
From the childhood on, we are trained to become great workers by practicing to follow instructions and avoiding mistakes by all means.
This believe system is so strongly manifested into our unconscious mind that it became reality for us. To start thinking differently requires tremendous effort and especially patience.
What you have learned over many years cannot be undone in a matter of days.
It took me years to develop this thinking myself but everything starts to grow from a single seed.
And I want to plant this seed with you today by sharing with you the fundamental difference in thinking between entrepreneurs and most employees:
- Most Employees prefer comfort & security vs Entrepreneurs seek freedom & control
- Employees are usually excellent at spotting problems vs Entrepreneurs are excellent at looking for opportunities
- Many Employees rather do things themselves vs Entrepreneurs rather hire people to get the job done
- Employees work for promotions vs Entrepreneurs work to help others
- Employees are dreaming about the future vs Entrepreneurs are acting to make the future happen
- Employees are complaining about trivials vs Entrepreneurs are focusing on the big picture
2. Understand money and learn to use it
We live on an economic planet and money impacts many parts of our lives.
It determines how we live, how we eat, how we dress and what social circle we interact with.
Being ignorant or neglecting financial literacy will not lead to success long term.
The topic of money is especially important to entrepreneurs because they leverage money to build their future.
While the majority of people see money as a paycheck at the end of the month, entrepreneurs see money as a tool that enables them to do more.
Financial literacy is important and the fundamental skills around money are
- How to make money
- How to keep it
- And how to multiply it
Most people know how to make money, only a few know how to keep it and almost no one knows how to multiply it.
The rules of money haven’t changed in centuries and were already taught in the book “The Richest Man in Babylon”.
In order to become more successful in business as well as life, you need to learn these three simple rules.
You don’t need to become a financial advisor but you need to nail the fundamentals and make the money mindset part of your daily life.
3. Embrace the Hero’s Journey
Entrepreneurs think differently than the majority. They value money and use it as a tool to achieve their goals.
But what contributes massively to their success is the positive energy and perseverance. Most people often give up slightly before the pivot.
If you like watching movies, chances are high that you came across the Hero’s Journey. The Hero’s Journey is a very important storytelling technique and is widely used in movies.
The Hero’s Journey describes the learning process of a protagonist during which he encounters many obstacles, faces many low moments until he eventually becomes a master.
The well done video below describes the Hero’s Journey in further detail:
Here are 3 examples of a Hero’s Journey that you probably know:
How Daniel San as the new kid on the block gets beaten up by schoolmates, starts to learn Karate with Mr. Miyagi and kicks the bullies asses in the epic final tournament.
How Peter Parker turned from nerd to become a hero, loses his uncle Ben along the way but than learned to take responsibility for his powers to help others.
How Neo turned from a computer nerd to become the chosen one and freeing humanity from the machinesThere are many other examples, but for the sake of our time I will cut it short here.
In real life, you can find many examples as well. If you look close at people who are successful today, you will find that they went through hell before things turned around for them. It’s part of the game.
Many people avoid failures and prefer their comfort zone. But if you are serious about becoming an entrepreneur, you need to see hickups as a stepping stone to success.
Everything you do is part of the learning process and each obstacle is a new trophy you can put into your learning account. The more trophies you collect, the better you’re off.
So don’t be afraid of failures but embrace them. Stay positive and have faith that things turn out fine.
They always do.
4. Focus on Creation and not on Competition
Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s, once had a conversation with one of his franchisees who complained about his competitors and the dirty tricks they used.
The franchisee was furious and wanted to crush his competitor with lawsuits and bringing in officials.
Ray Kroc simply responded:
“The thing that has made this country great is our free enterprise system. If we have to resort to this by bringing in the government to beat our competition,” then we deserve to go broke. If we can’t do it by offering a better fifteen-cent hamburger, by being better merchandisers, by providing faster service and a cleaner place, then I would rather go broke tomorrow and out of business and start all over again.”
If you want to make an impact, you should refrain from having a competitive mindset. I’m not saying to ignore competitors completely. You can always learn from their mistakes.
But don’t focus your entire energy on your competitor and following them step by step and make decisions based on them.
Because having a competitive mindset will always make you play the catch up game and you focus more on the competition rather than yourself.
Instead, you should focus on creating. If you are focused on creating value, you will never be in a rush, because you are not in fear of missing out.
If you don’t catch the opportunity today, another will come tomorrow when you’re ready. Therefore, focus 100% of your energy and positivity on nourishing your creative mind.
5. Embrace Personal Development
The last ingredient to develop an entrepreneurial mindset is to embrace personal development.
What exactly is personal development?
Personal development is life long learning.
Improving yourself and creating the best version of yourself day by day.
Many people stop learning as soon as they leave school or university. They take their job for granted and life their lives day by day.
They don’t feed their mind with new experiences but stay in their comfort zones.
They don’t want to learn things and shut their mind as soon as they face unfamiliar things.
Many successful people in history, traveled around the world. They opened their mind to new experiences and stayed curious 100% of the time.
In this business classic, How to win friends and influence people, Dale Carnegie already said that a man convinced against his will, is of same opinion still.
It means that people don’t accept new things if you try to teach them, unless they have the motivation to find out themselves.
Unfortunately, many don’t have this motivation and not the drive for improvement.
That’s why it is important for you to stay open to new things and never stop learning. Leaving university and having a job is just a start of your learning process because life becomes your teacher and not someone with a PHD in the title.
What you can do:
- Stop watching nonsense on TV – watch documentaries instead
- Start reading books – I have a great selection in the resource section with my all time favorites that inspired me
- Surround yourself with positive and smart people – because you are the average of the 5 people around you
- Go to meetups or take courses – get to know new people and expand your networking skills
- Learn new things every once in a while – to train your brain building new neural connections
- Travel as much as you can – to expand your horizn and collect stories for life
- Start writing – this will help to sort your thoughts and improve communication skills
- Meditate – to improve your focus and stay sharp
- Practice martial arts – Yes I’m biased . Only because I know it helps. Martial arts helps in many aspects of life such as staying calm and focused, Improve fitness and health.
- Eat healthy – because good food not only heals your body but is good for your mind and Soul – I switched to a vegan diet a while ago.
The life of an entrepreneur is not easy and you will face a lot of uncertainty at times. Therefore it is necessary to develop the right mindset and have a strong foundation to build on.
With these 5 principles in mind, you can start right off today to develop an entrepreneurial mindset. The following are actions steps that helps you to turn these principles into practice.
Step 1 – Observe your environment
Observe your colleagues or friends and pick their brains. In a casual conversation, ask them how they feel about starting a business. Many will find this idea frightening. Others exciting. Ask them to explain their thoughts and you will start to see patterns.
Step 2 – Start with ONE Book
I recommend “Rich Dad Poor Dad” which is an all time classic that helped millions of people. It also helped me. It’s very well written, enjoyable to read and easy to understand. If you prefer audio, here is the free audiobook on youtube
Step 3 – Take the FIRST step
Start to build a side hustle next to your day job. Learn how to build a website. Learn online marketing. Learn about SEO. Make videos. Record a podcasts. Experiment with different things and see what works. It doesn’t matter.
The point is, to start with something. Don’t wait for the right opportunity to come.
“It’s better to be Prepared for an opportunity, and not have one. Than to have one and not be Prepared.” – Les Brown
Step 4 – Let me know how it goes
Share your findings after the first 30 days and let me know how things have changed for you. I’m curious to hear your story