In many organisations, there are already procedures that have developed across their lifetime. When a new hire joins, he is expected to follow these and the working plan, and not deviate too much from it. Having said that, it’s expected for employees to carry forward their experience and knowledge from previous workplaces, which can bring about improvements and changes for their new employers.
This is in contrast with startups that may not have formal processes in place, and every new hire has an opportunity to influence that. Hence, it can be quite different for someone looking to join an early-stage startup compared to joining a startup that has been around for more than five years or an MNC with strict, established rules.
Nevertheless, as an employee, you can choose to follow the norm and do the work that’s expected of you, which is what I would deem the ‘employee mindset’. Or you can adopt an entrepreneurial mindset — one where you constantly challenge the status quo and to propose new, unproven strategies.
Certainly, not all workplaces are welcoming of such a “deviant” attitude and there are ways to be tactful about it but that’s another story. Regardless of where you are working at, here’s why cultivating the entrepreneurial mindset can benefit you.
1. An entrepreneurial mindset leads to changes
If employees do as they are told, there would be no incentive for innovation. Why break what is broken? Why risk your efforts on something untested when it can all surmount to nothing?
While an employee mindset perceives things to be working fine the way they are, an entrepreneurial mindset will question why things are done in a certain way and look for avenues to improve the current setup.
Entrepreneurs are not afraid of making mistakes because they learn from it and try to get their next attempt right. Likewise, having an entrepreneurial mindset means that you don’t conform to previous standards and you’re constantly seeking change.
Change is the only constant.
Having said that, most people within an organisation are resistant to change so even if you do have an entrepreneurial mindset, be smart in going about your proposals.
2. An entrepreneurial mindset leads to personal growth
If everyone were to just do what is required of them, not only will the company stagnate, they themselves will too.
Picture someone who gained the expertise required after a few months of work and spends less time to do the same amount of work. Yes, he became more productive, which means that he can technically work lesser hours and still get the job done.
But since he’s paid a monthly salary, the employer will feel that he should work the same hours and take on more work. As an employee, how will you react to that?
If you adopt an employee mindset, you’ll feel that it’s not fair to get more work done unless you’re fairly compensated. Why benefit the company? Instead, you can afford to take more breaks during office hours, do work a little slower, and you won’t be faulted. So people become “smarter” at their work.
On another hand, if you have an entrepreneurial mindset, you’ll realise that the free time afforded from your increased productivity could be put to better use. You might not want to ask for more of the same work, but you can ask for different tasks that challenges you and where you get to learn something new.
It is this mindset that leads to personal growth. Growth can mean a lot of things, from taking on leadership positions to acquiring new skills. It depends what you seek from your career but the goal is to seek growth.
3. An entrepreneurial mindset builds your network
Entrepreneurs are one of the most resourceful people in the world. This is because they are well connected and if they cannot get something done on their own, they will know who to approach for help.
While an employee mindset would just be contented to do good work by himself and perhaps to socialise with his coworkers, an entrepreneurial mindset seeks out networking opportunities. Whether he’s looking to move somewhere within the company, or to build his network for future opportunities, he constantly builds these connections.
It’s a fine line between sucking up and getting to know your boss better. Likewise, both networking and playing politics involve being chummy with different people in the company, so be careful what you are getting yourself into.
Not everyone will appreciate an entrepreneurial mindset that’s constantly building his network, and you might not want to be seen in the negative light. But as long as you have a clear goal for yourself, no one can fault you for that.
4. An entrepreneurial mindset gets you more money
When you choose to work for a company, the considerations are always the same — what’s the work you do, how much are you paid, what are the benefits, what’s the culture like? It’s thus very easy to fall into the trap of valuing your work by how much you are paid.
Most employees consider whether they are compensated fairly. Even if you’re a freelancer, it’s very easy to have the employee mindset to value your work in terms of dollars. Take for example a piece of written work, you might see its worth as $300/article, $0.20/word, or $20/hour.
In comparison, an entrepreneurial mindset involves thinking in terms of value created. For this piece of work, how much money will I help my client generate? If it gets him $1,000 in revenue and after deducting other costs, he can afford to pay you up to $600 for that article, then selling it at $300 might seem like a bargain for you, but is in fact a bigger bargain for him.
Ironically, when you don’t think in terms of dollars and instead consider how much value you can create, you might actually be able to negotiate for more bucks.
5. An entrepreneurial mindset makes you happier
Entrepreneurs always look on the bright side of life. They take rejections in their strides and take failures as learning opportunities.
As I pointed out in a previous article, entrepreneurs know how to recognise what is within their control and what is not. Therein, they embrace and forgive themselves for making mistakes and keep trying till they succeed.
Whether in business or as an employee, you’re bound to have setbacks and your mindset affects how you deal with it. While an employee mindset is to think that the boss is always right, and to do the best to please the boss, you have to accept that sometimes they are in the wrong.
This is not to say that you should argue against your boss or jump in to defend yourself. Rather, an entrepreneurial mindset entails crediting yourself for what you’ve done and to assess whether you’ve done a job to the best of your ability. Thereafter, you’ll either seek ways to improve upon it, or if you couldn’t have done it better, you’ll learn to absolve yourself of the blame assigned onto you.
It is this mentality that keeps entrepreneurs positive. It is this mentality that will make you a happier person.
Tips To Embrace The Entrepreneur In You
Whether you’re an employer or an employee, adopting these practices will benefit you mentally, in personal development, and even financially. To sum it up, here’s how you can adopt the entrepreneurial mindset:
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Everyone does that. Instead, learn to embrace rejections and failures so that you can learn from them.
- As Steve Jobs says, “Stay foolish, stay hungry”. Keep seeking change or you’ll stagnate and be left behind.
- Think in terms of value and not in terms dollars, and you will get the most out of it.
- When life give you lemons, make lemonade. Think positive and it’ll make you a happier person.
- You’re more than just an employee. Working for a company doesn’t mean that you have to conform to their standards — you are what you make of yourself.
Adopt The Same Mindset When Working From Home
Remember, having the entrepreneurial mindset can benefit you in any environment, even when you’re working from home. While you’re away from the scrutiny of your bosses and colleagues, it’s up to you to uphold the standard of work and the commitment to your responsibilities.
Keeping the entrepreneurial mindset even when working from home is essential to retain productivity, self-improvement, and growth. Working from home is challenging but it is not about what you wear when you work, or about saving on the commute time. Rather, it’s having the right mindset that keeps you productive and keeps you turning up, day after day.
Entrepreneurs are one of the craziest bunch of people, but there are many things we can learn from them. And when it comes to work, it starts with adopting the right mindset.
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