Many people who go out on their own see themselves as an entrepreneur or business owner. But in reality, most “entrepreneurs” or “business owners” are merely self-employed. Being self-employed is only one step ahead of being an employee, and most businesses never get beyond this level.
So the good news is that if you running your own business, there is still massive scope for personal growth. With each step up comes changes in focus and changes in behaviour and belief systems around money.
Most people start out at this level. It gives you the training and experience in your field that you will need to go on your own. But it doesn’t teach you to be an entrepreneur. At this level you are focused on your personal income and “earning” a consistent salary. Your qualifications are important. And you are driven by the security of your paycheque at the end of the month.
Jumping from this level to the next requires people to face their fears, to trust themselves to take a leap of faith and a courageous step into the unknown.
This is when you leave the security of a job where someone else worries about paying your salary every month to a job where YOU are the one worrying about paying yourself! So now, your main concern is about “making” money. It’s a big step, and it can be very rewarding. It puts you in control of your destiny, but it also has its downsides. For so many new business owners, you are the business. And when you are the best person for the job, you are likely to be trapped doing that work forever. Self-employed people are often very busy doing the work themselves.
To jump from this level to the next requires you to start viewing your business as a business, and not as a job for yourself. You need a vision, and you need a plan to get you to that vision. Stop calling yourself a small business and thinking with a small business mindset. You can’t do it own your own. Get people on board to help you achieve that vision.
At this level you move from working in the business to controlling the business. You will put systems and processes in place, find the right people to run the systems for you and you need to learn delegation and trust. With growth in your team comes a whole lot of challenges. You will need to learn to juggle your resources, make quick decisions, and learn to distinguish between “my” money and “the business’” money.
To move to the next level, you need to move away from hiring people you can manage, to hiring people that can lead and take over the day to day running of your business.
Owner / Leader
Up to this level, you have basically been hands-on, trading your time for money. At this level, you need to let go. It requires good systems to be in place, a great team and a general manager who is now “managing” things for you. To become an owner or leader of a business you need to start chasing “profit”, and you do this by making money with other people’s time.
But it doesn’t stop there… at this point you need to start building capital so you can invest in other businesses that can benefit from your experience of getting your business up and running without you.
As an investor, you will make your money selling businesses, not running them. It’s about making money with knowledge and money rather than time and effort.
The best way to do this is to buy an undervalued business at a rock-bottom price that is not performing at its peak potential, build it up to a healthy profitable business and sell it at a much higher price.
True entrepreneurs use other people’s money to make money. You make money by raising capital. Entrepreneurs are visionaries and sell the dream that the team needs to turn into reality.
To be a true entrepreneur, you need influence and a credible reputation.
So you see that the term “Entrepreneur” is thrown around loosely. Just because you are your own boss does not mean you have made it to entrepreneurial status. By calling yourself an entrepreneur when you are simply self-employed, you limit the potential growth you can experience by rising through the levels between self-employed and truly entrepreneurial.