Whether or not we leave work to set up in business for ourselves, or start our coaching business as a side-hustle, being an entrepreneur is a completely different animal to being employed.

17 Hats

For a start, as an individual working for yourself (entrepreneur), you are the beginning and the end of everything. You have to make all the decisions, in the very beginning you may do all of the tasks too, you have no colleagues and it’s not unusual to feel a bit isolated.

It’s said that a new business owner wears at least 17 hats. From the delivery of the service you’re providing, to the writer of marketing material, from bookkeeping to administration, it’s all yours.

The Structure As An Entrepreneur

When we move away from an employed position to a self employed one, it can feel scary. In an effort to alleviate that fear, many (most?) former employees try to recreate the structure that they had at work. In their minds, structure = ‘real’ business = safety.

The structure that they recreate first is a work environment. Desk, drawers, computer, pencils all sharpened and lined up in the order of the colours of the rainbow – was that just me? – and then we get on to the structure of our business. Should we be a limited company or not?

In creating this structure, we’re creating safety. We’re creating a feeling of security. We know structure and it makes us feel safe.

Working Hours

Another area of structure is our working hours. Employees work set hours – the 40 hour week. New business owners tend to fill their ‘working hours’ with busy-work to fill their time, so that when they reach the end of the day, they can say ‘I did X Y and Z today”. New business owners find it necessary to delineate between work and life in the same way as they did as an employee. I work between 9 and 5 and then I finish.

An employee has two email addresses, one for work and one for life. They have two calendars, they separate everything.

The Entrepreneur Mindset

An entrepreneur understands that if they need to work late today, they can take tomorrow morning off. That if they want to meet friends for coffee this afternoon, they can work late tonight to make up for it. They get to know when they are at their best in terms of concentration and they realise that when they are not tied to ‘normal working hours’ they get a level of autonomy that an employee can never enjoy.

An entrepreneur understands that if they focus entirely on tasks then they’ll miss the bigger picture – the picture that is their whole business. An employee is a cog in a bigger wheel, and entrepreneur is the whole machine.

An entrepreneur doesn’t need two calendars, because they have one life and it is an integration of work and living. And it’s wonderful!

Delivering your coaching services is working in your business, developing a strategy for when your business is going is working on it. An entrepreneur needs to allow time and mental energy for both.

Which Are You?

Have you managed to move from an employee mindset to an entrepreneurial mindset?