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Business Tips – From Employee to Entrepreneur – Part 1

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Please note that this pertains to South African compliance regulations and Best Practices.

I have, of late, been mentoring several young ladies who are currently employed, but who dream of owning their own businesses. The more I talk to them, the more I become aware of the huge mind shift change that has to take place. And this is how this particular series was born.

Firstly, I would like to explore some of the differences between an employee and an entrepreneur – just so that we can all understand the basic differences and understand what we are getting ourselves into.

1. An employee is paid to work, they are paid, often irrespective of whether they put in a full days’ work or not. They are paid irrespective of whether they have given 100% effort or done “just enough to get by”. An entrepreneur pays others to work and often works for free themselves. Entrepreneurs pay their staff and the bills first and then if there is anything left over they get to pay themselves. This is particularly true when they are starting out. They are passionate about the product or service that they are providing and need to consistently give 100% (or more) effort into what they are doing in order to build the brand and the business.

2. Employees are managed. They have someone that they report into, there is always someone else who is ultimately responsible for what they do (or don’t do as the case may be). Entrepreneurs manage others and themselves. That means that “the buck stops” with them and they are responsible for everything that happens at the end of the day.

3. Employees have a specified “end of day” time. Irrespective of whether they have an employment contract or letter of employment, the number of hours that they work is governed by the BCEA (Basic Conditions of Employment Act) and they cannot be forced to work overtime unless they have agreed to do so in writing. An entrepreneur has no specific closing time – they often work long gruelling hours and even through the night, to meet deadlines and get the workout.

4. Employees are only responsible for developing themselves, provided of course that they want to grow or improve themselves – many have no interest in this at all. Entrepreneurs, on the other hand not only develop themselves (and that is an ongoing challenge), but they are also responsible for developing their staff. Actually, if the truth is told, you will find that entrepreneurs try and develop everyone that they come into contact with.

I am sure that you can see from the few points that I have highlighted that the list could very well be endless. The point that I am trying to make, however, is that the mindset is very different. It has to be!

This of course means that if you are wanting to start your own business and do your own thing, you have to step up to the plate and stop thinking like an employee and start thinking like an entrepreneur.

Next time we will have a look at some of the issues that you have to look at, understand and more often than not, follow.

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9