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Becoming an entrepreneur versus being self-employed

Wednesday, 29 May 2013 | By Amanda Jesnoewski

There comes a time in your business where you need to decide whether you'll become an entrepreneur or stay self-employed.


You see, even when you own your own business and have the head title of "Founder" or "Director" it doesn't make you any less of an employee, you are just serving another boss, an often more demanding, stricter boss at that – yourself.


So what’s the real difference between being self-employed and an entrepreneur, you might be wondering? After all, you’ll still be in charge and you’ll still be working, right? Right. That’s why the real difference isn’t found within your workload, it’s found between your ears. Your mindset, the way you think, and the way you view the world and business.


A self-employed person, for example, tries to do everything themselves, as no one will do a better job than them. An entrepreneur, on the other hand, knows that they can't do everything so they delegate responsibilities to people they trust, who are smarter and more experienced than them in those areas, but still keep people accountable for their actions.


A self-employed person wants to own everything for security. An entrepreneur wants to own as little as possible but control everything. And that's just the beginning. To see what makes an entrepreneur truly different from being self-employed, let’s look at the characteristics of an entrepreneur.


Entrepreneurs aren't afraid to take risks to achieve their dreams


I’m not talking about careless risks (though sometimes entrepreneurship calls for these too), true entrepreneurs are strategic risk takers. They understand that if they are going to achieve greatness they need to take risks, very big risks at times which may come at great personal sacrifice, to achieve their goals.


Entrepreneurs aren't afraid of failure or adversity


Where most people are afraid to try because they might fail, an entrepreneur knows the greatest failure is not to try in the first place. If something doesn't work, it's an opportunity to learn and find a smarter way, a better way to do it.


Some of the most successful people did not succeed the first time, or the hundredth time for that matter, and they encountered great adversity along the way.


Just look at Cornel Sanders. Even Richard Branson and Steve Jobs failed. Oprah Winfrey and Albert Einstein were told they weren’t good enough. But all of them learnt from their mistakes, grew stronger in adversity and never let it break them or dampen their vision.


Entrepreneurs get right outside their comfort zone


Knowing that great success doesn't come from staying safe, an entrepreneur will continue to grow, learn and try new approaches and strategies to get more results. Their drive and vision will see them continually push the boundaries of their comfort zone, always aiming higher and reaching further towards their goals.


Entrepreneurs are doers, not just dreamers


While entrepreneurs are dreamers, they’re most importantly doers. They know that achieving their dreams takes more than writing down their goals or pinning them to a vision board. They know it takes daily action, sometimes courageous, massive action, and they’ll take it.


Entrepreneurs are global thinkers


An entrepreneur understands that there is more money to be made and more benefit to be had when you serve others on a larger scale. They think globally, identifying needs and frustrations to serve the masses and continually further their market reach.


Entrepreneurs are smart marketers and don't shy away from self-promotion


Entrepreneurs aren't afraid of putting themselves out there, having a cause, taking a stance, making a statement, being controversial and taking marketing and PR risks (within reason), to increase awareness for their brand and build their business.


There is no greater example of this than Richard Branson. His outlandish PR and marketing tactics have vastly increased his business empire and made him one of the worlds most recognised and intriguing entrepreneurs.


So ask yourself after reading some of the differences, do you have the mindset you want in business? If not, what changes do you need to make to have it?