The transition from being an employee to an aspiring entrepreneur shouldn’t be based on the wrong reasons. At the top of these reasons is choosing the highest human value – freedom. When you decide to leave your employer for the sake of freedom “from”, you will be committing a mistake. Because you will be getting out from a prison and getting into another one. It’s a sort of escapism without having a blueprint in mind. This is the illusion of freedom because freedom can’t be given, and it cannot be taken. You are free from your employer to fall into the prison of your potential customers. You freed yourself from serving a boss to surrendering yourself to no less merciless bosses in the marketplace. The right reason for this transition is to have the freedom of BEING. To grow as a human being: create something of value and better serve your customers. Only then can freedom be attained.
Another type of freedom that lures the aspiring entrepreneurs is the freedom “for”. You decide to leave the employment path for the potential freedom that entrepreneurship brings out. These are: financial, career, location, and lifestyle freedoms. You seek what you love no matter what. You are a dreamer who listens to the personal development gurus who advise you to follow your passion. You will be buffeted by the fact that you need to be financially independent in order to fund your business. You come to a stalemate where you start to doubt your vision and think of reverting to the employment prison once again.
The ideal scenario for achieving this long-sought freedom comes from those who walked the path. Those are the well-established business owners who will surprise us that it rarely is freedom that is the highest value but rather the fulfilment that comes from better serving their customers and constantly delivering them value. For them, freedom is synonymous with responsibility. They know that the only thing they are capable of delivering is their God-given gifts and their raw material that they work on polishing in order to make their services all the more valuable and convenient.
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When we reverse-engineer the success stories of the well-known entrepreneurs we will find one thread that combines them all. They are all, as the great Jack Welch says,” eating short-term in order to grow long-term.” I’ll take it to mean; they are a combination of leadership and management. The leadership trait is manifested in having a vision and passion for where their business is going to be in the years ahead. The management trait is evident in delivering value and making money instantly, constantly, and consistently.
The thriving entrepreneur is made up of two mindsets, not one. The two are the hunter-gatherer mindset as well as the farmer-harvester mindset. They wake up, every single morning, with a hungry mindset, just like the starving lion: to hunt for making money very early to feed his family and his employees. He mercilessly pursues money that comes from giving values. He works single-mindedly and mercilessly from the sunrise to get paid in return for the service offered. Once this is accomplished, another mindset takes precedence – the mindset of the visionary farmer who strategizes and plans long-term. This is how they run their day, every day. The two mindsets go sequentially not in parallel. First, eating; second, growing.
Managing the transition from an employee to an entrepreneur takes patience and discernment. When basing our judgement of making this transition on being free from the constraints of a job, we jeopardize the success of being an entrepreneur. Our sought-after freedom will come as a by-product from serving customers and adding value to their lives.