The thing that stops most people is the start. ‘Most people’ however, are not entrepreneurs who are wired differently. They love the ‘start’. The ‘start’ is what gets them up in the morning. The ‘not knowing’ is their jet fuel. So what makes an entrepreneur different from an employee? Why are they unique when it comes to all the other hardworking folk out there?

Entrepreneurs believe in seasons; employees believe in balance.

In 1923, Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company, said, “I do not believe a man can ever leave his business. He ought to think of it by day and dream of it by night.” Here he is showing how home and work are a blurry line for entrepreneurs. Big dreams don’t keep office hours and bring an idea to life. You need to work very hard at it for a very long time. Employees, albeit extremely hard working, prefer to keep working hours. They dream of work-life balance. Driven by salary and KPIs rather than vision and ideas. An entrepreneur, on the other hand, understands that balance is seasonal and aspects of their personal lives may need to suffer in order for their dreams to become a reality.

Employees are threatened by smarter people; entrepreneurs hire them.

Employees see someone who knows more than them and might worry that they could be replaced. They become territorial. An entrepreneur loves those people. They understand that having smart people around them drives their vision. So they hire up. They pick up new ways of thinking from the clever people they surround themselves with. They take no issue with others knowing more than them. In fact, they capitalize on it.

Entrepreneurs challenge status quo; employees go with the flow.

Setbacks in business is an absolute certainty but its how you deal with them that determines whether you fall on the ’employee’ or ‘entrepreneur’ side of the fence. Most employees shy away from corporate adversity, seeing it as something to be fixed or avoided. Entrepreneurs use it. Approaching it as an opportunity as opposed to a setback. It provides the entrepreneur with the possibility to think differently about existing problems. And it is often the birthplace of greatness.

Entrepreneurs are risky; employees play it safe.

You’ve heard the saying “The bigger the risk, the bigger the reward”. This was written with entrepreneurs in mind. Challenging the norm and taking risks is core to how they think. Employees, on the other hand, might prefer to play it safe – needing to rely on their salary, pension, and peace of mind.

Entrepreneurs see mistakes as an opportunity; employees see mistakes as a failure.

Employees worry about dropping the ball. They consistently look to impress management with diligence and ‘getting it right’ every time. Entrepreneurs understand that even Steve Jobs made mistakes. And that these oversights were essential for learning and redeveloping their ideas. What makes an entrepreneur different from an employee is that they don’t shy away from error. They make them boldly, own them wisely and learn openly.

Entrepreneurs ask around; employees ask up.

Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely road. So consulting with peers is an essential component. They need council like anyone else. They keep an open mind and trust other’s opinion. This is often where they will cross-reference ideas and play out scenarios. An employee, on the other hand, might have a ‘what is the protocol’ type of approach. Doing what they’re told and not seeking advice to widen their thinking.

Entrepreneurs see far; employees focus up close.

Richard Branson said, “Entrepreneurs can inspire new movements, create new jobs and stimulate economies. They can encourage people to be more entrepreneurial and sow the seeds for the next generation of job creators and innovators.” Entrepreneurial thinking is a long-term play. This type of business person won’t accept the reality in front of them. They are more than ideas people but are also doers. The alchemy of this combination is extremely special and can produce great things. An entrepreneur is different from an employee because an employee embraces someone else’s vision and then helps them create it. This is an equally important component in the bigger picture, but a very different one, none-the-less.

Entrepreneurs say “no”; employees are all about the “yes”.

Employees never say “no” to an opportunity, for fear that it might interfere with their big break. Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, flex their “no” muscle all the time. This helps them focus on what really matters. As Warren Buffet said, “The difference between successful people and really successful people is those really successful people say “no” to almost everything.”

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