You don’t need to be a business owner to have an entrepreneur mindset. Anyone can cultivate this mindset, whether you’re an entry-level employee, a mid-level employee in a large organisation, or someone who has just started to work for themselves.
Nurturing the entrepreneur mindset is a journey that starts with you. This article will explore the key traits of the entrepreneur mindset and explain how you can apply them to achieve successful business outcomes.
What is the Entrepreneur Mindset?
An entrepreneur mindset is about adopting certain beliefs and thought processes that drive you to improve your life and achieve entrepreneurial success. This mindset is based on the belief that people can shape their own reality, as opposed to being mere products of circumstance. Nurturing the entrepreneur mindset guides people to pursue rewarding work and live on their own terms.
Characteristics of the entrepreneur mindset include:
- visionary thinking
- risk-taking willingness
- passion for learning
- proactive problem-solving
- networking skills
- innovative thinking.
Characteristics of the entrepreneur mindset aren’t special gifts a person is born with. They are learned behaviours. At any point, we can choose to respond to life’s situations through the lens of these characteristics, creating greatness for ourselves and those around us.
Importance of having an Entrepreneurial Mindset
Many don’t realise the importance of the entrepreneurial mindset. This mindset is the key to business success. Entrepreneurs don’t just blindly follow the status quo; they listen to their intuition and let that drive them forward. This leads to innovation, and cutting-edge products and services.
Those with an entrepreneurial mindset live life with curiosity and do things that speak to them, rather than just what they think they should do. In other words, the entrepreneurial mindset emphasises passion over duty. This characteristic is essential for those who want their work to reflect their values.
The importance of an entrepreneurial mindset is clear when we see how entrepreneurs are so great at overcoming self-doubt. They always have a willingness and ability to learn. Instead of letting insecurities and fears stop them from reaching their goals, those with an entrepreneurial mindset understand that the biggest competition is themselves. They monitor their self-talk and invest in personal development. With this, they can turn their visions into reality while staying grounded throughout the ups and downs of success and failure.
Developing an entrepreneur mindset isn’t just for entrepreneurs. Anyone can benefit from applying these characteristics in their own lives.
Benefits of having an Entrepreneurial Mindset
No one is born an entrepreneur. Anyone can develop an entrepreneur mindset.
Here are the benefits of having an entrepreneurial mindset:
- Develop greater resilience: Entrepreneurs aren’t afraid to start from scratch. They willingly explore beyond their comfort zone and thrive when given the chance to learn new things. They understand that even when things don’t turn out as hoped, all experiences help them grow for the better.
- Think outside the box: Society wouldn’t go very far if everyone only relied on what we already know. Entrepreneurs find the gaps in our current understanding and use it to make new discoveries. This is how society evolves. We need to think outside the box.
- Inspires others: Having an entrepreneur mindset isn’t just useful for big projects or high-stake business ventures. It’s also valuable for making small, positive changes in your team and community.
- A strong sense of self: Entrepreneurs have high self-awareness and self-motivation. They invest a lot in personal development, and so, have a strong understanding of who they are as a person as well as the work they need to do to bring their vision into reality.
- Transformed workplace: A big part of the entrepreneur mindset is focusing on a solution rather than allowing ourselves to be defeated by a problem. When everyone is more willing to explore alternative pathways and learn from setbacks, the workplace becomes a more uplifting place to be.
- Play to the strengths of the team: Everyone has something special to contribute. The challenge is to create an environment where everyone feels confident in their abilities and supported enough to share them with the team. Those of the entrepreneurial mindset understand that their team’s success is their success and encourage their team mates to play to their strengths and focus on what the team can achieve together.
- Solutions-oriented: It’s never fun when things don’t turn out as hoped. Whether it’s a rejection email from a job you really wanted to land or a notice from an investor saying they want to discontinue, roadblocks can injure your confidence on many levels. With an entrepreneur mindset, you’re encouraged to ask – what is the opportunity in this? Does it free up space for something else? Is it a sign for that some kind of reinvention needs to take place? Focusing on a solution always leads to greater abundance than sitting stagnant in disappointment.
- High-performance: Entrepreneurs aren’t content with the easiest solution. They always strive to go beyond what’s expected, delivering true value to the clients they serve. They want to see that the work they do effectively solves problems and makes life more enjoyable for people.
- Self-drive: Entrepreneurs don’t need others to motivate them to do their best. With a hunger to create and make a positive difference, the leap in their heart is all they need to initiate what they dream to do.
Characteristics of an Entrepreneur Mindset
Now that you know the benefits of having an entrepreneurial mindset, let’s explore the core characteristics. Remember, they’re not fixed traits that only a few people are born with; we can all learn them!
Entrepreneurs understand that big visions take time to achieve. Based on that, they view their vision from a few steps back and break it down into small goals.
For example, let’s say you want to learn to play Debussy’s “Golliwog cakewalk” on the piano. If you’ve never played the piano before, this is an ambitious goal. So, you’ll need to break it down into micro-goals and master each step. First you learn how to read music, then understand the timing, and so on. With each baby step, you are closer to bringing the greater vision into reality.
We’ve all heard the saying, “Not taking a risk is the biggest risk of all”. No matter what industry you work in, change is going to happen. This makes risk-taking an essential in your journey towards success. When developing an entrepreneur mindset, you must push yourself to explore new territory and think about things in new ways. Even if something doesn’t go as planned, it’s never a sign to give up. Instead, it’s an opportunity to find new, unexpected solutions.
JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was allegedly rejected by 12 different publishing companies before Bloomsbury accepted it. If JK Rowling didn’t risk approaching one more publisher, we may never have experienced the magic of Hogwarts. Back yourself and others will too.
Passion for learning
Entrepreneurs use every opportunity to learn. Even simple activities like going for walk is an opportunity to observe the changes around us and let our minds wander. Every creative person will say that they receive most of their inspiration when they’re away from the desk! Learning isn’t limited to school. Life is full of lessons if we are open to seeing them.
Nurturing the entrepreneur mindset means seeing ourselves as flexible as opposed to being fixed in our abilities. No matter how old we are or what we do for a living, we are capable of adapting. Whether we’re forced to redesign a marketing strategy, unearth the childhood traumas, or adjust to a new living location, adaptability is an entrepreneur’s right-hand man. Nothing is ever 100% certain and we must be willing to work with what life throws our way to achieve success.
Forget debating whether the glass is half full or half empty. No matter what happens to you, the important thing is finding a solution. Half full or half empty? Either way, you need to find the source that will fill the cup. Entrepreneurs don’t fixate on what they can’t control; they actively look for ways to overcome the challenge at hand. Focusing on what can be done in the moment to improve our situation is what fuels our ability to bounce back.
Entrepreneurs take full accountability for their situation. They don’t blame others and they understand that they get as much out of something as they put into it
Don’t wait for validation. The journey in nurturing the entrepreneur mindset needs to start with you. It’s the only way to achieve meaningful transformation.
Every person we meet has the potential to teach us something. Entrepreneurs expand their horizons by listening and communicating effectively with others.
Entrepreneurs do everything with intention. Whatever their goal – to increase bottom-line results, further brand awareness, or learn a new creative skill – the entrepreneur breaks it down into SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-sensitive). This method will help you feel less overwhelmed and more results-orients, giving a clear purpose to your actions. When we’re constantly feeling stretched between so many things, it’s easy to lose sight of our why and experience burnout. Allowing a main goal to guide our actions keeps us focused.
The road to success is never straight. There are always hard conversations to be had, beliefs to be challenged and sacrifices to be made. But this is what allows us to think differently and transform us for the better.
Imagine if Thomas Edison didn’t believe in the possibility of a light bulb over 1o0 years ago. Where would we be today? Innovative thinking propels society forward.
Employee vs entrepreneurial mindset
Key to nurturing the entrepreneur mindset is understanding how it differs from an employee mindset.
- Complete or create: People with an employee mindset often focus on completing set tasks. Their success lies in completing those tasks. Meanwhile, those of the entrepreneurial mindset know there is no limit to their imagination. Will you propose new projects or sit quietly ticking off routine tasks?
- Capacity to focus: A trap we’ve all likely fallen into as an employee is multi-tasking. It’s not as helping as it seems. Multi-tasking stops us from giving our full attention to something, which reduces the quality of work. With an entrepreneur mindset, you try to minimise distractions so you can be more productive. For example, you can put your phone on silent when working, set specific times of the day to check emails and texts, and close all search tabs that aren’t related to your current task.
- Relationship to risk: The employee mindset typically involves being risk-adverse. Employees usually don’t look forward to newness and prefer to have a predictable, day-to-day routine. On the other hand, the entrepreneur accepts that risk is a part of being ambitious. They’re not blind to the uncertainties that come with change, but they’re courageous enough to work through them in pursuit of growth.
- Work smart, not hard: People with the employee mindset can get caught up in mundane tasks that don’t actually add value. Entrepreneurs, however, looks for ways they can achieve their goals efficiently, while avoiding unnecessary, tedious work. Everything they do has a purpose and they are never content to just go through the motions of completing a task.
- Working with smarter people: People caught up in the employee mindset often see their more knowledgeable colleagues as competition. They want to be seen as the more capable employee by their manager in the hope of getting recognition and benefits. Meanwhile, the entrepreneur sees a “smarter person” as a portal to greater growth. With their hunger to always learn, entrepreneurs opt to surround themselves with people who challenge them to harness their best.
- Sense of self: People of the employee mindset believe they need to “find” themselves. They quietly go about their routine, waiting for something to help them discover who they are. By contrast, entrepreneurs “create” themselves. They understand that waiting to find themselves only puts them in a constant state of searching. Entrepreneurs seize the day and immerse themselves in whatever lights them up from within at any given moment. They make the best of what the present offers and use it to shape a stronger sense of self.
At the core of understanding the difference between employee vs entrepreneurial mindset is how each person shows up. The employee shows up to get the job done and the entrepreneur approaches a job thinking about how to make it better.
How to develop an Entrepreneurial Mindset
Nurturing the entrepreneur mindset is an ongoing journey. It’s not a case of “do this, then that and now you’re an entrepreneur.” The entrepreneurial mindset governs our whole approach to life and matures with time.
Here are some steps to take develop an entrepreneurial mindset:
- Set clear goals: If you have an overarching mission you want to achieve, start by defining specific, action-oriented mini goals that serve as stepping stones towards that mission. For example, you want to help children with hearing loss receive early intervention support. A mini goal for this could be to secure funding for a speech pathologist centre by engaging a certain amount of investors.
- Redefine failure: Take out a journal and reflect on everything you perceive as being a failure in your life. Journal in a free-flowing, cathartic way. Once you’ve finished, write on a separate page how you responded to each failure and the opportunities that came from the actions you took. This exercise will help you see first-hand that everything happens for a reason, guiding you to where you need to be. So, in that respect, there is no such thing as failure.
- Stay curious: An entrepreneur never stops learning. Whether it’s visiting a history museum, spending time in nature, doing an art class, reading a book or listening to a podcast, devote yourself to what engages your senses. It’s how you stay inspired.
- Own your time: Having an entrepreneur mindset means having autonomy over how you spend your time. Instead of waiting for other people to dictate your schedule, plan your day in a way that enables you to be your best. This could involve having set times of the day to check emails and messages, making a point each day to do some form of exercise you enjoy, or spending time on a creative project instead of attending a social event you don’t want to attend.
Every day is an opportunity to do something that brings more of your vision into reality. Key to nurturing the entrepreneur mindset is understanding that we’re not fixed in our abilities. You, at any stage in your life, can choose to change something about yourself or develop your skills. Your mindset plays a crucial role in shaping your reality.
If you’re keen to improve business outcomes through entrepreneurial principles, look no further than Brainiact. Our mission is to connect small-to-medium sized business owners with support and resources to empower their success.
Contact us today to find out how we can help.