Alison Stone is a career and success blogger. In this article, Alison talks about the ways thinking like an entrepreneur can help your professional career.

Your mindset is the root of success in every aspect of your life, from your job, to your interpersonal relationships, and beyond. The way you think about the problems and challenges you face is largely responsible for the end results you achieve. However, different circumstances require different mindsets. And in many circumstances on the job, it's important to think like an entrepreneur, rather than like an employee. To do so effectively means understanding the ways successful entrepreneurs think, without which their businesses could never have succeeded.

Goals-oriented thinking

It's important to keep in mind that you are responsible for your own decisions, whether good or bad. Through their decision to start a business, entrepreneurs have taken the chance to build something from literally nothing, and that is a risky choice that requires a different way of thinking. They can't wait around for things to work themselves out, nor do they have the workforce to have someone else do it for them. Instead, they have to focus on setting their own attainable goals and providing themselves with the means to achieve them.

Successful entrepreneurs develop a smart sense of attacking their ideas quickly, as they understand that chances in life are short-lived. Your career can benefit from this type of mindset. If you feel like you're stuck in a 9-to-5 rut, brainstorm and pitch in projects that show your entrepreneurial drive. If you aren't given the freedom you desire on the job, try freelancing on sites like UpWork, or try starting your own blog. Setting these goals and acting on them can be a great way to expand on your resume, make new professional connections, and boost your portfolio. And this can put you in a great position to ask for a promotion, find a better job, or get a raise.


Ability to move forward

It's typical for an employee to get stuck thinking only inside the box - which is usually within organizational boundaries. Entrepreneurs don't allow for such limitations in their work. They strive to experiment with new ideas, take their own initiative, and execute on their own ambitions. Mirror that behavior when you're given a deadline - beat it so you can work on the next project. When you see an opportunity, drag someone from across the room to work with you on a project that you haven't worked with before. Ask your boss about initiatives they haven't yet tackled that you want to get a start on.

This requires a lot of courage and willpower. Your boss and co-workers may be skeptics and even naysayers. Entrepreneurs continue in spite of the skepticism.

Expand your skillset

Being an employee, you require specific skills and a job description. In contrast, an entrepreneur is constantly learning new skills, brainstorming new ideas, or using an unfamiliar tools, methodologies, and technology. As an employee, make sure that whatever is required of you is done as soon as possible and there are no room for excuses. Beyond that baseline, find a way to adapt your projects so that you learn something new along the way. Use a project management app to organize your work. Take a crack at number crunching and statistics rather than farming it out to someone else. Create your own marketing plan, even if you work in sales. Find something you think you're bad at and find a way to do it - even if you have to ask for a tutorial from a co-worker. That constant drive push past the comfort zone is what helps entrepreneurs overcome obstacles in their businesses, and it can help you as well.

Loving your business

As an employee, you may occasionally find yourself doing something that you truly dislike just for the sake of getting a good salary. But if you think like an entrepreneur, then you must have a passion for your business first. This attitude will help you work for longer hours and put in the extra effort needed for success. For example, if you’ve invested your time and effort working for a business that builds new websites for clients, not only should you possess great web designing skill, but also a passion for web design. This will help you give 100% of your effort when building products for your audience. A lack of passion and interest shows, and putting together quality work can become a difficult task.

Doing things differently

As an employee, breaking the rules and regulations set by your boss can lead to dismissal if you do so carelessly and make a mess. Entrepreneurs have little or no interest at all in rules, and they don't allow themselves to be constrained by what others say is the right way to do something. Thinking like an entrepreneur means you should look past the rules, take a bird's eye perspective of your tasks, and find a way to get around the rules.

Find that loophole that lets you finish a task quicker. Maybe farm out your menial tasks to a virtual assistant so you can focus 100% of your effort on a project. Or automate the dull parts of your job so you never have to spend much time doing them. Get a co-worker who's not busy to help you brainstorm new ideas. Find workarounds for the stumbling blocks and time sinks on the job so that you can focus solely on work that keeps you engaged.

Having business on your mind 24/7

Unlike an employee, the working hours of an entrepreneur are not fixed. When you start your own business venture, you are required to dedicate your entire life to your work, especially if you want your plans and ideas to become a prosperous business. In the movie The Social Network, Mark Zuckerberg is asked “Do you live and breathe Facebook?” Without hesitation, his answer is “yes”. This is exactly the kind of mindset you need if you want to be a successful businessperson, whether as an employee or as an entrepreneur.

So dedicate the extra few hours each week to polishing up your latest project. Burn the midnight oil with a work buddy to finish faster so you can move on to the next one. Putting in the time now is a smart way to set yourself up for success later. Whether that success is a positive performance review and bonus, a promotion, or a beefy resume for a job change is up to you. The time you spend now can dictate your continued success tomorrow.

Do not underestimate the amount of time it takes to shift your mindset from that of an employee to that of a successful entrepreneur. If the entrepreneurial bug infects you while you're making the transition, you can start by setting up a small business on the side or working freelance. This will not only give you a chance to develop new skills, but will also help you build experience.

The difference between an entrepreneur and an employee is only the way the person thinks about their business or their work. Make those changes in your mindset to find success.

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