Lots of people dream of quitting their day jobs and becoming entrepreneurs. The word alone conjures up images of freedom, power and success (“shall we take my private jet?”). But the payoffs require intense commitment, passion and drive. In his new book The Top Ten Distinctions Between Entrepreneurs and Employees, motivational speaker and entrepreneur Keith Cameron Smith offers 10 crucial principles to help take you from the cubicle to the corner office, citing the differences between worker bees and head honchos. Here are five tips from the book to help steer you toward a fearless, entrepreneurial spirit. Who knows? Perhaps you’re the next Richard Branson.
1. Entrepreneurs take risks because of faith. Employees play it safe because of fear. Faith says, “Yes, you can.” Fear says, “No, you can’t.” As a general rule, entrepreneurs trust themselves and ignore the voices that whisper, “That’s impossible.” Successful entrepreneurs are afraid of things all the time, but they do them anyway because they have faith in themselves. Starting a business will force you to do things you’ve never done before, and that can be scary. Don’t feel bad if you’re terrified of doing new things; that’s exactly how you’re supposed to feel. Just don’t let the fear stop you from taking action.
2. Entrepreneurs look into the future. Employees look into the past. Smith says that few people understand the power of vision, and that’s why most people are employees, not entrepreneurs. Too many of us spend time looking in the rearview mirror, analyzing our past and using our failures as excuses for why we won’t succeed in the future. Entrepreneurs focus on the windshield, imagining what can and will be. They’ve learned from their failures, and use them as ammunition and drive to shape the future.
3. Entrepreneurs fly with eagles. Employees peck around with chickens. You’ve heard the saying “You’re judged by the company you keep”? Well, it exists for a reason. When you hang around negative, sorry sacks it’s easy to become complacent and content to go nowhere. Change it up. Make new friends. You’re not only judged by the company you keep, but over time you become the company you keep. Aim higher. Surround yourself with people who motivate and challenge you.
4. Entrepreneurs say “The buck stops here.” Employees say “It’s not my fault.” Learn to take responsibility. As you learn to take responsibility in your personal life, you’ll learn to take responsibility for a company. Personal responsibility is all about integrity, which is crucial if you want to be a respected leader. A successful entrepreneur understands that money comes and goes, but your reputation stays with you forever.
5. Entrepreneurs educate themselves more than they entertain themselves. Employees entertain themselves more than they educate themselves. Smith points out that the meaning of the word entertainment is “to detain from entering.” And most entertainment does just that: It prevents you from engaging with life. When seeking to be entertained, entrepreneurs find positive entertainment that inspires – movies based on true stories that motivate you to take action, inspiring periodicals, etc.. Take classes. Read articles. Go to seminars. Get involved. Educate yourself in the things that matter to you so you’re well informed.
For more about Keith Cameron Smith, visit keithcameronsmith.com.