Employee vs. Entrepreneur: Shift Your Thinking to Develop an Entrepreneurial Mindset

Entrepreneurs created the vision for the world we live in today.

Employees helped build it.

Both are necessary and valuable, but they each require a different mindset.

If you want to switch to an entrepreneurial mindset, these six shifts in thinking can help pave the way.


1. Entrepreneurs have a different mindset about earning money

Instead of thinking about dollar per hour output, think about units of products you can sell.

Say you work a job and make $50 an hour. In a 40-hour work week, you can’t make more than $2,000. You could make that same $2,000 much more easily and do it around the clock without having to trade your time.

You can make that $2,000 with:

  • 100 sales of a $20 product
  • 10 sales of a $200 product
  • 5 sales of a $400 product
  • 2 sales of a $1,000 product
  • 1 sale of a $2,000 product

And, if you build a sales machine with funnels, media, and employees to help promote your products, you can sell products 24/7 and make money while you sleep.

This mindset shift helps you make cash faster and with less effort over time, but to get this all to work…


2. Business owners front-load the work (if they want to make long-term money)

In short, you work for little to no money upfront to make tons of money down the road.

Most people with the employee mindset are addicted to immediate gratification. They want to get paid right away for their efforts, which is why they never build wealth.

Shifting your mindset from instant to delayed gratification is the key to wealth. Front-loading the work puts this key skill into practice.

For example, I did a bunch of things for free that help me make money today:

  • Writing free blog posts for exposure and building an audience to sell to later
  • Shooting free videos on YouTube to reach their benchmarks for being able to earn money through ads (I also promote products via those videos)
  • Creating email funnels that sell my products on auto-pilot
  • Focusing on search engine optimization, which requires you to wait months or even years before you reach the top of the rankings
  • Taking time out of my day to make connections and do outreach via social media and email
  • Writing on Medium for free before they created a program to help writers get paid—when the program launched, I already had tons of followers on Medium and a backlog of content to publish and get paid for
  • Reading books and learning skills to make money
  • Listening to educational podcasts to keep learning
  • Taking online courses and paying money to learn before I made a dime

Fast forward a few years, and all of these efforts have helped me make passive income. There’s no such thing as truly passive income. You have to do a lot of work beforehand to get the big bucks on the backend.



3. Entrepreneurs value this reason for working (and are willing to wait for rewards)

Front-loading reminds me of a similar concept:

Work to learn, not for money.

Again, employees are too addicted to money to understand the value of working to develop profitable skills.

I worked at a digital marketing agency. I only made $50k a year, but I got paid to get a crash course in marketing. Those skills helped me build the business I have today. I once wrote a guest blog post that equated to less than minimum wage by the time I finished. The editor put me through hell. It took six months, and I only got paid $300. But I gained an insane amount of knowledge about what it takes to win.

Society used to work on an apprenticeship model. You’d study under an expert and basically be their lackey until you had the skills to go out on your own. These days, people scoff at the idea of unpaid internships and cry about “not getting paid what they’re worth.”

Yes, you should be compensated for your work, but why do you need to be compensated immediately?

Stop looking for the immediate reward. Get the knowledge and skills. They’ll pay off much more handsomely if you can wait.

Speaking of waiting.


4. An entrepreneurial mindset focuses on the long game

Alex Hormozi said this in a reel he shot recently:

  • If you can wait 90 days for the results of the action you take, you can win
  • If you can wait 12 months, you can win big
  • Wait a decade, and you can become the best at what you do
  • Spend a lifetime, and you can change the world

Too many people think they’re smarter than they are. This is why they change course instead of committing to the long-term and doing the unreasonable amount of work it takes to be successful.

I just shot a reel about this very topic:


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Ayodeji (@ayotheauthor)

If you’re not patient, you just can’t win in business. The trick is to shift your mindset, be hyperactive, and work with a sense of urgency every single day. You have to be extra patient with the long-term results.

Facebook, a seemingly young company, is 20 years old.

Apple started in the 70s.

Warren Buffet has been investing since the age of 11. He’s 91.

If you can wait, you can win.



5. Business-minded people realize money is everywhere

People with the employee mindset have limiting beliefs about money. They look at money as scarce. They work way too hard for it instead of working smart to get boatloads of it. It doesn’t even cross their minds that they can make a ton of money. They don’t see how much money is truly out there.

I wrote about this in a substack post called Money is Everywhere (Use Your Eyes).

Most people work hard, but they work on the wrong things. The right things to work on are the things that make money without tons of effort.

Many of these fields, like making money online, take lots of upfront effort, but once you get the money machine going, that effort compounds and it’s easier to make money because you have money.

Once you start to realize that money is everywhere, you’ll focus on getting on the right side of these transactions instead of always being the consumer or the employee instead of the creator.

Think of how many transactions you do just in a single day. Now multiply the number of transactions you make by the billions of people alive in this world. Can’t you get a fraction of those people to spend money with you? You can once you realize that the exchange of funds happens all the time.

Shift your mindset to become the seller instead of the buyer. The creator instead of the consumer.

6. An entrepreneurial mindset views risk in a whole new way

Employee-minded people misunderstand risk.

They look at jobs as secure and entrepreneurship as risky. Often, the opposite is true.

Ask all the people caught flat-footed when the pandemic wiped their jobs away. Companies often down-size on a whim. Employees who don’t keep their skills sharp and keep up with the market can become obsolete fast.

My mom was a highly-paid corporate pro for decades. The great financial crisis of ‘08 hit. She never fully recovered. Once the recession ended, companies would rather hire a less experienced younger person to do the job instead of paying her what she was worth based on experience.

Many people in America are a few paychecks away from being homeless. Fifty-six percent of them can’t afford a $1,000 emergency. People who work jobs are an example of what Nassim Taleb calls the turkey problem:

Consider a turkey that is fed every day. Every single feeding will firm up the bird’s belief that it is the general rule of life to be fed every day by friendly members of the human race ‘looking out for its best interests,’ as a politician would say.

—Nassim Taleb

As an entrepreneur, your income is volatile, but you pay attention. It reminds me of an anecdote that people who drive in areas with tons of street signs get into more accidents because of the false belief of safety. Whereas areas with more reckless driving conditions report fewer accidents because people have no choice but to pay attention.

Also, in our modern era, the risk of entrepreneurship is much lower with the invention of businesses that don’t require tons of money and loans to start. My monthly expenses for my business are only $1,000 per month. When I write a book, my downside is known. I can’t lose more than what I spent publishing the book, and I can’t sell negative books.

You can make money online with these small and calculated bets instead of risking everything you have to get your business off the ground.


Moving from employee to entrepreneur isn’t easy, but keep at it

Steve Jobs once said:

Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.

—Steve Jobs

Employee-minded people are…sane.

It makes sense to work a job, play it safe, and collect your bi-weekly check. It does seem crazy to think you’re one of the rare people who can strike out on their own and make it big.

I’ve noticed a pattern.

All of my friends who were misfits in college are business owners now. The conventional rules and structure never made sense to us. We knew there was more to life than punching the clock, and we were delusional enough to think we could pull it off.

We did it.

So can you.

But you have to believe in yourself and have a high level of confidence. 

Business can be a cold and lonely road. But if you can positively brainwash yourself for years at a time, you can make it to the other side.

Shift your mindset from employee to entrepreneur and see how it changes your life. 

The air is better up here. You’re free. You get to live the life you want without answering to anyone.

It’s worth the effort. Do it.