While attending the Platinum Mastermind in the Canary Islands, I had a chat with Diamond member Torsten Buder from Germany. Torsten is currently running his business from Chile and he is seeing a lot of new entrepreneurs entering our industry from unrelated jobs. He wanted to know, what are the key steps that need to happen in order to successfully make the transition from an employee role to that of a business owner?
As many as 74 percent of workers are ready to leap at a better job opportunity right now. Twenty-two percent of executives surveyed in a Business Insider report desired to start their own business. Helping people like these transition is one of the most important things we can do to ensure their success as entrepreneurs.
Being an Employee Versus Being an Entrepreneur
When you are an employee, your job has a very specific structure. There is a specific time you must show up, a fixed number of hours that you need to work, and a chain of command that must be followed. None of this happens when you become an entrepreneur, and I think that’s why some people have a hard time making the transition.
The main difference between the two roles is accountability. As an employee, you are accountable to your boss. As an entrepreneur, you are accountable to yourself. Being successful at your job is no longer about showing up on time and putting in your hours; it’s about dedicating yourself to a project and seeing it through until the end.
Transitioning to entrepreneurship also means that you’re becoming a generalist, whereas before you were more of a specialist. You are no longer in charge of one type of task, such as payroll or setting up client contracts; now you’re in charge of everything—sales, customer service, web pages, administration—everything! That’s why it is so important to have self-discipline in your new business, or, as Toby Thomas says, “ride the lion.”
How to Ride the Lion
Toby Thomas, CEO of EnSite Solutions, has a fun metaphor for how a new entrepreneur feels after he or she has started a business: like they are riding a lion.
“People look at him and think, ‘This guy’s really got it together! He’s brave!’ And the man riding the lion is thinking, ‘How the hell did I get on a lion, and how do I keep from getting eaten?'”
To keep from getting eaten, so to speak, you need to understand all facets of your business just well enough to get everything in motion to start making sales. It’s a handful, but it’s absolutely possible. When I became an internet marketer, I didn’t know WordPress or Fantasia or even how to set up a webinar. But I learned the parts of the business that were most important, and went from there.
My advice for those making the transition to entrepreneurship is this: Aim to get good enough at taking care of your business’ moving parts. As soon as you are performing well enough to get cash coming in, you’re going to replace yourself in those roles by hiring qualified employees. So really, you’ve got to learn just enough to get the ball rolling, and then you can slowly dismount the lion and let other people handle it.
Get Your First Customers so You Can Move on to Marketing
Once you’ve created your product, focus all your energy on bringing in customers. These first customers are the most important because their purchase will help fund your marketing, and their sales will keep the business going. When the money starts coming in, disengage from the non-money making tasks of your business.
The first thing you want to transition is administration. Next, sales. You want to primarily focus on marketing, so once you’ve automated your business systems, all you need to do is drive traffic.
That’s how you transition from employee to entrepreneur—with discipline, motivation, and great care. The lion won’t eat you if you treat it well!