Tweak Your Biz » Growth » The Mindset Of An Entrepreneur

The Mindset Of An Entrepreneur



This blog post is dedicated to RW and written to invoke thought, not provide you with the skills and attributes needed to be an Entrepreneur. There are hundreds of articles out there to provide you with the “know-how”. I am exploring the “why-how”.

My life:

3 yrs ~ Montessori school, fun learning of the basics.

4 yrs ~ Primary School, initially fun to evolve into evening homework, mandatory sports, trips to the Headmaster’s office and mandatory conforming to the rules of the school.

12 yrs ~ Secondary School, more mandatory subjects, mandatory sports, mandatory extra-curricular activities, optional extra subjects (instead of playtime), mandatory career guidance (I won’t bore you with the obvious advice from a religious convent.)

17 yrs ~ Third Level, optional everything. Chaos!

20 yrs ~ Out on my ear. Get a job.

24 yrs ~ I opt out. Sound familiar?

Two decades of being inside numerous education systems. I finally came to the conclusion, the working life I had been groomed for, did not suit me. I may have also thought I did not suit this working life. My instincts told me that I would make money in my life, but not the way I was conditioned to. Where do I turn for guidance? When every person I knew was conditioning me to “get a job”.

24 yrs~ Enter a boy (I was wise enough to eventually marry him.)  Within 3 months of meeting this boy, I was on a trip of a lifetime, travelling the world, which lasted five years.

29 yrs~ Return home. I had figured out what an Entrepreneur is. I spent 5 years working and living in the most extreme places, essentially self-employed. I learned that self-employment required certain skills, abilities and knowledge; but most of all – ATTITUDE (mindset).

Unfortunately, I had to undo two decades of conditioning, but fortunately I had also acquired the life skills during these two decades to prepare me for independence (smoking behind the bicycle shed at school), documented earning power (qualifications), and entrepreneurism (running school tuck shop, magazine and bank). Yet, at 29, I still sought “to get a job”. My conditioning provided enough self-doubt and red ears to ignore my heart.

I met Yanky Fachler last week. We discussed the mindset of an entrepreneur and the system we grow up in and are educated in. Yanky recently updated and released one of his books “Fire in the Belly”. It’s worth a read, as it deals with the mindset behind “getting off the ladder” (becoming self-employed.) It is not an easy task, by any standards, but if I had to say only one thing… if you have a dream, the energy, the fire , to create something and make money from it – do it! All the rest of the skills, knowledge and ability can be learned.

32 yrs ~ I used my new attitude and gave up smoking!

If you are not a risk taker, stay “on the ladder”. The ATTITUDE part begins with Courage. Courage is hard to learn, but possible. We become courageous when we assert ourselves as Entrepreneurs. We become courageous when we believe in ourselves. We become more courageous when we allow ourselves to live the dream.

How has courage driven you to start your own business? Please share with us below.



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The Author:

Elaine Rogers is a Business Training & Development Specialist. She provides training and coaching in the areas of IT Skills, Business Skills, and Soft Skills. Elaine has just launched a new online training store at http://www.thesmarttrain.com that provides videos and workshops in the areas of IT, Business and Soft Skills. http://www.thesmarttrain.com

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  • http://twitter.com/fredchannel Fred

    Great post Elaine. Thanks for sharing.nThe “mold” in which we grow up is very tricky and provides a view of many aspects in life, so strong that many people don’t even question it… for their entire lives. Example: why not become an entrepreneur, why not create, why not do what I like, why not try to be happier? nIt’s absolutely free to have these kind of thoughts with powerful breezes of change. Those that dare to. at least, think about them might find the beginning of something interesting and exciting. Those that go a step further and “try” are winners already.

  • http://twitter.com/selfemployedguy Self Employed News

    thanks elaine for your narrative style of writing…

  • http://www.btbtraining.com/blog Niall Devitt

    Love it Elaine, more please! This video ties in well with your post and is from a guy called Cameron Herold where he explains why education and often parenting fail to nurture our entrepreneurial side. Its well worth a watch and really makes you think http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nx3GuO41Jygn

  • http://www.sianphillips.ie Sian Phillips

    Great post Elaine – and history of your life. :) My father was always of the Entrepreneur mindset and I’m sure passed that down to me. You’re right that we are conditioned to think otherwise through school and then getting a job. It’s about thinking outside the box, letting your imagination flow and not being scared to have a go

  • Anonymous

    Elaine,rnrnLove your “why-how” perspective! Most of us are unlearning something and, to dovetail on Niall’s point, our families give us lots of messages about what makes a “successful” life. The catch is, not all of us are easy in that box. We have our own boxes which we want to create with movable sides, angles and colours.

  • http://blog.myprojecttracker.com Barney Austen

    Hi Elaine. This post is a breath of fresh air. The indoctrination that we have in our lives, from before we are out of nappies, is to be good little economic generators. This drives me mad. We live in an economic and not a social society driven by the need to generate wealth as opposed to the more fundamental human needs of contentment. (Rant over!)nI am not naive and do know that we need a sound economy and that the entrepreneurial spirit fosters economic growth. I also know that not everyone is comfortable putting on these shoes. But we should have an educational system that allows for both! If the individual has the desire to step off the ladder, as you put it, they should be shown how to do this earlier than when they discover that they can come off it by chance!nThanks for sharingnBarney

  • http://twitter.com/JBBC Beyond Breast Cancer

    You’ve opened up an interesting debate here Elaine on what makes an entrepreneur. You are so right – attitude is all. You can spot it when you watch something like “The Apprentice” on TV – even though they are going for a “job” many of the candidates have that kind of entrerpreneurial spirit you talk about. They are the ones who are highly motivated to achieve, the doers who make things happen; they are extremely hard-working and you can see they have that single-minded determination and independent spirit that would make them more suited to an entrepreneurial enterprise.

  • http://www.seefincoaching.com/blog Elaine Rogers

    Thank you Fred,nThe thinking and doing is winning already. I come across a lot of clients who don’t even realise they are not thinking, as in questioning if the ladder life suits them, and ARE there alternatives?nnWe are generally raised to be charitable to others. I feel we need to begin to be more charitable to ourselves (some refer to this as being selfish, I say bring-it-on!!), and start questioning inherited beliefs and self limiting decisions.

  • http://www.seefincoaching.com/blog Elaine Rogers

    Thanks for stopping by to read. My narrative style hits a lot of nerves, as people realise that being professional does not mean being un-feeling, un-imaginative, and un-sharing. By sharing personal experience, I feel it touches the core of humanity, the heart :)

  • http://www.seefincoaching.com/blog Elaine Rogers

    Niall,nThanks so much for sharing that TED video – it encompasses everything I fear has been avoided and overlooked in the education systems around the western world. Even the developing and third worlds are getting help to learn how to become self-sufficient or grow crops and make money.nnMBA teaches us to be corporate employees, not corporation leaders/makers – a very apt statement by Cameron Herold in the video.nI love the story telling one where we should get our children to make up stories 3 nights a week – I used to do this with my baby sister, and still make up stories with nieces and nephews at bedtimes. They love it.nnWe are all entrepreneurs as we are all children, it gets beat out of us one way or the other, my own father went from being a civil servant to a business owner, so not sure where that left me at 16 :)

  • http://www.seefincoaching.com/blog Elaine Rogers

    Economic Generators – puts it into perspective Barney!!nnI agree with your sentiment, entrepreneurism should be encouraged from a young age, adn possible have 2 educational systems side by side to allow for both.nnThe problem I feel, is that the educators are born and bred civil servants, who are generally the opposite end of the scale to entrepreneurism, so how are they supposed to empower children to explore their business side?nnPerhaps outside influence / collaboration is needed :) thanks for stopping by!

  • http://www.seefincoaching.com/blog Elaine Rogers

    Hi Marie, thanks so much for stopping by and sharing :)nnGood point on the apprentices, I don’t follow the show but saw a guy being fired last week because he clashes too much with Cullen, a sure sign that they are too alike. So he probably should try out something for himself, rather than going for a “job”.nnUnfortunately, many people start businesses because they hate their boss, this however, does not mean they should get off the ladder completely. They should maybe look at the issues that are causing them unhappiness in their job.nnEveryone should try some kind of business at some point in their life (preferably sooner rather than later) to really test their entrepreneurial spirit, as it may be suppressed. It may blossom if really put to the test :)nnUntil we tackle the self limiting decision that “I could never run a business” or the “if only”‘s, many will stay on the ladder and become increasingly unhappy.nnLIBERATION NOT LIMITATION !!

  • http://www.seefincoaching.com/blog Elaine Rogers

    Hi Marie, thanks so much for stopping by and sharing :)nnGood point on the apprentices, I don’t follow the show but saw a guy being fired last week because he clashes too much with Cullen, a sure sign that they are too alike. So he probably should try out something for himself, rather than going for a “job”.nnUnfortunately, many people start businesses because they hate their boss, this however, does not mean they should get off the ladder completely. They should maybe look at the issues that are causing them unhappiness in their job.nnEveryone should try some kind of business at some point in their life (preferably sooner rather than later) to really test their entrepreneurial spirit, as it may be suppressed. It may blossom if really put to the test :)nnUntil we tackle the self limiting decision that “I could never run a business” or the “if only”‘s, many will stay on the ladder and become increasingly unhappy.nnLIBERATION NOT LIMITATION !!

  • Facundo

    Great post Elaine. Funny that you mention Yanky. I first saw his talk with the ladder (literally jumping from a ladder) at an event about 3 years ago. It changed my perspective on a lot of things. I Particularly liked your point on courage.

  • http://www.seefincoaching.com/blog Elaine Rogers

    not being scared to have a go – nnAbsolutely Sian, I totally agree, however being scared is ok, it’s doing the thing anyway, despite the fear or fretting, is what’s important adn should be encouraged in young and old alike.nnMaybe entrepreneurs like our good selves should rally together, and become the “norm” and leave the ladder people outside the box :)nnOh but then we wouldn’t be satisfied at being “in a box” lolnnThanks for sharing your insights :)

  • http://www.seefincoaching.com/blog Elaine Rogers

    :) you mean like an oblong box, that we can reshape and resize and recolour, as we please?nnExcellent idea! nnOur families want “what’s best for us” and if they are scared of entrepreneurism and all it’s insecurities, the “best” is safety, security and surety. Ba humbug to that I say!!

  • http://www.seefincoaching.com/blog Elaine Rogers

    Yes Facundo, I probably should have added that Yanky does bring a ladder to his seminars with him, to literally demonstrate his very valid points :)nnWe all have courage deep within us, as we were born with huge courage to do all the things we want. I love helping people rediscover that courage, and each time I do, my own courage increases. Just one of the many perks of my chosen work :)

  • http://www.chuckbartok.com Chuck Bartok

    Hooray,nAnother like Minded person.nIt has been heartening to see a re-insurgence of the Entrepreneur Mindset.nFor the past 40 years I have been sharing the FUN, Rewards, and sometime set-backs living the life of an entrepreneur.nNew to this Internet Power. nBut we have established a series of Business Building Webinars, Two weekly podcasts ( one now in it 285th episode), a Facebook Fan Page Best Business Mindset, and endless Blog Posts. nI will definitely Share your Posts.nThanks for verifying the TRUTH

  • http://www.chuckbartok.com Chuck Bartok

    Forgot to mention:nVery soon a new Life Skills course will be introduced ON-Line,that promotes Financial Management and HOW TO think out of the Box.nThe preliminary curricula is being shared with Court referred young people, from a clear thinking circuit Judge from the US Southwest.nShe believes that preparing for REAL life scenarios and developing the Entrepreneur Mindset is a salvation to many of the current problems faced in the USA

  • http://www.seefincoaching.com/blog Elaine Rogers

    Hi Chuck – good of you to stop by and share your sentiments, thank you.nnRecessions always bring a lot of entrepreneurial mindsets out of the woodwork, thankfully. However, they also attract people who should really stay on the ladder, and they generally find out the hard way that it’s not for them.nnBut we should endeavour to ALWAYS encourage entrepreneurship, from a very young age!

  • Anige

    Great articele and thanks for sharing. This is totally me as well. I think we have all been conditioned to go do the M-F 8-5 job, but it is not for me. When I started my business in 2009 that was when I realized that working for myself was what I wanted to do. It would be a lot easier to do the 8-5, but I don’t have the passion for it. I don’t mind putting in 50-60 hrs a week, but it is what I love.

  • http://www.seefincoaching.com/blog Elaine Rogers

    That’s a great comment – “it would be a lot easier” ~ for some, the concept of 8-5 M-F is unthinkable.nnI feel that it is only possible for those who began as an employee and is now self-employed, to know this, and can actually compare :)nnFor those who have never worked for another, probably at this stage cannot imagine it, therefore cannot do it. As long as we are comfortable with our choices, we are on the right path.

  • Christina Giliberti

    Hi Debbie, It’s true. Perhaps we are so bogged down with the day-to-day activities that we forget to pay attention to the changes taking place, or could be a lack of buy-in from top management. In either case, not adapting has caused some fantastic household names to fail. Upskilling makes great sense and should be a priority. The pace of change is getting quicker and companies – big and small – are feeling the back-lash of that pace. Putting an action plan in place to upskill could be a life-saver.
    Thanks for commenting Debbie and happy Friday!

  • http://www.facebook.com/elish.bulgodley Elish Bul-Godley

    Thank you for the Post- I do believe in every business the imperative is there to redefine, or refine even, their core competencies as they evolve and ask the very important question – What is the Business really about whilst thinking beyond the 4 walls of the store itself. Rather than see technology as a threat , its time Retailers start looking at it with a positive mindset as another tool to expand their pontential – lots of scaremongering around.