The Entrepreneur Mindset

“Focus on your strengths.”

How do you shift your mindset from being an employee to being an entrepreneur? In this episode, we talk about how you can get into the entrepreneur mindset. We discuss the differences between the business mindset and the employee mindset.

Let’s delve into some of the key responsibilities of business ownership, such as delegating tasks, learning continuously, and keeping up to date with technology. Tune in to learn more.

John: And I’m John Vuong. 

Roger: We want to welcome all of our listeners. Today’s podcast we’re gonna talk about The Entrepreneur Mindset, John and you…This is where I really want you and I’m glad you’re here to talk about maybe your mindset, the journey that you’ve been on running this business, your business which is coming up by the way on it’s eighth anniversary in a couple of weeks so let’s talk about the mindset of an entrepreneur. 

John: Yeah, it’s been challenging to say the least but it’s also rewarding at the end because there’s been shifts along the way. I came from as you know, Roger the sales, advertising sales world and I was an employee for many, many years and in the corporate world as an employee in sales there were a lot of deliverables and I felt that we were positioned well to be our own kind of mini business while at corporate Yellow Pages so the mindset for us was a lot easier I would say because a lot of the habits that we’ve learned over the years there were transferable to what we do today here at our company. 

Roger: Exactly, taking care of your clients, running offense for your clients to make sure things get done properly so that they’re satisfied cause really it was you run, we ran our own little businesses and if we didn’t take care of our clients they went somewhere else so…

John: Exactly, so that mindset and we were fortunate but a lot of business owners weren’t in the same position as we were so if you were in the service-based or trade and you’re a professional working under someone else you were really just tasked with a specific responsibility. You clock in at a certain time and you clock out a certain time. You had deliverables and duties and once it was done you don’t have to bring it home with you at the end of the day. So then you shift to your own business and now you’re accountable for every facet of the business from taking care of your customers, customer service, bookkeeping, finance, accounting, you’re taking care of operations, your taking care of your staff…

Roger: Marketing…

John: Marketing, website design building, sales everything. Every component procurement, suppliers, real estate if you’re renting everything. So where do you start, how do you even learn all these facets and how do you shift that mindset from being an employee to now handling everything imaginable, right? And it’s not for everyone, let’s get it straight, right? So with these business owners who are listening I always tell people to focus on your strength, right? And whatever that strength is, if you’re a tradesperson do it very well, spend more time doing what you love and outsourcing or hiring people that you don’t…For things that you do not like doing, right? So if you do not like answering  phones like as a receptionist or if you don’t like you know,  maybe the accounting, bookkeeping aspects there are software tools or people that you can hire to do those things because most of the time  they maybe stress you out, they drain you and you cannot sleep and focus on what you love because if you’re focusing on these tasks that you dread. 

Roger: And it is true, I know in the early days, John, when you started your business you had to do it all everything but as time went on you built a team, you focused on your strengths, you hire people for their strengths that can do other facets of the job and you leverage everyone’s talents to do all the different things that needs to be done. 

John: And that’s where time comes in, right? And you know, again as a business owner I did it a different way than a lot of business owners might do it and so I can only talk about my personal experience and you might be going on a different journey altogether. You might have funding to hire people right away. I kinda bootstrap everything so for me I wanted to dabble into every facet. I have a degree in finance so I was pretty strong with numbers, I was pretty good in sales and marketing because that’s my background and my career and in terms of business mindset like I took care of attracting new customers. I just didn’t know how to fulfill and do the actual work so I had to learn all that and with that in mind it was all about reading, ingesting a lot of knowledge, reading a lot of blogs, watching a lot of videos but I was more of a…I was at a stage where I was really wanting and desired for knowledge. I wanted to get better. I always wanted to improve, right? And do what’s right because there was a gap in the marketplace and if there was someone that could do it I felt I was it, right? So just being you know,  motivated in that sense but have that mindset of, “I’m gonna add value, I wanna do good, I have this core values from my personal life and in the business I’m gonna ingrain in everything that I do moving forward and focus on your strengths at the end of the day. 

Roger: And at the end of it all you had to as every business owner needs to keep your eye on the price  and the price is the business has to be profitable so that you can pay your suppliers, you can pay your staff. It has you know, at the end of the day and I had seen this over the years too where some business owners get caught just trading revenue they’re not focusing on the bottom line so I know, John, you absolutely did as well. Bootstrapping saying, “Okey, here’s my cost. Here’s what it costs to run this business every month. What do I require in terms of customers in revenue to make this thing go?

John: Yeah, and a lot of people if you’re in trades or service, you may not have finance background, right? And if you’re not good with like what comes in, revenue, what goes out, your  cost and then what’s the margin because you have to incorporate taxes, you gotta pay salary, and your variable cost, fixed cost and everything in between, right? Understanding the dynamics of whatever you sell is not what you bring home, right? And there’s cost behind it and you have to save accordingly, you have to make sure you have budgets accordingly and don’t spend everything that you make or else when the taxman comes, you have nothing to give them and you’re in debt, right? So you know, be smart with your money. As business owner you’re already, I would say at a different level than an employee because you’re taking action, you’re taking initiative to fill a gap in the marketplace and you want a better life for not just yourself but maybe your customers and that’s why there’s an opportunity for you to jump in into entrepreneurship. So always challenge yourself as well, right? I always look at this as you know, if your mind is strong you can always get better, right? And improve in every aspect because you know, you might be great at trades or that service that you know, whatever you’re a dentist, you’re a plumber, right? But there’s so many other weaknesses that you might wanna learn about or improve on or if  you learn a little bit more you can ask more intelligent questions  from your suppliers or your vendors or whoever you’re hiring to do the work, right? So knowledge is power and the more knowledge you have on every dynamic of the business the stronger you become as a leader. And so take small baby steps to get better not just in your skillset but in all aspects of business.

Roger: And I think it’s true and it should be mentioned that never before has there been this much information available at your fingertips and on any topic instantly available. Whether you’re…You just google it or you’re in youtube, the how to, the this and that. It’s unbelievable the resources that are here right now. So as a business owner you don’t have to go to a library, or you don’t have to hire and go to some consultancy where you can actually learn and  get a good grounding on some different topics around running a business. 

John: And I would say be careful about who you get the knowledge or information from. There’s credible sources, there’s people that are experts in their domain. Really vet them, right? Understand who you wanna follow on every topic. Just like who you wanna become like if you’re a local business owner and you want to dominate your niche or dominate your local area. What does it take? What does it mean to dominate? Do people wanna look up to you? And why do they look up to you? So you need to  have knowledge, you have to continue training, you gotta continue being active in your market, you gotta learn and pivot, and understand the gaps and opportunities from your customers and that’s how you challenge yourself. You get better, you will always pivot and learn and make mistakes but this is what business ownership’s about, right? You cannot stay stagnant and when you do that’s when things start going downhill. 

Roger: And the old saying, “You need to continually improve because your competition is.” So if you think, “I’m just gonna coast for a while.” Your competition is not coasting so even if you think I’m doing so well, things are going great. “I’m just gonna take it easy and let the business run.” That is sort of a recipe for short, mid or long term you know, decline because you can’t…You must continue to grow to your point and you’ve mentioned it a few minutes ago, John. You just can’t just sit back because the competition is never sitting back so if you wanna be strong grow your business, take care of your employees, take care of your clients, your customers. It’s just part of the business. It’s part of the game. 

John: And the good thing about the mindset piece of a business owner is we are wired differently. We are always thinking about the business and ways to improve the customer experience, the service level, the pricing, that value that you’re bringing so we are always trying to focus on what we can do more better, achieve more, gain more market share, whatever it is. So for us it’s all about learning how you personally or you have an accountability partner or community that can challenge you in weaknesses and gaps that you have. So sometimes you’re so in it and I learned this when I…Early, a couple years of the business. I was so ingrained in the business that I was burning myself out, right? I was running myself dry because I was spending 16, 18 hours  a day not resting, not having mental clarity and no direction and focused all my efforts on things that stressed me out and that’s why I have no hair, right? But when I take a step back and the last couple of years have been a lot more different because I hired the right people, I understood my gaps, I focused on my strengths, I enjoy things and the business is more of a lifestyle business more than me in the business now, right? So you have to look at like why you got in the business in the first place, right? And understand how to get to where you want to be in x amount of years or time. And not everyone is suited to be a business owner and it’s okey like…

Roger: That’s right because to your point if you look there’s many, many, many benefits of being an entrepreneur, being your own boss but that also comes with a responsibility and as to your point, John, not everyone  is everyone is prepared or mentally prepared or you know, whatever physically prepared to take on what it means to be the boss and be responsible for everything so…

John: Yeah, and how good are you with people, right? If you want to build a team or if you have clients, right? If you used to just be a worker or you know, a staff, an employee and you never had that customer relationship training, or dealing with and maybe you’re an introvert and not an extrovert like all these things. You have to hire people but you need to know how to hire and what questions to ask and what to look for to have a good idea of what your business is gonna look like and how the values are ingrained in them so that they can push it to their clients, your clients, right? Like learning all that takes time and there’s gonna be mistakes, there’s gonna be a lot of you know, peaks and valleys throughout that journey, right? But that mind, training, understanding that there is gonna be a shift from employee to business and along the way during that business ownership there’s gonna be a lot of pivots as well and shifts and be prepared for all that. 

Roger: That’s right. And technology is racing so fast and again as a business owner those are things that you gotta be on top of and it will help your business too. I think one of the topics, John, that we wanted to mention was automation. All the things that are now available that weren’t a number of years ago. Whether it’s software, whether it’s for billing purposes there’s just so much out there now that makes things more efficient for you as a business owner but you have to uncover what those are. 

John: Yeah, so taking a step back or having someone, a community, or a coach or someone that understands your business and being honest with how you can be better with your time, right? Use, focus on the highest ticket, hourly rate that you’re gonna do on your business and focus on your strengths, right? And there’s software, tools and people that can fill those gaps that may love their work better than you love it because you’re stressed even thinking about it. So do things that you enjoy, focus on how you can get better, improve, educate yourself through books, podcasts, videos, content pieces, you know, wherever you consume content. There’s ways to learn more, get better. There’s never enough I would say because there’s always gaps. 

Roger: And John, you know what’s interesting as an employee there’s a one certain mindset as you say, work, you know your job, you get paid, you get home on Friday whatever it is you know, your hours but as an entrepreneur you mentally have to prepare and sort of take care of yourself as well because it’s not all just about work. There’s really work, there’s family, there’s community, those are the three pillars for your own success and you touched on a few minutes ago and it should be mentioned in the early days in your business when you were burning out, you were overloaded. All focused on business and you weren’t focusing on…There was no time for yourself in terms of physically taking care of yourself, health and you know, diets, exercise and then you got your community being involved, the community, etc. That gives a nice balance to life. So the entrepreneur needs to have that focus as well. It can’t all just be for the sake of, at the expense of everything. My business comes first. It’s really gotta be that balance. 

John: And that’s a lifestyle choice that you really need to understand, right? Someone that’s gone through it, lived it. Maybe mimic some of these business owners or talk to them. Get some real life you know, discussions on how they balance everything, right? Learn from people that have done it, get to know them on a more you know, intimate, not intimate but you know, on a more level training field that  they’ll open up to you so that you can actually uncover where your gaps and weaknesses are because when you’re in it, it’s hard for you to step back to see what you’re doing wrong. You feel you can do everything, you’re invincible and that’s how most business owners feel but when you start slowing down, really reflecting on you know, beginning of the year, end of the year, it gives you a good frame of mind to really look at your business as a whole. Does it fit your lifestyle? Does it really emphasize on you know, allowing you to live your life on your kinda terms, right? And enjoying it. Are you happy with what you’re doing? Or is it stressing you out and why? Right? 

Roger: Yup, cause it’s…With the entrepreneur you’ve got freedom, you’re the boss, no one tells you what to do except for your banker I’m sure. The bank and the government always tells you what you have to do but you are your own boss so those are some great, great things that come along from being your own boss but there are responsibilities in there as well.

John: Yeah and enjoy, right? Like this is life. I think it’s the most challenging thing as a business owner, entrepreneur to do but it’s the most rewarding as well because you’re always challenging yourself mentally, the mindset is always pivoting and you’re always trying to do more and get better, always add value, pivoting, networking with like minded people as well makes you stronger because it gives you understanding of where the gaps are and focus on like your interest, things that you actually enjoy doing will make you way more satisfied in purpose why you got in business in the first place. You know, why….It opens up a lot of doors and avenues when you’re enjoying things more. 

Roger: And you know, maybe this is a nice, a good time to mention this but we see it, John, because we look after clients for some of their needs around SEO and google, etc. on a regular, daily basis but  I see the business owners that are “most successful”, “most content” are the ones that run a good business. Run a good business means you take care of your customers. Yes, you charge for it, you’re not giving away your services for free but when you solve your clients problems you become their trusted service provider, business provider, product provider whatever it is. But when run that business, good business then all of a sudden they give you great reviews that shows up on google, other people coming in looking they say, “Hey, look at this company. Look at the great reviews that they have.” So you as the entrepreneur, the business owner focus on running a good business and that means you gotta take care of your customers.

John: And if you’re a business owner, you probably have your best restaurant, coffeeshop, best tradesperson that you go to. Why do you keep going back to them? And that’s what you need to mimic in your own business because they’ve done something right for you to continue using them or reaching out to them when you need their service or product, right? So focus on doing those small, little, intangible things and ingrain it, make it a habit, practice, focus on getting better and understanding your weaknesses because if you think you’re perfect…I don’t think anyone’s perfect, right? There’s always room for improvement in every business, in every aspect in life so…

Roger: So true. 

John: Get better, learn, have a really strong mindset and continuing being passionate, doing something that you love because this is your life that you’re living in.

Roger: Well, I think that was great, John, do you have any other thoughts? I think that we’ve covered a lot of good contents here today.  

John: I think mindset is so pivotal, shifting it, understanding it and being in control of your mind is so important as a business entrepreneur, business owner, entrepreneur and focus on getting better, improving it so good habits. 

Roger: Yep, that’s great! Well, thank you, John, for today you know and we wanna thank all our listeners and we’ll see you again, meet again at Local SEO Today.

John: Thank you, Roger.

Roger: Thanks, John.