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Thirteen Signs You No Longer Have an Employee Mindset

by | Aug 30, 2022 | Entrepreneurs

I grew up surrounded by loyal servants.

Most of my family work jobs, have bosses, and do as they’re told. My potato-farming grandpa was one of the only exceptions.

No one could tell the old man what to do.

He had a potato business and he was freaking proud of it. My aunty on the other hand had the glorious title of “public servant.” That means you work for the government.

She rarely got pay rises. Record-high inflation in the 80s made her life much harder. When she retired she relied on a government pension. It was barely enough to pay her bills, despite her impeccable service to our great nation.

Then illness struck.

She could never afford a good doctor or the right medical treatment. Most of her health problems were preventable. Yet the amazing old lady just couldn’t find the cash.

Some say she died of a heart attack. I say she died of the employee mindset.


There are plenty of nice people who are employees. I was one for a long time. But the employee mindset severely limits your options in life.

Once you quit the employee mindset you can use it to stay in a job if you choose. The difference is your career will never be the same again.

Here are the signs you no longer have an employee mindset.

You execute like badass

Employees are afraid of action.

They have lots of meetings and sandwich platter events to avoid action at all costs. They want more strategy sessions. They want to think some more. They want 5-year business plans. They want more business m*sturbation.

Business owners execute. They take action and then see the results. They look at the data. And they freaking hate Zoom meetings.

Doers get paid ridiculously well.

You laugh out loud at job titles

Anyone can go on LinkedIn and call themselves a big knob “Head Of” whatever the hell they want.

Employees love job titles.

They spend a lot of time thinking about them. When the C-Suite sends everyone an email they get excited. They read their every word. They think the C-Suite is doing bigger things than putting humans on Mars.

Business owners laugh at job titles. They don’t care about them. They prefer to have no title and be known for their results.

When someone becomes a “Head Of” they don’t suddenly rush to the bathroom to rub one out. All they say is “congrats Chief” and get on with their work. They don’t hope to rise through the ranks.

They see “ranks” as a scam. The higher one rises the less time they have in their calendar. They actually want to see their family. They want to see their cute little daughter’s face and go to her dance recital.

Screw job titles.

You don’t ask for free help or free mentors

Employees love to ask a lot of unnecessary questions.

Instead of google answers to questions like “how to get started doing…” they ask strangers for free. Or they ask their boss or someone who has incentive to screw with their brain for their benefit.

The business owner mindset always starts with “can I google this?”

The internet has most of the information anyone needs to do anything. The other epidemic created by employees is mentorship.

Employees want mentors. They’re free little elf helpers from the North pole who come and do all the work for you. Except they get paid $0.

The mentor is a free coach.

And often they’re a counselor, too, to get the employees out of all the naughty problems they’ve created for themselves by not thinking for themselves and being brainwashed by corporations broadcasting fake messages like “we love you,” “we’re a team,” and “one team one dream.”

*Runs to the bathroom to wash mouth out*

The best advice and strategies aren’t free. They cost money so the competition is extremely low to implement them.

Photo by Yogendra Singh on Unsplash

You sit in meetings silently contemplating your future

You may not have quit the employee life yet. But a surefire way to tell the employee mindset is dead inside of you is when you sit in long-ass meetings and contemplate your future. It looks like this:

Free from meetings. A calendar you control. No Karens from HR.

I spent half of last year in meetings, thinking about never being an employee again. Even though I hadn’t escaped it was freeing as hell. They say you have to be able to imagine a goal before you can live it.

Put your imagination to good use.

You charge based on value, not hours

Employees love hourly rates.

They give up their time for a set payday. Maybe there are a few bonuses or extras if you hit your KPIs. But the vast majority of your income is known before the year starts.

The employee mindset dies when you charge people for products or services based on value.

Employee example: “Pay me $40 an hour and I’ll do those reports for you.”

Business owner mindset: “Pay me $10,000 and I’ll have those reports done for you, which will save the business $45,000 in wasted management time.”

The work you do has value. Understand the problems you solve. Find out how much those problems are worth in dollars. Offer to solve a problem then ask for a percentage of the value created.

Charging by the hour is the worst way to earn a living.

You insist on multiple incomes streams

Maybe you’ve been fired before like I have. Maybe you’ve had your pay cut. Maybe you’ve been lied to about pay rises. Maybe your wage doesn’t increase as inflation does.

Employees don’t understand their salary is a huge risk. They think a job is safe. They think their job will always be there. Wrong.

One income is a huge risk.

The March 2020 bat virus showed us. Employers need to make a profit, not provide you with a glorious job you love. The business owner mindset dictates that more than one income stream is a must.

Obviously you don’t wake up with more than one income.

But you understand how important it is and begin learning and testing how you can add a second income.

You’ve got a quiet after hours side hustle

Employees often don’t have side hustles.

They hate hustle. They think they don’t have to work a little harder to get out of salary slavery. Business owners think differently. They see side hustles as a bridge from the employee life to the business owner life.

Side hustles are experiments. Side hustles are small bets. Side hustles are where you decide if you really want to monetize a hobby or not.

The best time to work on a side hustle is before or after work. No need to go crazy either. 1–2 hours a day is plenty.

You see making money online as normal

Employees hate the idea of making money online.

“It’s a scam. Everyone’s doing it. It’s a pyramid scheme.”

Meanwhile, they forget they paid $100,000 for a college degree that entitles them to nothing. Not even a job interview.

The business owner mindset doesn’t get the issue. They see every person who uses wifi to do their job or run their business as “making money online.”

Labels can limit potential.

You act like a business owner

Maybe you still work for a boss. No problemo.

But an easy way to tell you’ve ditched the employee mindset is when you own problems. You take responsibility. You lead without being told to. You do things outside of your pay grade.

Employees play the blame game. Business owners don’t. They fall on their sword. They take the failure or rejection and use it to make more money.

You are uncomfortably proactive

The employee mindset teaches people to wait for stuff to happen. They have New Year’s Resolutions, vision boards, and goals.

“One day it will happen.”

Then they buy a lottery ticket, go on America’s Got Talent, or bet on sports in the hope it could be their lucky day.

Business owners don’t guess. They’re proactive. They have habits that make up systems. They have deadlines. They have tasks scheduled in their calendar. And most of all…

They follow up everything — emails, sales pitches, ‘asks’, Saturday night dates.

You see relationships, not transactions

Employees facilitate transactions.

They’ll help you if it benefits their career. They play tit for tat. “I do you a favor and you do me a favor.”

Business owners don’t do transactions because they rarely get repeated. They understand it’s faster to build relationships so most of their future results can be automated.

“Pitch once, sell thirty times, mate” is their motto.

Transactional thinking is boring. People are tired of the selfishness.

You DM better than Kim Kardashian

Employees are afraid to send DMs (direct messages).

They think it’s too salesy or scary. “They’ll just ignore me so no point.” And they’re right. They do get ignored. For life.

Business owners understand that DMs get more responses than useless emails. They have it down to an art.

  • Zero selfishness
  • No ‘asks’ on the first message
  • Do research on the person
  • Don’t say “hi” and nothing else
  • Get to the point
  • Mention the effect someone has had on your life

Eezy peezy. Even Kim Kardashian does it and she’s an instant red flag to anyone with a brain.

You think experience is trash

Most employees have one year of experience repeated for 5+ years in a row. This can make many of them know-it-alls.

They get overconfident with the tiny experience they have.

They start to think they’re masters of their department (masters of nothing). Once they worship themselves more religiously than a Buddhist statue, they often become skeptics of anyone who does things differently.

“That’s not how we do things here” they’ll say.

The business owner doesn’t value experience much. They worship mindset. They understand that how you think + humility is what makes someone good at what they do.

Final Thought

Maybe, like me, you haven’t completely given up the employee mindset. The important thing is you can see the limitations and proactively work on yourself to escape the employee mindset rat race to nowhere.

Own outcomes, problems, your life, and your career at all costs.

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