How To Decipher The Mind Of An Entrepreneur

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How To Decipher The Mind Of An Entrepreneur

How to decipher the mind of an entrepreneur.

This post is for those who don’t understand how entrepreneurs are wired, or perhaps you are trying to understand more about yourself.  Entrepreneurship and everything that it represents is exciting to me and gets me out of bed every morning with a smile.  Having the opportunity to impact other people on your own terms is an amazing opportunity and it is an option for everyone.

People who have never run their own business struggle to understand what it’s like to run a successful business.  The mind of a true entrepreneur rejects the mainstream ways of thinking. Most people seek security from an employer, while entrepreneurs set out to create their own security.  The majority of people swim downstream with the masses, while entrepreneurs go against the current.  Society expects us all to conform to what’s popular and common, but the great entrepreneurial innovators are disruptors.  Not in a bad or harmful way, but rather they choose to do something different.

It’s a beautiful thing, isn’t it?

Think for a moment how different our world would be without people like Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and countless others.  It’s insane to even try to imagine.  Everyone enjoys the products and technology that they have brought us all, yet people still suggest that we should all do things a certain way.  Now let’s discuss a few examples of how the mind of an entrepreneur works.

Opportunities versus Obstacles


Career focused professionals focus on the obstacles in their career path that lie between where they are and where they want to go.  There is a process and time involved in climbing the corporate ladder and a career track to follow, in most cases.  There are limitations to a person’s income based on the position that they are in and set hours that must be committed to as well.  These people often times have to work on teams, attend regular meetings and conference calls, and go to company functions too.  All of these commitments are part of the territory and require a significant time commitment that comes out of the available 168 hours that we all have in a week.  Career professionals often get overwhelmed by all of these obstacles in their busy weeks and their lack of control over it all doesn’t help matters either.  I can relate because I have been there, more than once, myself.

Entrepreneurs think about creating the circumstances that they cannot find, instead of hoping that someone else gives them exactly what they want.  Entrepreneurs don’t waste time hoping that their big break just shows up.  They are innovative and work in creative ways to make things happen.  The mindset is very different, with the focus on solutions rather than obstacles.  Viewing the world through different lenses can offer a completely different experience in the daily journey, known as ‘life.’  I have no issues at all with my career-minded friends, but rather I want to examine some of the differences in the mindset between them and the slightly nutty entrepreneurs.  It takes both types to make this world go round, but it’s up to you to decide if you want to make someone else or yourself rich.  Those are the only two options that all of us are working towards.


Fear of Being Idle versus Fear of Moving


For a majority of people, fear is the reason that they do not take risks.  The fear of losing money.  The fear of embarrassment.  The fear of what other people will think.  The list goes on forever, but the fact remains that it prevents most people from doing the things that they want to do.  I talk to people all of the time that work at ‘regular’ jobs and have great ideas, but they are too scared to try something new “in case it doesn’t work out.”  They view their current situation as ‘safe,’ even though they could literally be fired at any moment.  Another line that I hear is about the “need for benefits.”  Yes, most companies pay a portion of this cost, but I hope people realize that they can just buy their own at any time.

For entrepreneurs, the fear of not chasing their dreams or reaching their potential is greater than the fears listed in the previous paragraph.  It is also a fear encompassed mindset, but the view of the employee based situation is very different.  One views it as ‘safe’ and the other as ‘too safe.’  The fear of staying where they are in life and a missed opportunity is the greatest fear of all.

Does that make sense?

This is a really interesting area for me because I find the mindset of others fascinating.  What makes most people stay, makes others flee.


Retirement versus Vision


I grew up in a world, where everyone around me wanted to work for a good company so that they would have a good retirement.  Today you see it with the obsession about maximizing the investments into 401k, etc. for the future.  I think that this is all good practice, but entrepreneurs are driven by the vision of what they want life to be, instead of how their life will end.  Career focused people retire in their golden years often with their best physical and mental health already behind them.  Entrepreneurs are driven by the idea of having no caps on their income and by having control over their time, sooner than later.  Both sides value hard work, but the timeline for the big rewards are different.

I know that I have made some generalizations about career minded people and entrepreneurs that aren’t going to capture all people, in all situations.  My intention was to bring some differences to light in a few key areas where someone can easily see the differences in the thinking.  Do you have any additional ideas on someone can decipher the mind of an entrepreneur?

Let’s hear them in the comments!


3 Responses

  1. Donna Meiser says:

    Jason, I am a ‘career’ person with children who are definitely ‘entrepreneurs.’ It makes for some interesting dinner conversation for sure! 🙂 Overall I think you are spot on. However, regarding obstacles vs. opportunities, I would expand that thought and say that any good leader must learn to assess areas viewed as obstacles and formulate solutions. The desire, of course would be to learn to view the once perceived obtacle as an opportunity. Whether that is an opportunity to grow, change, or explore new territory. We really do have a choice in what lens we view life through.

    Additionally, I would say that the entrepreneurial mindset seems more prevalent in younger generations, post Boomers. Honestly, that makes perfect sense, those generations were affected by war and the Great Depression. Security was a highly valued and scarce commodity. Of course there are entrepreneurs represented in those older generations, even some you named in your blog but with younger generations, the freedom to make changes and step outside of ‘the box’ and make their own path. These younger generations certainly have benefitted from the technological advances made in the last several decades. These advances continue to open unbelieveable opportunities that were previously unavailable.

    All of us have gifts and talents. We are unique. In the end, I want to have more, ‘I’m so glad I did’ rather than ‘I wish I would have…’

  2. Ronald Maher says:

    Hello Jason,

    I have enjoyed reading a number of your post. It’s interesting that until around 6 years ago, all I did was to run 18 hours a day jumping into and either assisting, under contract, or building my own companies in a variety of Industries. The most powerful aspect of having been an entrepreneur since graduating Florida State and 1 1/2 years later formed my first company, was the ability to choose every opportunity insuring a minimum of 3-4 hours of those 18 to be with my wife and two boys. A number of Ventures involved extensive travel, both Nationally and Regionally. However, I could be in Phoenix Arizona, and if one of my boys had a game that night, the choice was mine and only mine, to take an early flight out in time to make their game. The love of marriage, family, and challenges were the make up of my life. I remember looking in the stands of my sons ball games and seeing maybe 2 fathers. The balance filled with mothers. Phoenix was 2 thousand miles away and the other fathers offices, maybe 15 minutes. Was the effort to climb that Corporate Ladder so intense? You speak often about your gut and instincts. I would only add the value of Creativity.
    My 3 strongest assets were Creativity, Instinct, and Intuition. The operational aspects and understanding the power of bringing all the dimensions of operations together, to work as one cohesive unit insuring consistency in product or service, which led to consistent revenue, growth and profits seemed to come easy to me. I attribute most of that ability to starting in the Restaurant Industry at age 14.
    I was a student of Business, always looking and listening when no one even knew I was their. What I would like to applaud you on, comparing to the development of LinkedIn, over the past 5 years, is you are the first I’ve witnessed, whose thoughts and real experience as an Entrepreneur coincide with my own. You write and appear to be a Pragmatist in identifying the reality of an Entrepreneur. I’m not speaking of the Bill Gates, Warren Buffets, or Steve Jobs, but rather your basic and traditional Entrepreneur who has worked, scrambled, and had the pure raw emotion to not give up. You don’t address the career man or woman in a way, so many of the panderers do on LinkedIn. Entrepreneurialism is an exception and only cut for a very small part of the working force. This doesn’t mean we are any more or less exceptional than those men and women who choose to climb the Corporate Ladder. You seem to understand that many if not most of the brightest in the Corporate world would fall flat on their face in our world, I wouldn’t hasten those individuals to risk everything they have, because some panderer is encouraging them to purchase their fail safe plan at becoming a successful Entrepreneur. There have always been the slickers out in the Business World, but Technology has allowed an exponential growth in that arena. Sometimes, I have to jump off, just because I can’t handle some individuals trying to sell $15,000 worth of Technology before they’ve sold their first product or service.
    I would like to be added to your mailing list in every area of the Media in which you participate. I’ve never chosen to follow any of the Influencers on LinkedIn, not for any particular reason. Watching some of them starting out 5 years ago with original heartfelt intent, completely re-do their formats, for what is obvious to anyone paying attention, strictly cash driven. One of the Top 5, I was in business with 20 years ago. He touts his experience and money making formula for success in an Industry in which he made little money, but identified an opportunity in Marketing cassette tapes, which made him a millionaire. Don’t get me wrong, if someone figures a way to make the most of an opportunity sitting in front of them, Kudo’s and hats off.
    My way of entrepreneurialism was a bit different. It was identifying opportunity with virtually no risk, and turning pennies into Gold Bars. Not just for myself, but the Companies I assisted in totally exceeding their growth potential. It’s interesting what being a student of Business in real time, boots on the ground can do for your negotiation skills. I either created or assisted other Companies in generating well over a Billion dollars in additional revenues. My financial Investment throughout my entire career was $3,270.00.
    Many points hit a cord with me tonight. At 62, I’m about to embark on the most important 2 Ventures of my life. I never worried about money through my life, though it followed me and provided a great foundation for raising my family. The worry was never their, because if it ran out, I’d just go make more. At 53, I was positioned to retire and figured I’d just let the money, run those 18 hour days. I grew up in Florida and new exactly how Irma was going to travel through the state, As with most things in my life, Irma would have appeared like a fly on a horses butt. Over the past 9 years, my life has involved 4 Irma’s rolling through one after the other. In the past, once I identified an opportunity, it was like a wild stallion tearing through until ultimately success. I never had a Business Plan, I was blessed with the ability to make the right decisions as I went. This time, I’m still unconcerned about the money, but through some of your writings tonight, maybe I’ll slow it down to a thorough breeds pace instead of a stallion. I’ve lived 5 life times but at 62, got to make sure and plan for the long race, not the short one. Look forward to your Podcast and any other offerings that keep me grounded. I lived by a philosophy of never looking back as it distracted from the future. Now I’ll look back to insure the outcome of the future.
    Understanding this little tangent was way off course, I appreciate your patience and wish you well in all your future endeavors.

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