11/14/2014 04:21 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Are You an Entrepreneur or Employee?


I think there comes a time in every entrepreneur's career where we all ask ourselves: "what do I really want out of this?"

Do I simply want to go to a job every day?

A job that's all mine, where I make the rules, the hours etc or I delude myself into thinking I do.

The problem with this is that this job becomes totally reliant upon you being there, doing the work. There are no sick days, holiday leave, weekends away. Well not at the beginning anyway.

This job ends up being the lowest paid job you've ever had because of the sheer number of hours you put in. Instead of your job freeing you it ends up enslaving you. And you essentially become an employee of your own business - not the entrepreneur who once started it.

Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs I meet end up in this situation. I don't know if that's what they wanted all along - or (most likely) - they got stuck along the way and don't know how to get out.

A few years back I read a report; which said that over 400,000 businesses in the U.S alone fail each year (Source: "E-myth Revisited") because owners just don't know how to take their businesses from infancy to maturity.

In the "E-Myth Revisited" Michael Gerber writes, "The work of the Entrepreneur is to wonder, to imagine, to dream..."

That means if we want to be true entrepreneurs and not just underpaid, overworked, and unsatisfied employees in our own businesses, we have to constantly be thinking about ways to improve and tweak and progress our business and our processes.

According to Gerber, our jobs as entrepreneurs (if that's what you really want to be) is "to educate {ourselves} sufficiently so that, as {our} business grows, the business's foundation and structure can handle the weight."

How can we make something different and special? How do we become in our industries what Starbucks is to coffee or what McDonalds is to fast food? As business owners/entrepreneurs THIS is where our focus needs to be if we don't just want to be slaves to our businesses.

To gain a deeper inside into this topic I recently caught up with Tim Farr, founder of Midpoint Wealth. A company that specialises in helping entrepreneur's put the right systems, processes and strategies in place to move from being an employee of their own business to a shareholder of multiple businesses.

"After working with 100's of business owners over the past couple of years I've come to realize that those who end up being successful in business treat their company as an investment and have mastered entrepreneurship by overcoming the top 3 most common challenges when it comes to business ownership: Time, Team & Money.

An entrepreneur knows that to be successful it's never about building businesses; instead building people who build the business for you. On the other hand employees are usually too busy being the engine of their own business and are limited by their own resources and capabilities." Tim Farr.

Many small business owners decide to go in to business for themselves, to create time and financial freedom, to be the captain of their own ship, instead of being at the mercy of an employer.

However, before they know it, there drowning in a sea of administration, filling in when employees go on holidays themselves and staying up till the wee hours just to keep up with your every-growing "to do" list.

Just because you are self-employed and own a business, doesn't make you an entrepreneur. The difference between an entrepreneur and a business owner is the mindset of how you go about building your business.

Entrepreneurship is an art. It takes practice and requires a lot of knowledge in numerous areas of business. It also takes a certain mind set, which unfortunately, many business owners never seem to learn.

Now it doesn't matter whether you currently recognize yourself as an employee or entrepreneur, the main thing to consider here is where you ideally want to be? And what you need to do in order to get there?

If you reading this article and want clarity on whether you're an employee or entrepreneur below Tim shares the three various stages required in order for you to become a shareholder of multiple businesses rather then being self-employed.

1) Employee: When you're an employee of your business your success is reliant on and limited by your skills and expertise.Going from one project to another, buried in operations and unable to step back from the business without negatively impacting revenue and profits.

2) Director: When you reach the director level you have ultimately moved from working 'IN" the business to working 'ON' the business. Now it's a matter of getting crystal clear on the vision, focussing on financial performance, building a work culture which fosters high performing teams and creating the systems necessary to scale through sales and marketing.

3) Entrepreneur (Shareholder): When you reach the shareholder stage you look to your business as an investment that can now provide true financial and time freedom. Like any investment it is critical to understand want your business asset is worth and whether the "return" is sufficient given the risk involved.

Every strategic or operational improvement project should be measured to ensure is provides real return on investment. Smart entrepreneurs know that owning a smaller part of a larger business is much better then owning 100% of a much smaller investment!

To accelerate this process, seek to establish an advisory board to reduce the costs associated in having to learn through trial and error.