John D. Rockefeller, Sr. was a man who possessed incredible amounts of money, but he once remarked, “I know of nothing more despicable and pathetic than a man who devotes all the hours of the waking day to the making of money for money’s sake.” In other words, knowing how to spend time is a skill more valuable than knowing how to make, manage, invest, and spend money. Entrepreneurs who want to be truly successful have to devote themselves not only to the accumulation of financial assets but also to the mastery of their precious and irreplaceable time. Those who know how to manage, budget, and save time – rather than letting it manage them – will always find it easier to make extra cash. Ironically enough, many people are so busy earning a living that they do not have time to make a significant amount of money. Instead, they settle for an hourly or monthly wage.
Entire careers are spent helping enrich our bosses and employers. But while employees may succeed (and become very rich [note, I use the word rich and not wealthy]) in their particular roles, they often fail to live a full and rewarding life that enables one to enjoy time with family, friends, hobbies, and dreams. This is where the Entrepreneurial Ladder comes into play teaching us how and why we need to “Rise Above the Limitations of the Salaried Worker Mindset”. Not all business people have the perspective, philosophy, and ambition needed to work less while making just as much – or much more – money. An entrepreneurial spirit is required, and that will manifest to different degrees according to the individual. The individual at the bottom of the Entrepreneurial Ladder is essentially an entrepreneur that is still trapped in the body and mindset of an hourly wage employee. Conversely, the most advanced embodiment of entrepreneurship is that of an imaginative investor and creative explorer of all of life’s grand possibilities. In between these two extremes lies the bulging “middle class” of business owners. The good news is, anybody can rise above mediocrity to achieve their full potential.
Here are the five levels of entrepreneurship:
The Entrepreneurial Employee These individuals like to work within a framework of familiarity and security. They are primarily interested in financial subsistence instead of more profitable moneymaking ventures that might require new experiences beyond an established comfort zone. They make excellent and outstanding employees for a while, but eventually, they become bored and restless. Although they regard striking out on their own as an attractive proposition, they often fail. This is because they are risk-averse, conforming, and inclined to please others rather than acting for themselves or accepting dynamic leadership roles.
The Self-employed Entrepreneur These are the do-it-yourself entrepreneurs who are glad to be freed from the authority of a boss. However, in many cases, they have so much drive for autonomy and self-reliance that they lack the skills of managerial teambuilding, executive leadership, and administrative delegation. These shortcomings mean that they tend to work long hours alone, assume complete responsibility for every detail of the business, and avoid learning new methods or taking valuable help from others.
The Managerial Entrepreneur These entrepreneurs tend to focus on systematically growing their organisations, regardless of whether or not the growth makes good business sense. They often expand when it is not necessary, ignoring bottom line profits. They will often mismanage small, flexible companies into cumbersome and encumbered ones by expanding bureaucracy and overhead too much.
The Entrepreneurial Owner/Investor These are entrepreneurs focused not just on creating businesses, but also on marketing and selling them as owners and investors. They concentrate not on sales of products and services, but sales of whole companies, and they often succeed by franchising their companies. They understand that business ownership is only one short phase of their strategy. Selling companies for profit is their main focus, so they primarily view their businesses as investment vehicles that are meant to be bought and sold, not held for life.
The Visionary Entrepreneur The entrepreneur who rises to the level of enjoying many passive-income profit centers can dedicate as much time as he or she wants to personal pursuits. Those in this tier will typically view their work as an endeavour that involves turning dreams into reality. They devote themselves to thinking of how to make great ideas come true. With practically unlimited resources at their disposal, they can do things others can barely imagine. Each one of us can place ourselves within these five categories of entrepreneurship. We are also in a perfect position to advance higher up the ladder of entrepreneurial evolution.
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