The Top 10 Distinctions Between Entrepreneurs and Employees – Keith Cameron Smith

The Top 10 Distinctions Between Entrepreneurs and Employees


A true entrepreneur adds value to the world and in doing so creates a successful business.

I believe that if you want to impress someone you tell them of your successes, but if you want to impact someone you tell them of your failures.

10:  Entrepreneurs educate themselves more than they entertain themselves.  Employees entertain themselves more than they educate themselves.

Why so many young men and women in the traditional school system have an idea of what they want to be when they are young, but they don’t know ten years later?  I believe the answer is that they have been conditioned to follow orders.  After years of being told what to do, they are asked what they would like to do and they just don’t know.  And you can’t blame them.  Since many of them are not clear on what they want to do, they go to college. They invest years of their time and a lot of money then end up not using their college education and end up in a field that has nothing to do with their schooling. Some may even say they have wasted a lot of time and money by going to college.

Limit your entertainment.  Most of the entertainment in our world is foolishness.  While some can be fun and a momentary release from the pressures of life, much of the entertainment people watch and listen to can cause some of the stress they are experiencing.  Whatever you are consistently putting into your mind is conditioning you for the future you will live.

One of the skills of great entrepreneurs is the ability to network and build relationships… Who do you want to connect with?  How much do you know about their interests?  Educating yourself about the interests of someone you want to build a relationship with is critical.  If there is no common ground, then chances are you won’t build a relationship.

Leadership is influence.  Successful Entrepreneurs are those who have learned how to influence others… You must study and practice the principles of leadership if you want to become a successful entrepreneur.

Inspiration:  True leadership starts with self-leadership.  If you can’t keep yourself inspired, then you can’t inspire others very well.  

Encouragement:  Inspiration usually helps people get started, whereas encouragement usually helps people keep going.

Being discouraged simply means you have lost your focus or changed your focus from what is truly important to you.


9:  Entrepreneurs have en empowering perspective of failure.  Employees see failure as bad.

Never take failure personally… Failure is a verb, not a noun.  Failure is just something you do, it is not something you are.


8:  Entrepreneurs are solution finders.  Employees are problem solvers.

Employees tend to be problem solvers.  When a problem arises that was not covered in their training, they don’t believe it’s their responsibility to fix it.  Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, know that when a problem arises it’s their responsibility to find a solution so they don’t have to waste time and money with it in the future.

Unsuccessful employees will use the excuse that it’s “not my problem” when they don’t know how to solve it, or maybe they are just unwilling to put forth the effort necessary to find a solution.  Successful entrepreneurs operate from a mindset that says “Even though I don’t know how to solve this problem right now, I can figure it out, and I will find a solution no matter how long it takes or how hard it is”.

Success and failure in almost any endeavour can be tracked back to your daily routine.  Most people think that habits are only about what they do, but the things you don’t do are just as important.  In fact a very simple formula for success is to do more of the things that get you closer to your goals and less of the things that keep you from them.

Most professional problems are the result of system failure not people failure.  SYSTEM:  Save Yourself Stress Time Energy and Money.  To find solutions for problems that keep coming over and over you must create systems.
7:  Entrepreneurs know a little about a lot.  Employees know a lot about a little.

6: Entrepreneurs give and receive praise and correction.  Employees don’t praise and try to avoid correction.

5:  Entrepreneurs say “The buck stops here”.  Employees say “It’s not my fault”.

4:  Entrepreneurs build wealth.   Employees make money.

Time is the most valuable asset you have, it is irreplaceable.  With that knowledge, consider for a moment how much time you exchange for money.  Are you exchanging it wisely?  We all have heard “ time is money “, a deeper revelation is that time is life, and when we waste time we waste our lives.

Because of the relationship between time and life it is important to value money.  Make it a priority to learn to manage your money, because your money represents a portion of your life.  When you spend your money on junk, you are, in a very real sense wasting part of your life.

If you don’t value money then you are not likely to have any.  We don’t accumulate things we don’t value. What if I told my wife she is not important to me?  What if I told my kids they are not important to me?  Would they continue to hang around me? Of course not.  Well, the same is true about your money.

“Son, if you want to be great then you must walk side by side and hand in hand with great people.  If you want to be happy, then be around happy people.  If you want to be a drunk, then hang around drunks.  If you want to be rich, then find out what the poor people do and don’t do that”.

3:  Entrepreneurs fly with eagles.   Employees peck around with chickens.

2:  Entrepreneurs look into the future.  Employees look into the past.

Few people understand the power of vision, and that is why most people are employees, not entrepreneurs.  Very little of value happens without vision.  A good marriage doesn’t just happen without a vision to make it happen.  Good heath doesn’t just happen without a vision to make it happen.  Financial freedom doesn’t just happen without a vision to make it happen.  Vision make things happen.  All great entrepreneurs have vision.  Vision is power, it attracts wisdom.

Life is too short to work on a job you hate.

The surest way to waste your life is to live without a vision.  The surest way to enjoy your life is to create a vision that inspires you, stay focused on it, and run with it.  Chose where you want to go, take consistent steps in that direction, and work towards it relentlessly.  Your future can be something you create or something you hate.  Look to the future through the eyes of faith and see where you want to be five, ten, twenty, forty years from now.

1:  Entrepreneurs take risks because of faith.  Employees play it safe because of fear.

FEAR:  False Evidence Appearing Real.

In my Wisdom Creates Freedom workshop, I teach participants to use a powerful question do deal with fear.  When faced with one of your fears ask yourself “ What do I believe to be true that is not true? ”.  As simple as it may sound it works.

A simple way to increase your faith:  Celebrate your successes.  We have all had successes, and if you look, you will find them throughout your life.  Think back to times where you were successful and celebrate them.