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I recently had a call with one of my best friends who moved to London to work for a large, multinational, public company. She is talented, successful and hardworking.
However, she called me in tears, upset and angry. “They’re restructuring the company; they’re downsizing. My role is about to end.”
I suggested that she apply for the same role at other companies, companies that might offer a number of benefits, from remote work to stock options. I explained that with her talent, potential and ideas, she could even be self-employed, using freelance services for various clients with contracts. She could chase her own version of success and happiness. And she could probably get more money and even more freedom.
“You don’t get it.” She said. “I don’t want to be nobody. I want to work for the leading companies in the world.”
Maybe I don’t understand it. But I also don’t understand why talented, hard-working individuals like her want to use their full potential in hierarchy and politics to gain prestige. Why do they allow their companies to fill them with stress, ruin their day, limit their career opportunities and define their worth?
Related: 7 Signs It’s Time to Switch from Employee to Entrepreneur
Don’t get me wrong; there are many great people who recognize their value and consciously choose to champion the employee mentality. That’s fine with them.
But if you’re tired of the corporate world, feel like it’s limiting your options in life, and wonder when the time is right to use your skills and make the switch, now might be it.
Here are seven signs you no longer have an employee mentality.
1. You are in love with the idea of working wherever and whenever you want
Flexible working hours and location independence started to become the norm after the 2020 pandemic. You proved to your employer that location doesn’t affect productivity and that a rigid 9-5 can burn you out.
And while many companies allow work-from-home and flexible work schedules, you still need to report your location and total work hours.
However, if you are thinking about business, complete flexibility of location and time is your dream; you know the only way to achieve this is to fully own your freedom by building your own income stream instead of waiting for a paycheck.
Related: Remote work is here to stay: Are you ready for a new lifestyle?
2. In meetings, you daydream rather than participate.
The average employer spends at least 3 hours a week in meetings, and 30% report spending more than 5 hours a week.
And instead of actively participating in that meeting, you think about how to avoid the next one so you can work on something instead. You know you could spend your time more productively than attending company meetings, but there’s nothing you can do about it.
A parent requested your presence; you must be there. So you see how you can avoid spending the wrong hours by wasting time while time is money.
Related: Your time is money, so stop wasting it
3. You absolutely despise titles and hierarchy.
If you have an employee mentality, you get so caught up in titles. You delude yourself with pride by showing off on Linkedin, gossiping about others’ abilities, and jealously spreading your best wishes to colleagues who claimed C titles first.
When you’re a business owner, you laugh at job titles. You want people to work with you, not for you. You also know that a title cannot determine your worth. Anyone can go on Linkedin and claim to be the CEO or CEO of a five person company.
What does that even mean?
Fancy titles in corporate jobs almost always mean less freedom, less time to work on your relationships with others, and less time to spend with your kids before they grow up.
C titles also mean less time to invest in self-care planning, wellness, and personal skills as you climb the corporate ladder, and less time to enjoy life.
4. You check out multiple side hustles after or before work.
With an employee mindset, you look at the clock at a quarter to six and know it’s time to turn off the laptop and get on with your day.
And while maintaining a work-life balance is critical, as a business owner you’re constantly testing concepts and trying side hustles to create multiple streams of income whenever possible. You are not dependent on one client, idea or salary, but are willing to test, take risks, fail and start again.
Related: 4 Creative Activities That Fight Inflation and Make Extra Cash
5) You are not afraid to build relationships from contacts.
As an employee, you are afraid of cold fields. You don’t like to be rejected or ignored because it usually happens. You don’t try to connect with others unless you’re selling something; in which case you’re dealing with courting as a transaction, not a relationship.
However, as an entrepreneur, you know that expanding your systems through networking, consulting, or simply interacting with others is one of the most important steps in building your personal or professional brand.
You don’t underestimate the power of community and networks; your goal is to make daily connections with one or two new people in your industry. Within one year, you’ll be amazed at your reach and the ways your network has proven to be helpful.
6. You know that creating passive income and making money online is 100% possible.
If you have an employee mentality, you don’t care about investing or building passive income online. Even if you care, it seems too good to be true and you don’t bother to build a diversified portfolio.
On the contrary, if you have an entrepreneurial bent, you are passionate about passive income ideas and turning your world upside down to generate income online.
The economy of the creator is neither too good to be a true script nor a quick fake scheme. It’s an accessible reality with no barriers to entry, and you as a business owner love the challenge. You know that if you spend x amount of time building the smallest passive income stream, you can get 10x the results in the near future.
They know they have to find what they love to create and work at it every day.
7) You constantly enrich your knowledge and skills to increase value.
You exchange your skills and experience for paid time as an employee. However, as an entrepreneur, you offer your skills, idea or business as a service that solves problems and provides value.
You don’t charge by the word, by the hour, or by the month. You charge according to the benefits and utility of your solutions. You answer questions and provide results. And because your knowledge is directly related to the value and results you deliver, you work to improve and enrich it every day.
Maybe you’re not 100% ready to escape the rat race. However, if any of the above signs are true, then you know it’s time to start taking charge of your career and following a path that you have complete control over.