The Journey from Employee to Entrepreneur – Five Mind Shifts that I need to work on

Thomas Carlyle said – Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you’ll be able to see farther. 

It has been a few months now since I handed over my employee badge and stepped on to the road less travelled of entrepreneurship. Still surviving and never been happier !

My last blog on this topic elicited a lot of interest and questions and I thought it would be a good idea to take stock of what I have seen so far and share what I have learnt on this journey. While I did know when I started out that my life is going to change in a BIG way, what I probably had not realized as much was that most of the change would have to be in my mindset – my thoughts and approach to situations. HBS professor Howard Stevenson in his book – Breakthrough Entrepreneurship – defined Entrepreneurship as “Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled.” And that certainly is a great definition in my case. As a micro-entrepreneur, my access to resources is certainly limited and I am learning how to be resourceful, identify the resources that I do have and find access to the resources that I don’t have.


So here are the five mind-shifts that I have realized I need to make and work on:

Resource #1 Time – Time is more valuable than Money:  It took me around a month to realize that  “time is money” is an advice best ignored as it is a definite trap. I had broken up my working hours into slots that I planned to sell. Then I realized the only way to make more money from my work is to make more time to work. And then days and nights, weekends and weekdays all started blurring into each other pretty soon till I was at a point where I lost track of all time. There are just not enough hours in the day for the work that I want to do and the kind of success that I want to achieve. Lesson learned – I need to learn the art of saying “NO” and also need to systemize my work to achieve scalability. Think about the outcome I want and then work backwards breaking it up into tasks and checklists and documenting all of it so that I create repeatable processes that clients and my team can use to deliver identical results every time–especially when I am not there. This is about moving from the “no one can do it better than me” mindset to “enabling and creating capabilities outside of me” so that I can free up my time and attention for the next level of challenges and opportunities.

Balancing Burning Desire with resourcefulness - entrepreneurship

Resource #2 Finances – I am my safety blanket: The luxury of a pay cheque at the end of the month is gone – so also is all the benefits and savings towards a pension that got automatically taken care of by my employer. So now the responsibility lies solely with me to ensure that I plan my finances in such a way that I am keeping aside some of the money for the future. Never being very good with personal finances, I have had to give considerable thought to this especially when one of the golden rules of entrepreneurship is to have a nest egg for living expenses and emergencies for at least one year before expanding the business or your lifestyle. This will need a lot of juggling and some level of discipline in me to achieve.

Resource #3 Ability and Skills – I am solely responsible for MY performance and growth: No more annual performance appraisals and goal setting by managers (that’s actually a relief as I have never believed in them anyway). And there is no option of learning on the job as you are expected to deliver from day one as a consultant. So, if I have to grow, it is unto me to take charge of my learning curve while balancing the two points above – time and finances.  I am reading up on goal setting – 30, 60, 90 days plans that will work well for me and my business. I have also created a goal poster for myself to help me visualize my success and urge me forward. I had never imagined that I would end up spending so much time on this area ultimately considering that this was an area I never gave much attention to as an employee.

Resource #4 Technology and Tools – I am my support function: The life-lines of calling up the IT department or admin to take care of my IT or admin needs is over. I have to build up my own support structure so that I don’t waste my precious time on tasks such as creating invoices, backing up data, setting up a LAN, etc. – all business critical functions but not my core competency. I need to concentrate on my strengths and take help on or delegate my weaknesses. Hence the need to investigate the right set of tools and technology to improve my productivity. I also have to look at functions that can be delegated or outsourced with ease so I am keeping a checklist of things and documenting the processes that I need to outsource in the near future instead of trying to do it all myself. That’s another change in thought process that is important in making a smooth transition from employee to entrepreneur.   

Resource #5 Being Visible I am my marketing and sales engine – and that means that I have to move from being an introvert to someone who doesn’t shy away from marketing and legitimately promoting myself – the biggest mind shift that I have to make. This is probably something that I should have been doing as an employee too but I always thought that my work would speak for itself (and it did to some extent). Recognizing my value myself and ensuring that others know it too, never under-selling and pushing back or forward as needed is critical for my business growth. Confidence comes from action is something that I now realize too well – so my to-do list is now almost full of actions that I need to take to make me and my business visible. Sacha Chua – a fellow entrepreneur sums up it up very well in her sketch note here.


So are you in the same boat? What shifts did you have to make in your entrepreneurship journey? What else do I need to re-learn? I would love to hear back and learn from your experiences.

Pic courtesy:


  1. Kavita Verma

    “……Need for moving from the “no one can do it better than me” mindset to “enabling and creating capabilities outside of me” so that I can free up my time and attention for the next level of challenges and opportunities…..” So TRUE and powerful delegation rule. Though we all know ‘Time is more valuable than Money’, It is mostly under rated statement until we explore and want to take full advantage of opportunities come in our way.

    Very well articulated blog.

    1. Suchitra Mishra

      Hello Kavita,
      Thanks for dropping by. Delegation is indeed a powerful thing – is a win-win for both parties most of the time. I do realise more and more that trying to do everything myself is helping no one really.
      Please keep reading and commenting – would love your feedback.

  2. Organic Yanthiram

    Suchitra, Your points are so so true. I want to add

    1) I would also say instead of 1 year, it is better you be ready with finances for 2 years. Make sure your insurances are proper for you/your family.
    2) Look at the food you eat and stay in top physical health
    3) Take Support and help from your spouse. It is the best thing to happen if you are lucky. If not carefully select and take help from well-wishers, friends and family as much as possible.

    BTW, yours is a great blog and headbangs like hell. I started to follow it
    I also think that there might not be necessarily only 5 key points for topics. There might be more. So if you have more, don’t stop with five.
    Love you and Admire you for your courage.

    Organic Yanthiram.

    1. Suchitra Mishra

      Hello (would love to know your name),

      Your points make a lot of sense – thanks for adding them here. I am glad that you enjoyed my blog enough to subscribe. I have read that the number of objects an average human can hold in working memory is 7 ± 2 (refer Wiki link for more on Miller’s law) :,_Plus_or_Minus_Two
      After 40 odd five points posts now, my mind has also started blanking out after I identify the five points I want to cover :)
      I love to read the comments then to see what I have missed out – so keep reading and keep commenting !


  3. Judy Gombita

    Second attempt:

    As you know, dear Suchitra, I’m incredibly supportive of your efforts as a fledgling entrepreneur, but I do worry that you, the perfectionist, are “living to work” instead of “working to live” at this stage. You must ensure that you build in time to enjoy life, instead of simply funding it. You know, people things.

    Very cool that you included Sacha Chua’s sketches in this post. I’ve sat next to her when she’s done some of them–talk about TOTAL CONCENTRATION to the task at hand. Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows, would approve.

    I’m so glad that despite your busy work schedule, you continue to find time to write. Also per Nicholas Carr, our brains appear to be the most engaged/active, in the form and pursuit of “original” writing (over reading or listening).

    Love you.

    1. Suchitra Mishra

      Hello Judy,

      So glad that you tried commenting again – really wait for your comments. Because as Nicholas Carr said in The Shallows (substitute book with blog) :

      “The bond between book reader and book writer has always been a tightly symbiotic one, a means of intellectual and artistic cross-fertilization. The words of the writer act as a catalyst in the mind of the reader, inspiring new insights, connections, and perceptions. And the very existence of the attentive, critical reader provides the spur for the writer’s work. It gives the author the confidence to explore new forms of expression, to blaze difficult and demanding paths of thought, to venture into uncharted and sometimes hazardous territory.”

      Thank you for giving me the confidence right from the start of my blogging journey. I do make time to enjoy my life as well – my blog is one of these avenues :) reading novels and gardening are a couple of others.

      Love and admiration,

  4. josephruizjr

    Hey Suchitra, Yep I am definitely in the same boat, been in it for over 11 years now and I have to say I am still learning. You were brave enough to chose it – I on the other hand let it chose me in sense the agency I was working for closed and going off on my own seemed the least risky thing to do.
    Now I am so happy I took this path. I am still keenly aware of the points you so eloquently stated. Judy gave some great advice. I have deliberately tried to develop project work rather than selling time for exactly the reasons you identified – mainly there is no leverage in time and unless you choose to work around the clock no way to increase income.
    I still owe you an hour so let me know when you are ready.
    Congratulations on taking the journey of a lifetime.

    1. Suchitra Mishra

      Hello Joe,

      So glad that you were pointed to my post by Judy (again !).

      “Now I am so happy I took this path” – this comment of yours gives me so much confidence.

      You have walked this path, have withstood all the ups and downs and can still look back and feel happy with your decision. A huge adrenaline shot of inspiration – thank you so much.
      Absolutely agree with you and Judy on the time part – that is the most difficult learning from my transition – I just don’t seem to have enough time for all the must-dos I want/need to do (my session with you is one of them that I both want and need and haven’t been able to prepare for yet)……

      My journey in part was triggered by twitter – through #Kaizenbiz chat where I met you, Judy, Elli .. I owe you all a lot in many ways !

      Thanks again,

  5. 3keyscoach


    I’m a bit late to the party. It’s exciting to witness your journey as you embrace your business.

    I could (and still do) relate to your challenges around marketing when one is an introvert. The confidence I feel now is so different than when i first started. There is an element of strange-ness that goes along with adopting each of those mindsets. And yet, they are remarkably freeing. It is not always an easy path. It IS a path that will teach you about yourself! I wish you every success and joy along the way!

    1. Suchitra Mishra

      This party is one whose gates are always open for friends like you, Elli – thanks for dropping by. I do remember our conversations on the need to legitimately promote ourselves and I have as a reference case study your success in this area in the recent past.
      I agree that it is not as easy path but I am having the time of my life :)


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