Entrepreneur vs CEO Mindset

Key Takeaways


When it comes business revenue, CEO’s think about salaries, budgets, and profit not just paying self.

CEOs start with a clear vision of their business, then comes up with a plan to get there.

CEOs start delegating as soon as possible so they can focus on higher level tasks that grow the business.

Quick Overview

It is important for individuals working for themselves to adopt a CEO mindset, beyond the common labels like freelancers or contractors. The distinction lies in how one views their role and business. Freelancers might enjoy flexibility but lack commitment to long-term projects, while CEOs oversee operations, set goals, and focus on business growth. To cultivate a CEO mindset, consider three key aspects:

  1. Financial Management: CEOs prioritize profitability, separating personal income from business earnings. This involves maintaining a business account, paying a reasonable wage, and seeking solutions to enhance revenue, such as renegotiating contracts or finding more clients.
  2. Clear Vision: CEOs possess a clear vision for their business, aligning decisions with their initial goals. Reflect on why you started the business, identify your target audience, and making decisions that align with your vision.
  3. Delegation: CEOs understand the value of their time and delegate tasks to focus on business growth. While CEOs may still work in the business, delegating routine tasks and creating systems that others can manage effectively is how CEOs scale their businesses.

A CEO mindset can be transformative, potentially differentiating between a solo contractor earning $150,000 and a $1 million company that hires contractors, aligning with the individual’s vision for their business.

There are so many names for individuals who work for themselves but entrepreneur has become popular and all-encompassing. This name includes everyone from contractors/freelancers to businesses categorized as Sole Proprietors/LLCs. Whatever you call yourself doesn’t matter but your mindset does. There can be a distinct difference between a contractor/freelancer mindset and a CEO mindset.

Think about it. How do you view a freelancer? It may be someone who gets to pick and choose what they work on but they aren’t committed to a long-term project. They may not have the most stable income but they are masters of their time and fate. You may have a similar view of contractors. Maybe they have a company they work for but they get to stop whenever they decide (even if there are consequences) and move on to another project if they desire. Or they can stay with a company that provides consistent income and ride it out as long as possible.

Now, what about a CEO? When I think of a CEO, the first thing I think of is someone who overseas the whole operation. Sure, they may be the person actually delivering the services or creating the product but they are also the ones making sure that the business is growing and moving toward their vision. They are the ones who set goals and then put systems in place to meet those goals. Even when CEOs have met the goals they have set (i.e. getting 50 inquiries a week or 20 paid clients a week), they are still looking for ways to make the processes more efficient or grow the business to accommodate demand. CEOs are often taking a bird’s eye view of the business and not just working with their heads down.

Now think of your business. Are you just doing the work and collecting a pay check? Does your business have clear systems and processes to get you where you need to go? Do you even have a clear vision of where you want to go? If you don’t know exactly where you want to go it is hard to make a plan to get there, let alone implement it. Changing your mindset is the 1st step. There are 3 things that come to mind when thinking about CEO mindset.

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  • Where does the money go? CEOs think about things like salaries, budgets, and profit. CEOs want profitable businesses. It is not just about you making money to pay your bills or travel. Yes, CEOs want to get paid well but their first priority must be having a profitable business. There are many ways to do this but here are some quick tips. If you don’t have a business bank account you should at least have a separate business account where all of your income from the business goes. From that account you will pay yourself a wage. At no point should you be paying yourself 100% of the business income. What successful business owners do you know whose only expense is their salary? None. They know that the business has other expenses and they need to make sure the business is profitable. But what if my current income doesn’t cover my life if I don’t take 100%? How would a CEO answer this question? Find solutions! Do you need to renegotiate your contract rates? Do you need to find more clients? Do you even know how much revenue you need to pay yourself a livable wage and have a profitable business? Maybe it is time to hire? What do you need to do to get your business revenue where it needs to be? That is thinking like a CEO.
  • Another CEO trait is having a clear vision for the business. We often get stuck where we are but don’t take the time to focus on where we want to be. Why did you start this business in the first place? Who did you want to help? What does the ideal version of your business look like? When you have a clear vision, you start making decisions or looking for clients or contracts who align with this vision. You start creating services that help the clients you love to work with. Get clear on your vision and start making decisions that get you one step closer to your vision.
  • Lastly, CEOs delegate tasks. They know their time is better spent growing the business, finding the right opportunities, and finding the talented people to partner with or hire to fulfill their business vision. Again, this does not mean CEOs don’t work in the business. Yes, as a CEO you may be the creative force or the person delivering the services but as soon as you can, hire someone else to check your emails or mail off packages. Get someone to manage your social media or do consultations with new clients. Once you create a system to do certain parts of your business, teach someone else to do it. Start passing off tasks that can be done well by someone else and focus your talents on building and scaling the business based on your vision.

CEO mindset could be the difference between bringing home $150,000 contracting for a company and being the $1 Million company who hires contractors. Which one fits the vision you have for your business?

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