How to Break Your Employee Mindset

I see this question a lot in various discussion forums and LinkedIn groups. A good number of employees-turned-entrepreneurs still aren’t able to let go of feeling like an employee. This can be dangerous because some potential clients may also be stuck in this mindset, and you have to be the one to bring them out of it. What you’ll read next are some key things to remember if you’re trying to get rid of this employee mindset.

Remember: a virtual assistant is an entrepreneur, a business owner. Business owners make their own decisions regarding their business. This goes for policies, hours of operation, which clients you’ll work with, and whatever else they prefer. Clients cannot and should not dictate when you work or how you manage your own business.

A virtual assistant is a business owner. Business owners make their own decisions.

There is no “clocking out” when you’re a virtual assistant. Yes, you can stop working at any time, but your business is your livelihood. As an employee, you go into work, do what’s needed, clock out, and go home to continue your life. When you’re an entrepreneur, you wake up and think of what needs to be done for your business to be productive. You work through the day making efforts to grow your business. You end your day assessing what went well and what could go better the next day. The cycle repeats. This is one of the many nuisances joys of working for yourself.

Your clients are just that: clients. They are not your bosses. I repeat: Clients are not your bosses. This is one of the most important things for virtual assistants, or any businessperson to remember. You are providing a service. And just like any other service, e.g. electricians, moving crews, etc., you are your own boss. The client is choosing to pay for your services, which means they are agreeing to work under your terms. Obviously instruction is taken with any contract. Otherwise, how would work get done? But there’s a difference between clients giving instruction and dictating your every move.

Your business should have its own goals. Everyone knows it’s good to have a 5-year plan for yourself but this is also true for your business. Your personal goals and business goals are likely going to be different but the important thing is that you have business goals at all. Never plan to remain stagnant. That’s no way to run a business.

Start getting used to being uncomfortable. Entrepreneurship is all about exploring, expanding, and trying new things. Your business can’t grow if you don’t push your own creative limits. Think outside the box. Reach out to new people. Attend local and national networking events. Make power moves to expand your business in all sorts of unique ways.

Get comfortable with uncomfortable.

This list could easily continue but these points are what resonate with me the most. If you’re just starting out, it could take you some time to really apply these thoughts to your life. But always keep in mind, and continue to make it clear to clients that you are in charge of your own business. And that’s exactly what you’re running: a business.


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