AMY PORTERFIELD: “It's no wonder I didn't feel like an entrepreneur. What I felt was resentment, to be quite honest. I had absolutely no agency over what I was doing. And I created all this myself. I cannot blame anybody but the girl looking back at me in the mirror. Like, this was me. And even though I technically owned my own business, I still had the mindset of an employee.
“So what's the difference between the mindset of an employee and the mindset of an entrepreneur?”
INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-seven-figure business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, the budget, and the time to focus on growing my small-but-mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and a life you love, you're in the right place, friend. Let's get started.
AMY: I need to tell you about a podcast that I love. It's called Imperfect Action, it's hosted by Steph Taylor, and it's brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network. And it's a bite-sized online-marketing podcast for business owners. So Steph is going to answer all of your business-marketing questions and deep dives into all things online marketing, content marketing, social-media marketing, and marketing strategy for business owners. So if you love Online Marketing Made Easy, I think you're going to love Imperfect Action as well. I loved her recent episode about how to turn your audience into paying clients. Uh, yes, please. And she talks about how to use better call to actions, streamline your sales funnel, and so much more. You can listen to Imperfect Action wherever you get your podcasts.
Hey, there, friend. Welcome back to Online Marketing Made Easy.
I wanted to check in and see how you're doing. How are you feeling? I am coming off of a weekend at the lake. So, in the winter time, Hobie and I still go to the lake, just not as often, and our boat’s not in the water, so there's not a whole heck of a lot to do. But that's okay, because it was about twenty-six degrees yesterday morning. He lit this big fire on our porch that overlooks the water, and we sat out there in the morning, drank our coffee in front of a fire. But I'm a wimp, and so I lasted about twenty minutes, and then I told him it is too cold. It started to snow, and we're already in almost April, so I don't know what that was about. But it was really fun, and I enjoyed it. So I hope you had some downtime this weekend and you enjoyed yourself as well.
So today I'm talking about something that so many new business owners experience and that is feeling like you are still working for someone else even though you are working for yourself. So hear me out on this. Here's what it looks like. Maybe you're freelancing, and you charge your clients by the hour to do a service for them. Or maybe you are a coach or a consultant, and your days are filled with client appointments. So you've got the LLC, you’re making money, you’re setting up your schedule, you can work from wherever in the world you want, but your clients, as great as they might be, still have a grip on you. Sure, technically, you own your own business, but despite that, it still feels like you're working a full-time job for someone else. Can you relate?
If you're in this in-between stage of business ownership—for the record, it's very normal. Just want to say that right off the bat—and if you're starting to wonder whether or not you'll ever experience the freedom that entrepreneurship can bring and what so many of us talk about, then stay with me, my sweet friend, because that's what this episode is all about. I'm going to share my own experience in shifting from being self-employed with an employee mindset and essentially on call for my clients to becoming a true entrepreneur, where I have the creative, financial, and time freedom that I've always wanted. But it takes some mindset work to get there, and for those of you who are struggling with this, I thought we better talk about it.
Before I dive in, I have a quick question for you. Have you ever shared this podcast with a friend? If not, would you do me a favor? Grab the link, text it to a friend or two that you feel could use some support on their entrepreneurial journey. My mission is to use my podcast to help as many entrepreneurs as possible, and I'd be so grateful if you could help me with that.
Okay. So if you've been listening for a while, you know that many, many moons ago I left my final nine-to-five job. And when I made the decision to go out on my own, I started off with a service-based business, where I actually did social media for eight different clients.
Now, I’m not bashing this period in my professional life, by any means, because I believe for me it was essential in bridging the gap between being an employee and the business that I have today. So I feel like it absolutely served me to do service-based work before I started to do the work that I essentially do today. But I'll be honest, this time as a freelancer was really difficult because my clients had extremely unrealistic expectations and unmanageable deadlines. In fact, I was behaving just as I had in my full-time job: agreeing to do the impossible, pushing myself harder, and sacrificing my own happiness for theirs. That's how I was showing up. So It's no wonder I didn't feel like an entrepreneur. What I felt was resentment, to be quite honest. I had absolutely no agency over what I was doing. And I created all this myself. I cannot blame anybody but the girl looking back at me in the mirror. Like, this was me. And even though I technically owned my own business, I still had the mindset of an employee.
So what's the difference between the mindset of an employee and the mindset of an entrepreneur? Well, let me tell you. When you work for someone else, you ask for permission in all that you do because your boss or your client is running the show, not you. Do you want me to do this? Do you want me to do that? I'm going on vacation; is it okay with you that I'm going to be gone for this time? You get the point. Someone else is in the driver's seat, and you literally just feel like you're taking orders and executing.
And that's another thing, the executing. You are a doer. You are not a visionary. You are not calling the shots. You are a doer. All of us have been there, right? Whether it's in your nine-to-five job or, unfortunately, if it's spilled out into entrepreneurship, which it does for many of us—I'm raising my hand—but we've all been there.
Now, while you're in an employee mindset, you also don't have boundaries in place whatsoever, so you feel obligated to answer those text messages at midnight or respond to emails over the weekend. And because you're just getting started, you might also feel desperate to do every project or job that comes your way even if it's not a good fit—oh, I've been there as well—because you want to make money, and that desperate feeling is very normal in early entrepreneurship, so you'll take anything that comes your way because you want to make money. You might even continue working with the client even if they treat you terribly or don't pay what you know you're worth. How do I know this? Because I absolutely did it.
I've told this story many times, and I talk about it in my book Two Weeks Notice. It's called the tarmac story. I was on the tarmac—I won't give the whole story away; you can read it in my book—but basically, a client is screaming at me that I didn't do something that he wanted me to do. And here I am on the tarmac, trying to hear him, but it was so freaking loud, and all he is doing is screaming. And it was that moment where I'm like, “I'm done with this. Like, I am so tired of feeling like an employee to my clients, even though I've started my own business.” So the tarmac story was my turning point. I talk about it in the book.
But here's the thing. When you continue to work with someone that you don't want to work with anymore, when you continue to work with someone that's not paying you what you know your worth, you're operating with a scarcity mindset, which is the belief that there are limited opportunities, limited options, and limited resources. So you've got to stick with what you have even though it's not serving you.
Operating with a scarcity mindset is the quickest way to play small as an entrepreneur. And this was the case for me when I first got started. Plus, there were a few other ways that my scarcity mindset showed up. For one, I felt like I had to win. I was super competitive with others because my scarcity mindset led me to believe that there wasn't enough of the pie for all of us. So I look back ten, twelve years ago, and there's decisions that I made, there's ways that I navigated entrepreneurship that I'm not proud of: being super competitive, thinking that I had to take care of me before I was compassionate and giving to other people. I could see some of those things show up, and it breaks my heart because it's absolutely not who I am today. But I was so scared that I couldn't make it work that I led with that scarcity mindset.
I was also terrified that everything I had achieved wouldn’t last. Like, it could all be taken away from me at a moment's notice, hence why I was competitive, hence why I held on to things longer than I really needed to. I was so afraid that the success, the little success I had, would go away. So, like, I hustled harder. That desperation was showing its ugly head more. I just remember having all these really negative feelings for a few years in the beginning. Not always, not every day, but they would come up.
Also, I don't think I was as generous with my friends and my time or my peers because I was so hyper focused on making it work and proving myself. So I don't think I was a great friend back then. I don't think that—I know I didn't take care of myself, and I wasn't as present with my family as I wanted to be. All I felt like is I've got to prove myself. Like, when you are an employee, that doesn't come up as much. But when you go out on your own, now you've got something to prove. Now you're doing something that most people don't do or most people don't succeed in. So the stakes just got high. And unfortunately, I didn't really like how I was showing up in some situations because of that.
So I want to encourage you to notice how each and every one of those things that I just mentioned was me seeing limitations instead of opportunities. I saw the limitations. “This is going to go away. This isn't going to last. I need to push harder. I need to get mine.” Limitations instead of opportunities in abundance.
So if you can relate, trust me, I see you, and I know exactly what it feels like. I operated like this for many, many years. And then, that's when I hit my breaking point on the tarmac. And that's when my client, who got really mad at me, he said these words. He was mad about some webinar thing, and he said, “Amy, this will never happen again.” And in that moment, I thought, “You got that right. I am never getting myself into this situation again.” And I didn’t, because not only did I make the decision to end that client relationship, but that was the moment when I started to change my mindset. That's when I started to unboss myself, making that mental shift from being an employee to an entrepreneur.
Now, if you've read my book, you know that my unbossing took many, many years, and although I thought I was unbossed, it kind of reared its ugly head in a partnership, that I talk about in the book, that didn't go so well. So I had many years of trying to unboss myself. But I will tell you this right now: once you do that, once you have the mindset that you can lead yourself, you don't need to ask for permission, you don't need to ask for insight, you don't need to get everybody's opinion before you do anything, and you can also set boundaries, that's when you really step into entrepreneurship.
And I know what you might be thinking: “That sounds great, Amy. I want to unboss myself, but I don't even know what to do or how to do it.” And the way you do it is you get really clear on who you serve and how you serve them. So, first, you just get really clear on this business you're creating. Who do you serve, and how you serve them? And then, you also start to take action. The way you unboss yourself, it's action by action, step by step, decision by decision. When you're not relying on everybody else; you're not asking for permission. You no longer say yes to everything out of fear or desperation, which is what I was doing, and instead you only take on the opportunities that serve you and your business goals. You set clear boundaries with your clients and your customers and everyone you work with. And most importantly—this is the thing that took me a long time to understand—you have to start living with an abundance mindset instead of a scarcity mindset.
It's really easy for all of us to say, “We want everyone to win. We want everyone to have the opportunities that we have, and we support everyone.” Like, women talk about women supporting women. And it's easy to say, but when you feel like what you've done, your success will be taken away; when you feel like maybe it's fleeting; like maybe you just got lucky, that was a fluke; you are not going to live in abundance mindset. And that's what I did. I lived in scarcity mindset and wasn't who I am today for many, many years.
So when you have an abundance mindset, you stop focusing on what you don't have, and you become grateful for what you do. You start operating with the belief that there's enough money and enough success to go around. And because of that, you start seeing all the opportunities in front of you. I have to repeat that. If you're multitasking, come back to me. This one's important. To unboss yourself and to live in more abundance, you start operating with the belief that there's enough money and enough success to go around. And because of that, you start seeing all of the opportunities in front of you.
When I stepped into an abundance mindset, I became much more generous with my time and with my money. And I stopped boxing myself into this narrow view of business ownership and opened my mind up to everything that could be. And when I realized that—that it’s not just about me—and what I wanted more than anything was to help other people, that totally changed my trajectory.
There's a place in my story of the last fourteen years, where if you watched really closely, you see me come into my own. It took many, many years to do so, but I remember it like it was yesterday. But this transformation absolutely didn't happen overnight. It's not, like, one tiny moment; it was over time. Like anything, it's a process. But it's well worth it because today I own my business, and my business absolutely doesn't own me. That means that I call all the shots. And that, my sweet friend, is the difference between being self-employed with an employee mindset versus being an entrepreneur.
So if you've made the leap from working a full-time job for someone else and now you're working for yourself, then first of all, you should be proud of yourself because that is a huge step. But if you're feeling like you're not quite an entrepreneur yet, that's normal. And I challenge you, all you have to do, my friend—I mean, easier said than done, I know—but all you have to do is shift your thinking. When you do, you'll start to live your life and run your business exactly how you want to and fully step into your own as an entrepreneur.
So on that note, here's a little homework. If you own your own business but don't fully feel like an entrepreneur yet, then I want you to open up your notebook and write down all the ways that you are operating with an employee mindset. This is a great journal prompt. How are you operating with an employee mindset? Maybe you take on every gig that comes your way. Or you feel like you need to respond to client emails outside of your established work hours.
And I'll tell you, this doesn't fully ever go away 100 precent. Sometimes I see it come back a little bit. Like, recently—I don't know if this is employee mindset, but I just want to share something with you—I recently said yes to a Saturday-morning interview.
Now, one thing I learned from interviews about my book, because it was about my book, is that when you go, like, on a news show, it's three minutes, three to five minutes max. I don't know how you add value in three to five minutes, and I'm kind of convinced you don't. But I say yes to a lot of these things because they tend to get shared across a lot of platforms.
But I was on a morning news show on Saturday morning, but I was at the lake, and I was supposed to be being present with Hobie. And I had said yes to it weeks ago, so I had to do it. So I had to get up. I had to set my alarm on a Saturday morning. I know, poor me. I know it sounds like I'm being whiny, but my point being is I had to get up, hair, makeup, all that, while Hobie’s, like, sitting in front of the fire. And for three minutes I had to do this interview. But it usually takes twenty to thirty minutes by the time you get on. They do sound check, dah, dah, dah. So, like, twenty or thirty minutes later, I was done, which isn't a big deal. But where are my boundaries? Why am I saying yes to stuff on the weekends? And I know that sometimes there's exceptions, but that wasn't necessary, but I did it because I sometimes am fearful of saying no when it's around important things like my book. So I, too, have to check myself. And I think that came from a lack of abundance, of saying yes to a Saturday morning interview when I had promised to be fully present with Hobie. So it still sometimes shows up, but I can usually catch it pretty fast and get back on track.
So let's get back to your journaling. So where are you showing up with an employee mindset? Whatever it is, I want you to write it down, and then start to think of ways you can shift those actions in your mindset into that of an entrepreneurial mindset.
And by the way, if you haven't left your nine-to-five job yet and you want a step-by-step roadmap on how to find the courage to quit your job, make more money, work where you want, and change the world, then check out my book Two Weeks Notice at twoweeksnoticebook.com.
All right. So I hope you love this Shorty episode. I hope you found it valuable. I appreciate you hanging out with me. And if you'd be so kind, if you haven't yet, please leave a review for the podcast. It's a way that gets me organically out to more and more people that need a show like this that will help them stay in the game and build the business they love.
So thanks so much for tuning in. I cannot wait to see you on Thursday for more entrepreneurial goodness, same time, same place. Bye for now.
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