Robert Kiyosaki teaching the cash flow quadrant philosophy

Three Contrasts Between the Entrepreneur and Employee Mindset

Which mindset will you choose?

You often hear people say that rich people are greedy. To that I say, what kind of rich people do you mean?

Most of the entrepreneurs I know are some of the most generous people I know. Not only do they give a lot of their time and money away, but they’ve also built great businesses and products that enrich the lives of people around them.

On the other hand, there is another kind of “rich” person—the high-paid employee. While they may be charitable in their personal life, the high-paid employee can often be very greedy. They will always want more, even when the business is not doing well.

A great example of this is the recent news about Roger Goodell, the Commissioner of the NFL. Goodell is currently negotiating a contract extension with the NFL, and he is asking for a reported $49.5 million a year, lifetime use of a private jet, and lifetime health insurance for his family. He currently makes about $30 million.

The contract negotiation had one anonymous NFL owner saying, “…Several owners in this league who don’t make $40 million a year. That number for Roger just seems too much. It’s offensive. It’s unseemly.”

For those who may not be familiar, until recently, the NFL was a non-profit organization with tax-exempt status. And Roger Goodell is a life-long employee for the organization; having worked his way up from intern to what many people feel is the most-powerful man in sports.

NFL woes

Currently, the league is struggling. Ratings are down. As Michael McCarthy reports:

The league’s average TV audience through Week 5 of the 2017 season dropped 7 percent vs. the same period of the 2016 season, according to Nielsen data obtained by Sporting News. Worse for the league, the average game audiences are down 18 percent compared to the first five weeks of the 2015 season.

The NFL’s average TV audience (including Sunday afternoon, Sunday night, Monday night and Thursday night games) slid to 15.156 million viewers through Week 5 of the 2017 season. That’s down 7.42 percent from an average of 16.371 million viewers through the same period of the 2016 season, and 18 percent down from the average of 18.438 million viewers through the first five weeks of the 2015 season.

Additionally, the protests of the national anthem, a host of other scandals, and continued concerns about player head injuries are all dragging the league down.

Call me crazy, but now would not be the time to ask for a 20-million-dollar raise. Yet, that’s what Goodell is doing. That is greedy.

All of this is a good reason to contrast three mindsets of employee versus entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs take ownership; employees take from ownership

One of the things I love about successful entrepreneurs is that they put their businesses first. If the business is struggling or not making money, they don’t make money and they are responsible for fixing it. They have to take ownership.

Employees, on the other hand, don’t have to make the sacrifices that owners do in that regard. In fact, many of them, like Roger Goodell, want more money even when the business is struggling. If they don’t get their raise, they move on to another company.

Entrepreneurs create stability; employees demand stability

Starting a business can be a rocky endeavor, with a lot of risk and instability. Yet, successful entrepreneurs are able to take chaos and make it into a thriving business that provides stability for many working families.

Employees greatly fear instability and demand stability from their employers. One of the reasons employees want more and more from entrepreneurs, even when the business isn’t doing well, is because they think money provides stability. Unfortunately, it doesn’t, as many riches to rags stories can attest to.

The reality is that being an employee is highly risky. You have no control and you pay the highest in taxes. And if the business goes bad, you’re the first to be laid off—especially if you’re asking for more money at the time.

Entrepreneurs look at results; employees look at tenure

When things go wrong, a successful entrepreneur is the first to raise her hand and admit it was her fault. And when it comes to rewarding talent, it is based on results not effort or tenure.

Conversely, employees think that effort or tenure should be rewarded. This is why someone like Goodell, who has spent his entire life working for the NFL, can feel comfortable asking for so much money.

At the end of the day, tenure and effort are worthless unless you have results. Entrepreneurs understand this because if there are no results, they have to close the business. They can’t tell their investors they tried hard or lean on the fact they’ve been open for business for twenty years.

Which mindset do you want?

At the end of the day this is not a knock on employees. I have many people who work for me. They are wonderful people, but they think very differently than I do. That’s OK. It’s just not OK for me to think the way they do. I’m not wired that way.

Sometimes, people choose one path but change later. These become employees that operate like entrepreneurs in your organization. They are your most valuable employees—and usually the ones who leave pretty quickly, often to start their own thing—as happened to me recently. While it is no fun to lose a great employee, it is a lot of fun to see him become an entrepreneur. His mindset changed. In the process he brought more value to my organization, and later to his own life.

Each and every one of us must at some point decide what path we will follow—that of the entrepreneur or that of the employee. Which will you choose?

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