Are you an Employee or Entrepreneur?

In this challenging economy, the terms ‘downsizing’ and ‘outsourcing’ have become a regular part of the workplace vocabulary, and many employees are obliged to look for entrepreneurial ventures to replace their job income. As more students leave the classroom to join the workforce, they find that there are few ready-made jobs awaiting them, so creating a self-generated income source might be their only option.


I believe that practically everyone has the ability to improve their finances by utilising their talents and taking advantage of opportunities, and I always encourage persons to use their creativity to earn part-time income. However, becoming a full-time entrepreneur involves much more than just acting on an idea and sourcing funds to start a business.


It can be debated whether entrepreneurs are born with a natural business instinct, or if persons can be taught to become entrepreneurial. While I believe that there is a little bit of both nature and nurture in each successful business person, there are certain personalities and mindsets that are non-negotiable in order for an entrepreneur to succeed.


At a recent trade exposition, I met two highly creative persons who underlined the vast differences between a true entrepreneur and a dedicated employee. The first, a thirteen year-old high school student, told me of his forays into supplying his friends with high-end phones and computers. By the time we had finished speaking, he had identified the solution for a particular technology need that I had expressed, and had cleverly arranged for my business to source the application.

The other person, a talented marketer, recounted his initiation into business after 15 years of being a star employee. The venture collapsed after a short time and he had sworn off pursuing any more entrepreneurial ideas. He was now in search of the ideal job which would allow him to regain the big spending budgets, status and lifestyle of his past.


Based on the characteristics and mindsets that were revealed in our conversations, it was clear that while they would both be very successful, one would definitely become an entrepreneur and the other should remain employed.

Let’s look at some traits and thoughts that can help you to determine if you are suited for the rigours of entrepreneurship, or if you would be better off sticking to your day job:


Security vs Freedom

While many persons may express discontentment with their jobs, most employees value the perceived security that comes with a regular pay cheque. The thought of not having a fixed salary would leave them worried and despondent. On the other hand, entrepreneurs place higher value on the freedom that comes from being their own bosses. The ability to be masters of their own destiny an irresistible attraction that cannot be bettered by a mere pay slip.


Guarantees vs Risk

Salary perks and health benefits are assurances that are highly desired by most employees. Although they might have to take calculated risks in the course of their jobs, they are more comfortable with these decisions as the financial loss would not be their own. defines an entrepreneur as “a person who organises and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.” Entrepreneurs willingly accept risk and the possibility of loss as the price they pay for success.


Routine vs Change

There is something very comfortable in routine and predictability for most employees. There is usually a lot of resistance from staff members whenever an organisation is going through change, as it brings uncertainty. Entrepreneurs behave in the opposite way, as they are always looking to shake things up and change around the status quo. In fact, many entrepreneurs end up attempting several business projects in their lifetime, as they are always pursuing ‘the next big idea.’

Dependence vs Self-reliance

Employees like to know that they can depend on their organisations to provide for them. Most employees would prefer if someone in charge made the big decisions and outlined clear paths for their performance. However, the ability to depend on their own ingenuity and initiative is an important survival trait for entrepreneurs. They always trust that their decisions and actions will prove right in the end.

Structure vs Innovation

Organised environments and clarity of direction are important for the wellbeing of most employees. If they lack the facilities to exercise their skills in a functional manner, they would flounder like fish out of water. On the other hand, entrepreneurs can effectively work in less than ideal conditions, as they can use their innovation to create new structures and operating procedures to make their visions become reality.

We need both dedicated employees and adventurous entrepreneurs to have successful workplaces. Without employees, entrepreneurs would not be able to actualise their dreams; without entrepreneurs, there would be no jobs!


Find out if you are naturally suited for the entrepreneurial world by taking this personality test at


About the Author
Cherryl Hanson Simpson is a financial consultant and coach, and the founder of Financially S.M.A.R.T. Services, Jamaica’s number one source for practical, down-to-earth and independent answers for all questions relating to personal finance. Cherryl is currently writing her first book, The 3 Ms of Money.  Financially S.M.A.R.T. Services is Jamaica’s number one source for practical, down-to-earth and independent answers for all questions relating to personal finance. Get more smart money advice at and and .

Copyright © 2010 Cherryl Hanson Simpson. No reproduction without written consent.