Ticking time bomb

The most LETHAL Small Business mindset?

The Lethal Mindset

The most lethal mindset any small business owner can cling to is the fallacy of being “self-employed”

John CounselBy John Counsel
CEO and Marketing Doctor
The Profit Clinic

There are two keys to personal control. Without both, you can never be truly in control of your situation.

The first key is accurate perspective. If you want to be in control, accurate perspective is indispensable. Get the perspective wrong and your control is illusory – it will ultimately fail, despite any early successes.

The second key is definition. We can never control what we can’t define. The dilemma for most people is that they can define very little. Ask them to define why something works, and they’ll almost invariably describe HOW it works. Not the same thing at all. One is about cause, the other is about effect.

There’s a connection between the two keys: inaccurate definitions create false perspectives.

Self-employed people are usually those who were employed by someone else first. So they’re trained to be good employees.

Self-employed people are usually very skilled at what they do… they make terrific employees. They’re usually ignorant and, therefore, incompetent when it comes to being business managers.

Self-employment encourages us to think like employees when faced with management decisions. (For example, “We’re not making enough money – we’d better get busier!”)

Self-employment encourages us to do the wrong things for the wrong reasons… the exact opposite of the Law of Success! (Example: Sales falling? Cut your prices and have a sale… work harder, for less money!)

Self-employed people simply swapped bosses. They still think of themselves as employees. They just find it easier to fool their new boss, who tends to indulge them.

Self-employed people have a major advantage over those who are employed by someone else – they have certainty. Whereas the person employed by someone else only suspects his or her boss is an incompetent ignoramus, the self-employed person can be absolutely certain!

But aren’t we just playing with words?


The term “self-employed” has a very specific meaning that you can’t change. Even if you interpret it to mean something different, almost everyone else thinks differently to you.

Get rid of the phrase from your vocabulary.

It’s the most dangerous mind-set you’ll ever have when it comes to small business. It will undermine you at critical decision points. No small business entrepreneur can afford to think like an employee.

Remember the difference between the two?

An employee trades a fixed amount of time for a fixed amount of money. If they want to increase their money, they have to increase the time they work, or the value of their time. Either way, it’s their BOSS who says yes or no, not them.

A small business entrepreneur goes into business to sever all connection between their time and their money. It’s the ONLY thing you can enjoy in business that you can’t enjoy in a job.

©1993 John Counsel. All rights reserved.


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