Are You Shooting for the Moon or Shooting Yourself in the Foot?

Business owners: Are you shooting for the moon?Thanks to guest blogger, Andrea Feinberg

Ready to start your own business after years as an employee?

Before you can craft the practical decisions, relationships, policies and procedures necessary to build your successful business, your mindset needs to shift to your role as a leader and not be guided by your past success as an employee.

Think your success as an employee will get you off the launching pad as an owner? Not true. Sometimes, the success you enjoyed as an employee may be a predictor of failure as a business owner. While you’re shooting for the moon, you want to make sure you don’t shoot yourself in the foot instead.

Here are 5 fundamental mind shifts you can make to help distinguish your path as a successful business owner:

1. Success and productivity are assessed from different perspectives when you’re an owner.

For example, as an employee, you:

• Typically have a shorter-term view of a project’s duration than is necessary for a leader or owner.
• Are often implementing what others have forecast.

As a business owner it’s:

• Up to you to stay aware of likely future changes and innovations that will affect your industry and business.
• Possible someone else will implement your crafted, appropriate response even before anyone sees that forecasted shift coming.

As the leader, your event horizon may well be beyond the foreseeable future; success depends more on your insight and ability to predict what’s going to happen in your business environment rather than respond to a change that has already occurred (i.e. what you more typically did as an employee).

2. As an employee, you often want to ‘look busy’ and you’ll hope the boss equates that with ‘being productive.’

So, how do you interpret that? Talking, writing, moving, scrolling, gesturing, dialing, even mumbling; all these physical things may give the appearance that you’re engaged in some worthwhile activity. And that last word – ‘activity’ – is the real problem once you shift to being a entrepreneurial business owner.

You see, as a biz owner, your most important function includes no physical activity at all. What you need to do more than anything else is sit still and think, envision, dream, strategize, imagine, plan; this is the work of a capable, forward-thinking, big picture-creating leader.

However, your past training as an employee – that desire to look busy – may have left you uncomfortable with sitting still, not talking and perhaps giving the appearance of doing nothing at all. Yet that’s the most critical function you, as a leader, have now: designing your business for all its tomorrows.

3. The next mental shift starts as a riddle: How can social training to excel in one arena prevent your leadership skills from taking hold?

Well, the answer is this: too often you feel compelled to help those who struggle with a task you know you can complete in a flash. Just as I rarely see a new business owner who is comfortable sitting still, I frequently see owners who have a strong need to have a hand in every element of their business and maintain control.

It’s not a stretch to see why: often your business represents the enormous risk of having left a predictable job and income, a commitment of personal funds and your family’s future. As a result, you, the owner, feel compelled to oversee every process or slip of paper. Or, you may feel a need to help those who aren’t as quick or conceptual as you are.

For women, the Superwoman complex (and the need to help) often comes into play here. Too often in the business world, women have thought that they need to be twice as good to be perceived as equal; this may be more prevalent with a woman owner over 45 than a younger woman.

However, regardless of who it strikes, it’s a real danger. The Superwoman wants to handle everything herself; she wants to show the world she can handle anything and, as a result, handles no one thing expertly.

Man or woman, the need to control (or the desire to help) prevents you – the business owner – from properly hiring, training and delegating, whether with employees or an outsourced team. That’s a shame because that’s how you build a business that is a true asset rather than an ego trip. The real leader knows when to let go and trust others instead of controlling or feeling compelled to help everyone solve their problems.

4. Conversely, the owner knows how to ask for help when s/he needs it and can focus on putting energy where s/he makes her most important contribution to her business (see #s 1 and 2, above).

Action may speak louder than words yet directed action that results in a desirable result takes time and skill. Unless you know when to reach out for expert assistance with a necessary function, something important is going to lack expert implementation.

5. ‘Cover your behind’ may be a time-honored employee’s credo yet willingness to take educated risk has a higher pay-off for an owner.

Again, focusing on the future’s potential before anyone sees it advertised for sale is what positions you for greatness and protects you from disaster. If only the buggy whip industry had seen automobiles coming…..

Making these fundamental mind shifts can distinguish an entrepreneur’s path. If you feel you lack access to other entrepreneurs and want to be exposed to kindred business owners who think differently than you and will open your mind to new possible outcomes and paths, check out

If you’re a forward-thinking business owner, this is where you can get the perspective, resources, validation and support you need to shoot for the moon with a successful business that contributes to a great life.

What about you? If you’re in business for yourself, what mind shifts have you had to make? Please share your comments below because I’d love to hear from you. Thanks!

About guest blogger, Andrea Feinberg: President of Coaching Insight, LLC, Andrea is a business owner of 25 years who nudges ambitious, impassioned women business owners towards the big rewards of ownership: more money, a better run business, a happier life and the time to enjoy it all. In 2013, she proudly published “Less Stress = More Success: A Business Woman’s Guide to Reduce Overwhelm and Create a Healthier, Wealthier Life”, co-authored by 15 women in business. Enjoy it here: