Entreprenuer or employee – which are you?

Robert Kiyosaki’s book, Cashflow Quadrant, identifies four ways in which income can be earnt or generated: E (employee), S (self employed), B (business owner) and I (investor). In Kiyosaki’s view it is preferable to work out of the business owner and/or investor quadrants. The is because as a business owner it is possible to generate income even in the owner’s absence. On the other hand, working as an employee or a self employed person only earns money when working. To achieve real financial independence people need to be operating as an investor or business owner.

Athough many recognise the potential in this argument, individuals will often choose to stay working as an employee, even in jobs they hate. Some of this is to do with fear of the unknown or their capacity to deal with risk. Being an employee feels more comfortable. They like to point out those business owners who have failed. The statistic that 9 out of 10 new businesses fail is enough to reinforce the message that being a business owner is hard work and full of risk.

There are many successful business owners and investors in the world – Robert Kiyosaki for one. So it is possible to succeed in these quadrants. What are the skills and attitudes necessary to be successful in each quadrant and how do they differ from one quadrant to the next? How can an individual determine whether they will be successful in making the leap across from employee to business owner or from self employed worker to investor?

First, the skills of the employee. These are fairly easy to define:

• Teamwork and Co-operation – the ability to co-operate and work well with others
• Problem Solving – ability to analyze issues
• Initiative – dealing with the short and the longer term
• Achievement Drive – a concern for high standards
• Flexibility – ability to adapt to the situation at hand
• Customer Service – responding to the needs of the customer

You need to have just enough of each without too much. If you have too much Achievement Drive, there may well be too much risk taking and goal setting which only have a 50% chance of success. That’s far too ambitious for most organizations. Self Employed. The skills, although similar to that of an employee, are slightly different. The critical skills are likely to be:

Initiative – more than the employee as you need to work on your own and tackle problems such as IT issues. The self employed don’t have ready access to a Help Desk
• Achievement Drive – much more than the employee. Where the employee needs to work to high standards as expected by their employer, the self employed needs to set their own goals and standards and measure their success. Afterall, there is no one else who is going to do it for them.
• Resilience – the ability to handle rejections and ‘no’s’. Individuals who take feedback personally and require a lot of support on an ongoing basis need not apply for self employed status.
Confidence – communicating in a way to inspire confindence in your offer.

In addition, if you are a highly extroverted individual who likes to take centre stage, working in a self employed capacity may feel draining, lonely and uninspiring.

Investor. The investor quadrant is interesting. This is as much about risk taking and attitude to risk as anything else. Becoming a successful investor requires:

• Information Seeking – an underlying curiousity to know more about things.
• Analytical Thinking – more than the employee or self employed as the investor needs to be able to spot trends and patterns in performance data
• Resilience – an ability to ride the waves and ups and downs of investing

Business Owner. The skills required will be determined by the size and type of business in question. If we are talking about an entrepreneurial business then a research study conducted by the author back in 2001 identified the following skills:

• Initiative – looking at the short and longer term
• Self Direction – managing emotions
• Integrity – working in a principled way
• Confidence- willingness to act with confidence and conviction
• Commitment – aligns themselves with the vision of their business – ‘they are the business’
• Holding Other People Accountable – managing performance
• Drive and Determination – a relentless drive to achieve world class results
• Leadership, and • Selling Skills

To be a true business owner as defined by Robert Kiyosaki, you need to be able to grow your business so that it continues to make revenue, even in your absence. This means that above all else you must be able to delegate. Potential business owners need to ask themselves “Could I delegate all or part of my responsibilities to someone else or would I be interfering on an hourly basis?” ‘Letting go’ to grow is the big difference between self employed and business owner.

The skills and competencies outlined above are generalized and each organization, business or culture will have its own requirements. However, by looking at each of the quadrants and taking an honest view of each skill level for each competency an individual can begin to understand their likely success in each quadrant.

Copyright (c) 2007 WealthBeing