7 Telltale Signs You're Ready to Quit the Rat Race and Become an Entrepreneur

Grasping the right time to jump on brave alterations is essential to success. Here are seven signs you no longer have an employee mentality.

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By Maria Dimitropoulou

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

I recently had a call with one of my best friends who moved to London to work for a big, multinational public company. She's talented, successful and hardworking.

Yet, she called me full of tears, anxiety and anger. "They are restructuring the company; they are cutting positions. My role is about to die."

I suggested that she apply for the same role in other ventures, companies that could offer multiple benefits, from remote working to stock options. I explained that with her talent, potential and ideas, she could even be self-employed through freelancing for various clients with contracts. She could chase her version of success and happiness. And she could probably end up with more money and even more freedom.

"You don't get it." She said. "I don't want to be nobody. I want to work for the top companies in the world."

Perhaps I don't get it. But I also don't get why talented, hardworking individuals like her want to throw their full potential into hierarchy and politics for prestige. Why do they let their companies fill them with stress, ruin their day, restrict their career options and define their value?

Related: 7 Signs It's Time to Transition From Employee to Entrepreneur

Don't get me wrong; there are plenty of great people acknowledging their worth and consciously choosing to advocate the employee's mentality. They are okay with that.

But if you're fed up with the corporate world, feeling like it's limiting your options in life, and wondering when is the right time to leverage your skillset and make a transition, it's probably now.

Here are seven signs you no longer have an employee mentality.

1. You're in love with the idea of working wherever and whenever you want

Flexible work hours and location independence started becoming the norm after the pandemic in 2020. You proved to your employer that location doesn't affect productivity and that a strict 9 to 5 workday could burn you out instead.

And while many companies allow work-from-home days and a flexible working schedule, you still have to report your location and total work hours.

However, with an entrepreneurial mindset, complete location and time flexibility is your dream; you know the only way to achieve that is to fully own your freedom by creating your income stream instead of expecting a salary.

Related: Remote Work Is Here to Stay: Are You Ready for the New Way of Life?

2. When in meetings, you're daydreaming instead of participating.

The average employer spends at least 3 hours weekly in meetings, with 30% reporting that they spend over 5 hours weekly.

And instead of actively participating in that meeting, you're contemplating how to avoid the next one so you can work on something instead. You know you could be spending your time in a more fruitful way than attending company meetings, but there's nothing you can do about it.

Someone more senior requested your presence; you have to be there. So there you are, visualizing how you can escape this misspend of your hours, wasting time while time is money.

Related: Your Time Is Money, So Stop Wasting It

3. You absolutely despise titles and hierarchy.

When having an employee mentality, you get so caught up in titles. You fool yourself with pride, showing off on Linkedin, gossiping about others' abilities, and jealously spreading your best wishes to the colleagues who claimed the C-titles first.

When you are a business owner, you laugh at job titles. You want people to work with you, not for you. You also know that a title cannot determine your worth. Anybody can go on Linkedin and claim that they are the CEO or an executive member of a 5-people company.

What does that even mean?

Fancy titles in corporate jobs almost always equal less freedom, less time to work on your relationships with others and less time to spend with your kids before they become adults.

C-titles while climbing the corporate ladder also mean less time to invest in your self-care planning, wellness, and personal skills and less time to enjoy life.

4. You're testing multiple side hustles after or before work.

With an employee mindset, you look at the clock at quarter to six and know it's time to shut down your laptop and get on with your day.

And while maintaining a work-life balance is crucial, as a business owner, you are continuously testing concepts and trying side hustles to build multiple income streams whenever you can. You don't depend on one client, idea or salary, but you're willing to test, take risks, fail and start over.

Related: 4 Creative Side Hustles That Fight Inflation and Earn Extra Cash

5) You're not afraid of building relationships from outreach.

As an employee, you are terrified of cold pitches. You are not fond of being rejected or ignored because that usually happens. You don't attempt to reach out to others unless you're selling something; in that case, you face outreach as a transaction, not a relationship.

However, as an entrepreneur, you know that expanding your systems by connecting, advising, or simply interacting with others is one of the most vital steps in building a personal or professional brand.

You don't underestimate the power of community and networking; you aim to create daily connections with one or two new people in your industry. In one year, you are astonished by your reach and the ways your network proved helpful.

6. You know that building passive income and making money online is 100% possible.

When having an employee mentality, you don't care about investing or building a passive income online. Even if you care, it strikes you as too-good-to-be-true, and you don't bother putting effort into creating a diversified portfolio.

On the contrary, when you have entrepreneurial tendencies, you get excited about passive income ideas and turn your world upside down to build an online income.

Creator's economy is not a too-good-to-be-true scenario nor a get-rick-quickly scheme. It's an available reality with no barriers to entry, and as a business owner, you like that challenge. You know that spending an x amount of time creating the tiniest passive income stream can yield 10x results in the near future.

They know they must find what they enjoy creating and work on it daily.

7) You're constantly enriching your knowledge and skillset to increase value.

You are exchanging your skills and experience with payable work hours as an employee. However, as an entrepreneur, you offer your skillset, idea or business as a service that solves problems and delivers value.

You don't charge by the word, hour, or month. You charge according to the advantages and utility of your solutions. You answer questions and deliver results. And because your expertise is directly related to the value and results you deliver, you're working daily towards improving and enriching it.

Final thoughts

Perhaps you're not 100% ready to escape the rat race. However, if any of the above signs hit true, you know it's time to start owning your career and follow a path you can fully control.

Maria Dimitropoulou

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Growth marketer, SEO expert and creative content writer

Maria is a woman in tech passionate about traveling, self-growth and everything related to digital marketing. She has been moving around the world for the last five years and shares her thoughts on entrepreneurship, remote working and travel at her website.

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