Three things I learned about execution as an employee (that I didn’t as an entrepreneur)

1. There is always a surplus of work that needs to be done. As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to “deprioritize” this stuff and drop the ball, and not feel the effects until later. As an employee, that’s not possible, because your team will hold you accountable. You need to manage all of these things well; finding a template, delegating, and automating, are all invaluable practices. Also, as an entrepreneur, you’re inclined to move fast and rush in; but slowing down, defining what you actually want to do, what acceptable looks like, will save you a lot of time and energy.

2. Do the things that need to be done to grow the business, not the things you’re enthusiastic about or what you’re good at. As an entrepreneur, you can live under the illusion they’re all the same thing and your clients and employees may not speak up; as an employee, your co-workers will gladly disabuse you of this notion. There’s another lesson in here, too—which is that other people can see your blind spots much easier than you can. Try to give them a good reason, and make it easy for them, to point it out to you.

3. When you’re an employee, there is a time when it makes sense to over-prepare, say for a meeting with the C-suite. There are also times not to be wasteful, like doing so much research that you have 24 questions for a 30 minute interview with a guest author; you’re probably going to get through 8 of them, at most. Discerning between these times—when overpreparation is needed—and not to get carried away when it’s not—is a big lesson that I didn’t learn as an entrepreneur. This is really related to #1.

This isn’t what everybody will learn as an employee or will miss as an entrepreneur. While I wrote this in second person for a more engaging reader experience, it was all my experience (hence the title).

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