From Employee to Entrepreneur: Altering Your Thinking After Buying a Franchise

September 18, 2021

Anyone buying a franchise is investing in a proven system. In many cases, though, they fail to find success themselves. This is often because they never made the transition from employee to owner.

This simple statement may seem counterintuitive. After all, buying a franchise technically does mean you’re an owner. The problem arises in our way of thinking. An employee mindset is vastly different from that of an entrepreneur.

After buying a franchise, you must make this mental transition quickly. An inability to do so is what leads many companies to their demise. By utilizing the following tips, though, you can simplify this process and focus on making your business a success.

Prepare Yourself for Perseverance and Hard Work

Buying a franchise saves you many of the headaches of building a company from scratch. Just because the path forward is easier, though, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be easy. As an employee, you likely had a specific schedule and plans to enjoy life on those invaluable days that were marked ‘OFF.’

This changes entirely when you move from employee to owner. Even with a solid foundation from the franchisor to build upon, making your brand successful is more than a full-time job. In fact, over half of business owners work at least 50 hours per week. Another 25 percent work over 60 hours, and 70 percent work weekends regularly.

Hard work often pays off as an employee, but it’s an absolute requirement once you’re the owner. Success when running a business can only be reached with continuous effort, but buying a franchise will at least pave the way for you.

Working On the Business, Not Just In It

As an employee, your focus was to work in the business to help it attain success. Working on the business was the job of the owner. After you buy a franchise, the responsibility rests directly on your shoulders. From that day forward, you need to work on and in your company.

Working in the business means making schedules, setting up appointments, taking payments and countless other necessities. Planning the next best move, utilizing effective marketing and brainstorming new services, however, falls under the working on umbrella.

paper bills

Fortunately, many tools are typically offered to budding entrepreneurs who buy a franchise. These can include training, marketing infrastructure and even business mentoring or advising. Each of these will help you move from the employee mindset of just holding down a job to the owner mentality of building a brand.

Employee to Owner Financial Thinking

As an employee, your only real financial concern is being able to pay your bills. Once you walked out the door of your job, you likely didn’t give a second thought to how your employer was handling their financial responsibilities. After buying a franchise, though, you must transition your thinking beyond personal benefit.

As a business owner, the health of your company is now in your hands. Statistics show that 65 percent of all failed businesses collapse due to financial mismanagement. This can often be directly attributed to a failure to transition from thinking like an employee to thinking like an owner in the area of finances.

After buying a franchise, you should view it as an extension of yourself. If the company succeeds, you succeed. Don’t become part of a negative statistic by failing to make this mental evolution. Your best bet is to get training or hire someone who can manage the financial aspects of your business.

Accept That You’ve Won

When most people become business owners, their prime concerns always revolve around how to become a success. This is no doubt something you should do the moment you buy a franchise. To really transition from employee to owner, though, you need to get into the mindset that you’re already a success.

Data shows that only 10-16 percent of American workers own their own businesses. This makes entrepreneurs a tiny minority within the population. By simply going through the steps of buying a franchise, you’ve succeeded at something that most people will never come close to accomplishing.

There’s obviously plenty of work to do before your business becomes a success. By realizing that you’ve already achieved something great, though, you’ll develop the mindset of a prosperous entrepreneur.

Work Harder sign

Recognize the Importance of Mentors

Once most employees go through their training period, their only subsequent learning comes through hands-on experience. Hourly workers view their free time as precious, and this often means they’re not going out of their way to get mentoring. They may also believe that they don’t really need this type of help.

As you transition from employee to owner, this thinking needs to change entirely. A full 92 percent of small business owners say that mentors directly impact the survivability and growth of a business. Changing your way of thinking isn’t a solo endeavor. You’ll probably need help from someone who has been there.

Fortunately, there are franchises that promote camaraderie and friendly relationships between their franchisees. This network can prove invaluable to those just starting out. As long as there are people out there willing to provide advice, there’s no need to learn by trial and error.

Recognize that Investments Need Time

As employees, we understand exactly when our investments are going to pay off. We also recognize that our rewards come in a relatively short time frame. By investing 40 hours during a work week, for instance, we’re certain that our paycheck will arrive within at least two weeks.

When you transition from employee to owner, you also need to alter your expectations when it comes to investment. Most of us are used to relatively instant gratification when working for others, but investments into your business can take time before results become obvious.

Returns on an investment will rarely – if ever – be immediate once you become a business owner. Getting into this mindset can help you avoid becoming disillusioned in the early stages. This is essential to maintaining your focus and drive.

An ‘Island of One’ Mindset

Man hiking on mountain

Once you buy a franchise, you have innumerable tools at your disposal. Your new network, mentors and franchisor are all there to help you succeed. In certain areas of running a business, though, you should expect to become an island of one.

As an employee, you could depend on coworkers and other departments to help you get the job done. If you were in the military, for instance, fellow soldiers always had your back. As a business owner, you need to expect to do many things on your own. Since 76 percent of businesses have zero employees, most aspiring entrepreneurs quickly learn this.

The fact is that many responsibilities you once had help for will turn into solo ventures. This comes with the territory when owning a business. You can anticipate an abundance of help after buying a franchise, but you must get out of the employee mindset of thinking there’s someone around every corner to help with all necessary tasks.

Start Strong When Buying a Franchise

There will always be factors beyond any one person’s control, and these can often make or break a business. When you’re investing in a franchise, though, you can control your way of thinking. This might be the most important step when transitioning from employee to owner, so make sure you strive to get it right.

If you’re ready to start a new chapter in your life by buying a franchise, contact one of our WIN Home Inspection franchise specialists by calling (800) 967-8127 or email us at

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