Why You Need to Think Like an Owner

Why You Need to Think Like an Owner

Big Ideas

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June 4 2021
Big Ideas
Author: Michel McCaffrey
I’m going to share with you the secret to creating an inflection point in your career. It’s something anyone can do – and it starts with a simple mindset shift.

Regardless of what you do for work, you can approach it two ways… like an employee or like an owner.


Why think like an owner?

1:48 am flashed the digital clock on the nightstand next to my hotel bed… the next morning, I’d be pitching a 6-figure contract to a new prospective client.

But I wasn’t in the bed… I was wide awake, making finishing touches and rehearsing the pitch.

I was full of adrenaline as I did my dry run-through… this was going to be good.

I thrived on the pressure of the high stakes.

I wasn’t on commission; I was on salary and would not get paid for the ‘overtime’… yet I had a burning fire in me to be excellent and get results.

And in that caffeinated, adrenaline-packed moment… I realized something that changed my life forever.

I realized my underlying motivation.

I had always been a hard worker, priding myself on my ‘do whatever it takes’ attitude, grinding it out to hit deadlines… it wasn’t because I wanted to be great at my job, or impress my boss, or get a raise… 

It was because I saw myself as an owner.

Once I had this realization, I started treating my job as my business rather than my career. From that moment forward, my paradigm changed… I wasn’t a ‘hard-working employee’, I was a ‘hungry business owner’.

But there was a big problem. A disconnect. A hard-working person does not make a business owner.

I was acting like an employee but thinking of myself as an owner. I needed to change my approach to running MY business.

I was fortunate in my job as it put me in front of 4-8 business owners every day… from founders just getting started to $100 million companies. I was able to observe first-hand the different styles and which characteristics led to success.


How to think like an owner?

In the past 3 years alone, I have met over 400 tech founders, observed their qualities and motivators and followed which ones were successful and which ones fizzled. I’m going to share with you the 3 key principles I learned from the founders that made it.


1. They invest in themselves

The top founders invested 10’s…even 100’s of thousands of dollars in their own education and knowledge every year.

What should you do?

Find your passion and become world-class at it! I dug deep into my coffers and invested in skills that I knew would make me more of an asset. In the last couple years, I’ve invested tens of thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of training, courses and coaches in the 2-3 areas I thought were the most important for me (in my case, this included sales, marketing funnels, lead generation and copywriting).

Any business needs its secret sauce. What’s yours?

If you want to be a world-class business owner, where your business is YOU, you need that unique selling proposition (USP) that separates you from the pack. You need a secret sauce. Start thinking about what that is… what’s the thing that you can be the best at… where your talents are sought after because there’s no one quite like you.

Figure out what it is and go and become world-class at it… find the best books, programs, and courses and BUY THEM. I promise you; it’ll pay tenfold in returns.



2. They are growth-minded

The one thing you can’t get more of in this world is your time. This is why to an owner, their time is the most valuable asset that they have. Start by tracking your time (the time you spend on personal development as well as the time you spend at work) and split it into $10/hr tasks, $100/hr tasks, and $1,000/hr tasks.

$10/hr tasks are things you could hire a person with no skills to do (admin, inbox management, non-skilled tasks)
$100/hr tasks are probably the crux of your job
$1,000/hr tasks are the big picture things

The most successful founders had the self-awareness to identify the lower-value tasks they did every day and either outsource or automate them, and they scheduled time into their calendars for the $1,000 tasks.

What should you do?

First, you need to track your time and write down the things you do that are low-value and things that are high value.

Now you know what you need to work towards, the goal being reduce and eliminate the low-value tasks from your plate. For each task, start by systemizing it (listing out all the steps), then determine whether you can outsource or automate it.

Remember… you’re an owner now – spending your time on $10/hr tasks is about as valuable as the owner of a business spending their time sweeping the office floors.

Think about this… if a business spends all its time on client work, it will never become world-class. It has to work on itself too (strategic planning, etc.). Your $1,000/hr tasks are unlikely to be part of your job (your client work), rather, they will be spending time actually working on your business.



3. They become thought leaders

The most successful founders attract their customers like a powerful magnet… they do this by frequently answering the most burning and important questions that their customers have.

What should you do?

Think about where you want your business to go and what you need to be an expert in to guarantee you’ll get there. Imagine that your dream company is hiring for your dream job. What topic would you need to be a leading expert in to put you at the front of the line?
THIS is what you should work towards becoming an authority in.

Then pick your preferred medium (audio (podcast), written (blog), video (YouTube)) and block out 2 + 1 hours per week into your calendar; 2 for working on your content, 1 for publishing and promoting your content.

Note: this is time OUTSIDE your working hours. This is content for your personal business & brand, not for your employer.


Follow these 3 key principles and you’ll see massive change in your trajectory in a lot less time than you’d think.

Invest In Yourself – cough up the cash and block out the time to learn from the best
Be Growth-Minded – get the small stuff off your plate and make time for working ON your business
Become A Thought Leader – determine the space you want to own and start building towards it

But the first step is really to decide… are you an owner or are you an employee?

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