Business owner or Entrepreneur?

Nick Williams

Nick Williams

Best selling author Nick Williams started off as the owner of a small business and has now morphed into an inspired entrepreneur. In this article, he reflects on the differences between the two.


When I was stuck in the corporate world many years ago, I dreamt of an escape to the freedom of running my own small business. Eventually I plucked up the courage to leave and started out on my own – with the goal of training and inspiring people as my only direction. In order to run my business, I taught myself how to do VAT returns, keep my books, do my accounts, keep stock of products, and a whole range of other skills.

While I had finally escaped the pressures of a boss, organisational structures and politics, I still didn’t feel very free and I even felt a little disappointed. Somehow I felt a slave to my business – I’d left the corporate world to work for love, but seemed to end up working for money, and working for my business, rather than having my business working for me and be a fuller expression of me.
But today I see there is a big difference between the small business owner that I was then, and the inspired entrepreneur I have become today. I realised that I had done what many of us do, which is to bring our accumulated conditioning and inherited thinking about work, business and what it means to be an entrepreneur and impose them on the canvass of business today.

I realise I had the heart and soul of an Inspired Entrepreneur, but was trying to squeeze myself into the straightjacket of being a small business owner. So, below I am sharing the ten main differences between being a small business owner and an Inspired Entrepreneur.

Difference One – Inspired Entrepreneurs follow their inner calling.

Inspired Entrepreneurs have found the work they were born to do, and are following their particular and unique calling. There is a great fit between what they do and who they are, and feel they are constantly drawn forward to become the person they were born to be.

Difference Two – Inspired Entrepreneurs create a business that supports their own talents, passions and lifestyle.

Inspired Entrepreneurs create businesses that support them and their lifestyle – they don’t sacrifice their lifestyle to create their businesses. Many small business owners sacrifice their own needs in order to be successful. Inspired Entrepreneurs know their business can be a vehicle for discovering and expressing their own unique gifts and talents.

Difference Three – Inspired Entrepreneurs have a higher purpose than just making money.

Inspired Entrepreneurs love making money – they’re very willing to make money – but that is not the sole purpose of their business. They didn’t set up a business to become an expert on tax and bookkeeping. Inspired Entrepreneurs are motivated to create and contribute – and of course the conventional stuff needs to be done well – but is for the maintenance of the business, but not the purpose of the business.

Difference Four – Inspired Entrepreneurs are always evolving their business.

Inspired Entrepreneurs love working on their business as well loving to work in their business. Small business owners tend just to work in their business, doing what needs doing to make the business work. Inspired Entrepreneurs intrinsically love what they do, but also love stepping back and thinking creatively about their business, and how it can be more fun, inspiring, profitable and effective.

Difference Five – Inspired Entrepreneurs love growing themselves.

Inspired Entrepreneurs love learning and growing themselves through running their business. They know that running their own business is the best personal growth seminar on the planet, becoming a mirror to highlight both their strengths and their weaknesses. They are curious about what they can become and love discovering what they’re capable of. They are less interested in being competitive with others and more interested in realising their own potential.

Difference Six – Inspired Entrepreneurs are fuelled by inspiration rather than motivation.

Motivation is often about getting pumped up via some external force, whilst inspiration is about being lit by the fire within. Inspired Entrepreneurs don’t need to pumped up, but they know they need to regularly kindle and rekindle their flame of inspiration, by going to their own wells of inspiration and inspiring themselves.

Difference Seven – Inspired Entrepreneurs love understanding how they can find and attract their ideal clients.

Inspired Entrepreneurs are endlessly curious about how to attract and serve their clients better. They love serving and contributing, and believe that what they do makes a difference. They enjoy getting the word out about what they do, and getting people to act, but only in ways that are grounded in honesty and integrity. They are willing to give up being anonymous.

Difference Eight – Inspired Entrepreneurs work in inspired, smart and strategic ways.

Inspired Entrepreneurs know that hard work alone is no guarantee of success. They don’t confuse being busy with being strategic. They have shed the prevailing belief of the protestant work ethic and know that success doesn’t come from pain, struggle and sacrifice, but instead know it comes from brilliant ideas, well implemented. They know that “time out” to generate new ideas and think strategically is often more valuable than another hour at their desk.

Difference Nine – Inspired Entrepreneurs navigate their life by using joy as their compass.

Small businesses tend to be more mechanical and repetitive, whilst Inspired Entrepreneurs navigate their business and life through a sense of joy, inspiration and aliveness. They also have a sense of destiny and rightness about what they do, knowing that their particular talents are being used to the maximum, and that their business will evolve through a sense of ongoing revelation. They hate being bored and are always asking, “How can I inspire myself next?

Difference Ten – Inspired Entrepreneurs value their heart and their thinking.

Inspired Entrepreneurs know that they bring the love and the money together by marrying their heart together with their brilliant entrepreneurial thinking. They become potent by using one to support the other. They use great business strategies to support their inspired ideas.

So start inspiring yourself and setting your sights higher Being an Inspired Entrepreneur rather is one of the best ways of being happy, inspired and fulfilled, and making the contribution you were born to make.

I think many small business owners are actually inspired entrepreneurs trying to squeeze themselves into how they think they should be rather than allowing themselves to grow into what they are in their heart. Today, more than ever, the world is hungry for authenticity, so please show up as you truly are.

If you are not yet clear about the work you were born to do, or want to know how to become an inspired entrepreneur, you can download your free copy of a nine part programme to help you discover it now at:

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