As a part of my outplacement package from Reed Business Information I attended a workshop on self-employment (it was an awareness workshop, so covered all the things you need to be thinking about if you want to set up on your own).

The start of the session looked at common misconceptions around self-employement such as you work less hours for more money. During the session the seminar leader picked up on a really interesting point and that was the difference between career thinking and business thinking.

The differences are basic and pretty fundamental and can be summed up like this:

Career thinking
The mindset of someone who has been in (and is) in full-time employment. The focus is on career advancement and doing the things that are required to move up the career ladder. This does not neccessarily mean doing the best for the business as .you are salaried, can leave for home at the end of the day etc

Business thinking
The mindset of someone who owns their own company. The focus is on winning the next piece of business, ensuring great customer service and doing whatever is required to win or extend a piece of business. Success comes from thinking – at all times – through the eyes of your customer and how you can help achieve their goals.

Now this might be an oversimplified view but I think there is some truth in this. And even if you are responsible of a division of a large company you might feel it is yours but it is not and so it is different from actually owning it yourself.