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The Difference between Business Owner Mindset and a CEO Mindset

Written by: Tameka Bazile

Anyone can hop on the internet and start their own business. The world gains thousands of entrepreneurs daily, all of whom find a myriad of ways to bring in income. This is how most of your side hustles, your small businesses, and even some empires begin.

They begin with an idea and execution.

Many, however, do not begin with a strategy or long-term plan -- a mistake that many business owners do not realize is the difference between building a business and building a legacy.

I recently learned this distinction, myself, having been called out for lack of direction, lack of clarity, and lack of vision. Like many entrepreneurs, I created my business out of necessity and care -- care for my financial future, my mental health, and my personal stability. Quickly, however, it became a lifestyle. Doors began opening before me. Connections and introductions made and soon, my “side hustle” became a small business, serving dozens of clients, educating thousands of people, and solidifying its place in my future as my primary source of income. It became a way out of the mundane day-to-day of the unfulfilling 9-5 -- a testimony to my work ethic and a manifestation of my dreams.

Yet, for some reason, I still failed to meet my business where it was taking me. Instead, I found myself “along for the ride.” My business began getting the attention of media outlets and potential partners but my systems -- created when I knew much less -- failed to keep up. I began struggling with taking on high-risk, high-reward projects because I had to do the most to keep up with client work, administrative tasks, and other basic responsibilities on the back end.

I had been simply keeping my business afloat, rather than feeding it what it needed to thrive and the gaps in my foundation cracked deeper as doors opened before me. I was stuck between taking the time and filling those holes and losing out on potential opportunities.

I’ve learned that the mindset behind being a business owner vs. being a CEO is simple:

The “business owner” mindset is task-oriented. They outline the success of their business based on the day-to-day operations of the business. They routinely provide the service, manage the associated responsibilities, and remain in a still flow.

The “CEO mindset” is visionary. The CEO sees long-term success within their business and are consistently looking for ways to impact profit, growth in client acquisition, and alignment within their messaging.

Looking to build an empire means you must align with the CEO mindset and leave the business owner mindset behind. There is no room for complacency when building your legacy.

Where does your business owner mindset end and your CEO mindset begin?


Unlearn all your negative expectations around how you make money. Do you equate making money with doing more physical labor? Do you struggle to raise your prices although you know you need to? Aligning your time with money means at some point, you will cap out on how much you can make (and cap out on how much time you have). How do you plan to scale? What do you need in order to make that happen?


Are your client processes as streamlined as they can be? Do you have SOPs that are easily understood, fully outlined, and easily accessible to yourself and members of your team? Is what you have on your plate the best use of your time or is it time to delegate, automate, and/or eliminate some things to further the productivity of your business? Revisit these areas of your business, solidify your project management and processes, and pay hyper close attention to these things moving forward. This area of your business should run like a well-oiled machine, in order to free up time and brain capacity for other projects.


What direction is your business going in? What is your CEO legacy? 10-year plan? Where do you envision yourself taking your business? Creating long-term goals for your business allows you to align short-term goals to reach those successes. Without a long-term vision, you have nothing to aspire to and aren’t working toward a bigger picture. This can make complacency within your business easy and increase your “business owner mindset” through maintaining the day-to-day rather than working toward a larger vision.

How are you stepping into your CEO mindset?

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