Start your journey to entrepreneurship as an employee
- July 15, 2018
START YOUR JOURNEY TO ENTREPRENEURSHIP AS AN EMPLOYEE
Yes, it may seem strange to say that your journey to becoming an entrepreneur might start with you becoming an employee.
Think about it. What is smarter that being paid as an employee while you get experience and learn important things about running a business?
There are many benefits to this, such as learning about work ethic (teamwork, accountability, punctuality, professionalism), biz-skills (financial management, supervision, taxes and legal things), biz-functionality (logistics, systems and processes), and much more.
Yes there is a down-side in that you are trading your ‘time for money’ and you do actually have to do a real job – that means – actually deliver results so that you keep your job and get a good reference!
WAIT! DOES BECOMING AN EMPLOYEE MEAN THAT MY BIG DREAM DOESN’T MATTER?
You may be thinking that it’s all very well to have BIG dreams, but your dream is a long way from the reality you’re living with right now. And even if your BIG dream is clear, you don’t understand why we’re talking about becoming an employee first.
No-one earning 1,000 today can imagine earning 10,000 next month. No-one starting from zero, can believe that one day they will be CEO of their own business!
Any successful business relies on people (customers) who ‘know, like and trust’ you. Your ‘street cred’ or business reputation will not be built overnight.
There will be obstacles, struggles and challenges.
The one certainty is that things will not change unless you decide to make it change!
No matter what your current reality, you can live the life you always imagined. You can go confidently in the direction of your dream! Starting today! Your life does not have to stay exactly as it is now!
Perhaps the worst thing would be for you to not even try!
Even though motivation is needed, we’re African. We know that the daily reality is tough. Kids, aging parents, sickness, lack of education or opportunities, unemployment, bills, debts, and too many people depending on you. These things can’t be ignored and they make your journey more complicated.
But as Africans you can’t tell me that you never faced an obstacle. Of course you did! Didn’t you overcome that obstacle? (I jump hurdles every day, and I bet you do too!)
I believe you are resourceful and solution focussed. With some thought and effort, and loads of patient persistence, you can find your way through most things. I believe jumping hurdles is even easier when you think longer term. Think a year ahead. Only thinking about tomorrow is too short-term.
Whether you know your BIG dream or not, sitting idle isn’t going to get you anywhere. Your first step towards your destination, your vision, is to take a step, take action! Sometimes getting a job is a smart move – if you can make the work, work for you!
START YOUR JOURNEY TO ENTREPRENEURSHIP AS AN EMPLOYEE
Yes, it may seem strange to say that your first steps towards owning a business is to work in someone else’s business. We’re not recommending that for the long-term but in the short to medium term working for someone else can be a smart move.
You can learn so much. You earn while you are learning. The experience you gain is worth even more than your salary!
When you think of your job as a stepping stone towards entrepreneurship, you realise there are many benefits. The biggest benefit might even be that you revise your BIG dream to make it even more right-for-you.
For example, you might realise that opening and running a restaurant is not really your thing after all. While you love cooking and serving people delicious meals, maybe you can do it another way – without needing to own a restaurant.
On the job experience and learning can help you to figure what really matters and what is really feasible – without putting yourself into debt!
WHAT PATH IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
Here’s another truth about taking a journey! There is rarely only one way to travel! Any number of routes will get you where you want to go.
You could fly, take the train, get a bus, a taxi or drive yourself. You could take the shortest pathway or take the scenic route. You need to find the path that is ‘right-for-you’ and your circumstances.
The right path for you is going to be different to others. It is your unique path as much as your BIG dream is a dream that is only for you!
That means that questions like whether you should study or get a job are fairly easy to answer. The answer is usually “Yes”.
You could study,. You could get a job. Or you could do both.
The path that you take is not as important as actually being on the path and moving forward. In the end you have to do what you need to do to move closer to your BIG dream destination.
Almost always, somewhere in your journey you will need to study, or get a job, or both.
No-one knows all there is to know on a topic and the only way to learn more and get real experience and expertise, is to live,
and try things out!
Here’s a useful tip when you are trying to figure out your path. Try to ‘reverse engineer’ or think backwards from your destination. What knowledge and skills do you need? What experience will help you move towards your dream?
You can’t successfully start selling fresh coconuts without knowing about coconuts, transport, supply and demand, pricing, customer needs, food quality, competition, and much more.
You can’t start a successful online business without knowing about website construction and design, internet technology, social media, e-Products, pricing, customer desires, marketing, and much more.
SHOULD YOU BECOME A STUDENT?
You will usually benefit from more study, but you might not need to do a 4 year degree programme! Think about the basic information you need to know and the skills you need for the BIG dream you have. Be practical.
Short courses and part-time study are also credible options. By choosing a relevant, practical course, you can gain useful skills as well as improving your chances to be employable. Think about skills that will be useful now and in the future.
We’ll talk more about being a student in the next post.
WHAT TO CONSIDER BEFORE YOU BECOME AN EMPLOYEE
In these days of high unemployment, even well-qualified Uni graduates can’t always get a decent job. Usually the desire for independence and a salary mean that you might have to take the job that is available rather than waiting for a better opportunity. You shouldn’t be afraid to take a job and use the job to earn a salary and gain experience.
On the other hand you should always make a well-considered decision. You should know why you are becoming an employee and what you intend to gain from contributing as an employee in that specific job.
The important this is to use the job as a step in your journey towards your BIG dream. Make the work, work for you!
Another possibility is to work part-time. This might be attractive because it gives you time for your other obligations.
There’s always the opportunity to do volunteer work to get experience, connections and learning opportunities! You could volunteer on weekends or evenings for a short period, to get more skills or to broaden your network.
There are so many things to consider before deciding to become an employee that we created this PDF for you to download. It covers 12 points for you to consider so that you are certain you are making the right decision for reasons that are right-for-you. Download it here.
YOU CAN ALWAYS ADAPT YOUR PLAN
Remember whatever decision you make now, your future is not set for a lifetime with no possibility of change! These days you don’t expect to stay in the same job for a decade. Probably 3 to 5 years is optimum and then you move on.
While ‘change is the new normal’, employers might wonder about your ‘stickability’ if they see from your CV that you change jobs every 6 months or few years. Remember they want some return on their investment in training you, so 3 to 5 years is a good target for the employer and for you.
Remember! Everything is your decision and your choice, because we’re talking about your reality, your life and your BIG dream. You have options and nothing is written in stone. You can always make a new choice – the right-choice-for-you.
Whatever your BIG dream is, you can start from where you are to get to your destination! Reverse engineer the steps you need that will get you there.
Get started. Get a job if you need to. Take action. Never give up your BIG dream!
Remember Tumela Matsheng, Udoka Uju and Umutoni Monalisa from earlier posts (Read it here). They didn’t start as experts in their field. They chose a path. They followed their passions and learned what they needed to learn to continue their journey towards the life they imagine.
When their chance came along, they were ready. They took action. They made it happen. So can you.
You can go confidently in the direction of your dream when you think, plan and prepare to enjoy your journey! Think further than tomorrow. Become an amazing employee so that you are well prepared to be a brilliant entrepreneur.
We love to hear from you. Have you found becoming an employee was a step towards becoming a successful entrepreneur? Please let us know your story.
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