Author of the book “Chronicles of a Boss: Your Blueprint to Creating a Life of Independence, Freedom, and Wealth” and Serial Entrepreneur shares her unique view and candid reasons of why you should work a real job before becoming an Entrepreneur.
Let’s face it most of us full time Entrepreneurs speak boldly on taking the leap, quitting your day job and going full speed ahead. I can admit, that was me… On my soapbox screaming to hopeful entre’ and wantre’ preneurs alike: “Find your passion, leave your day job, and just do it!”
While that sounds easy I’ve realized that for some, it is simply not that easy. Particularly those who are “adulting.”
Something THAT daunting, and of that magnitude must be well thought out. I get it… One day while on a 20-hour flight headed to Guangzhou, China with my business partners I thought about the process, the grunt work, the blood, the sweat, the tears, the tears, the tears, oh did I say tears? And all the obstacles we faced when trying to start a business and the question I asked myself was “Would I be the Entrepreneur I am today if I hadn’t worked a 9 to 5?” And as I thought about it and put things into perspective I realized that I wouldn’t be. I’ve always had the heart, the grit, the hustle, and the passion but, it takes more than that. It takes a special skill-set, a dash of charisma, an overdose of motivation, and focus to really reach your potential and make a living doing so.
Honestly, I wouldn’t appreciate business the way I do now had I not worked a 15-year job. Yeah, 15 years is too long – – of a time to give someone when you have ideas, aspirations, goals, and a plan in place. But, for me 15-years worked out just fine because, I had the best of all worlds. I was working for one of the richest men in the world. One of Forbes Top 50 to be exact. So, I learned a LOT! The company culture was everything I’d ever want mine to be. The environment, the people, the philosophy, the support I received, and what the company stood for made it all too comfortable to up and quit.
I had the luxury of working full-time, getting a regular pay check, and still was able to run my own businesses and travel the world. All at the same time! That’s life. Right? No, not really. But, very, very helpful. It helped shape me as a true Entrepreneur. A solid one. It validated me.
After being laid off in 2014, I was forced to put on my big-girl panties and live the life of a real hustler. Guess what? It all fell in place. Not easy… But, it did. We’d already had our own office location for about 7 years. So, me being laid-off was that thing that put fire under my butt and made me go at it 150%.
So, today I will share with you my top 10 reasons of why Entrepreneurs should work a 9 to 5 before taking the leap.
1. Discipline – Working a full-time job takes discipline. You must punch a clock so you will make every effort to ensure you are there on time. You are focused because at that moment it is your lively hood. When running your own business one of the key principles is being disciplined.
2. Structure – Seeing the traditional way of organizational structure in a corporation will give you great insight on how to operate your own business. It’ll allow you the opportunity to decide how you want to leverage the people who are a part of your team. This is key in the building stages because as your business starts to grow you can’t be all things to your business. You will need a team to WIN! When choosing your team, you need to structure and place people in places where they will help your business excel. Can’t have your cousin Joe running the finances if he’s not an expert in finance. Get it? Structuring properly is detrimental. You need the job to be done and goals to be met!
3. Customer Service Skills – If you work for a great company you’ll know how much of an impact having great customer service has on the business. While working a 9 to 5 you’ll have the opportunity to learn one on one on what it takes to retain customers. How to make them happy. How to communicate effectively. How to empathize. How to be patient. How to be consistent. And you will also learn how to adapt to your customers. No two customers are alike. Customer service can make or break your business. It can also teach you what not to do. Learn, learn, learn! You will be better off.
4. Processes – Your business must have an objective. Whether big or small, to effectively operate a business you must have a system that you use to keep the business flowing. You can’t be all over the place. In working a 9 to 5, you can observe the processes of the company firsthand. This also allows you time to figure out how you want to ensure your business has an edge starting out. You can create your own guidelines AND from actually “doing” you will learn what works, and what doesn’t work for your business along the way.
5. Managerial Skills – We learn our best from watching. Visual impact is a great teacher. We all have supervisors and managers that we like and some… well, we don’t like. When you own your own business, you will become them. So, while you have a firsthand account of what being a manager is like, learn from it. Think about the type of manager you’d like to be to your employees. Don’t like that your manager is a “micro manager?” You like how your manager talks to you? Makes you feel valuable? Well, you will have the same seat one day. Make it count. Learn as much as you can. Soak it all up. It’s FREE!
6. Nest Egg – While you are working a day job you have the opportunity to set aside funds to start your business, and have some available for a rainy day. 100% of the time you won’t make ANY money with your startup fresh out the gate. You will be flat. Dependent upon the direction you choose to go in you will have startup expenses. Some more than others. That’s just something we can’t negate from. So, while you are working a 9 to 5 why not start that nest egg?
7. Sales Funnel – You are your brand!! You have to live it. Branding is a way of life when it comes to you. It all starts with YOU! Be believable. Be passionate when you speak. Inspire people. Motivate the people around you. When people know you, like you, and trust you – They support you. Build your tribe of supporters. Network in the work place, build relationships in the work place. Before you know it these people will become your biggest supporters thus, creating a loyal sales funnel. Word of mouth is your biggest asset. Leverage the people around you before you take the leap.
8. Product or Service Validation – Is your product or service viable? Will anybody like it? Who will you serve? Well, while working a 9 to 5 you can “validate” your products or your services with people who work with you. A focus group. If you will. Most people will tell you the truth. Test it out. If it’s all bad. You must go back to the drawing board.
9. Relationship Building – One of the things that have gotten me far in life and in entrepreneurship is the motto “Never burn bridges. You never know who you may need.” I’ve always been a social butterfly and can converse with people from all walks of life. It’s all about building relationships. Being in Corporate America places you in the arena of many people who can help you along in your journey through Entrepreneurship. Whether it be a mentor, or someone you can call from time to time for direction, a referral, or advice those relationships are vital to your success. You can’t do it all alone.
10. Shows you how to weather the storm – When you are just starting out 10 times out of 10 you will experience times when business is slow. It may be seasonal, bad economic times, or you just may need to reevaluate what you are selling. Either way, it can and WILL happen at some point. In working a “real job” you will have a front-row seat on seeing how a bigger company handles these times. It may be offering sales, adding additional “profit centers” you must be prepared for those rainy days, or months. Creating a “profit center” is simply discovering ways to create streams of income that are in alignment with the type of business you run. If you have a clothing boutique when times are slow you can offer a personal shopping service, or image consulting, or you can allow upcoming fashion designers the opportunity to carry their wears in your boutique. This opens you up to another audience, especially if the designer has a social credibility or a huge following. Think outside the box… Actually, throw the box away!!!