A lot of entrepreneurs tend to HATE on jobs, especially us Fastlaners.
And yes, I admit; I’m guilty.
Despite my guilt, getting a job might be the best entrepreneurial advice you can receive.
Here are 6 reasons why:
You have to experience firsthand how much the system sucks in order to be motivated enough to leave it.
A job can reinforce your desire and determination on just how bad you want to be an entrepreneur.
For example, read this thread (screwed over by my boss) over at the FastlaneForum.
In this story, an entrepreneur takes a job under the premise that “you will be taken care of!” if he does an excellent job in the position. Long story short, the employee does as expected and better; he sacrifices his life with long hours and does a fantastic job only to find out that the promise of “you will be taken care of” amounts to a measly 5% pay raise.
The man is livid and the whole experience sharpens his determination to become an entrepreneur.
A job can verify your entrepreneurial DNA, or lack thereof.
How many times have you heard your friend talk about starting a business?
You’ve heard the old story dozens of times: Willie-Wantrepreneur wants to be an entrepreneur but decides to get a job first — you know, so Willie-Wantrepreneur can “pay bills” and meet his obligations… and then… the next thing you know, Willie-Wantrepreneur is forever trapped in a job and the mediocre lifestyle it affords… as soon as he receives his first paycheck, lifestyle entrapment ensues (the fancy apartment, the leased Lexus) forever prohibiting Willie-Wantrepreneur from starting a business because “I have responsibilities.”
To translate the above, Willie-Wantrepreneur has junk he can’t afford and isn’t willing to sacrifice that junk to take the entrepreneurial risk.
Want to uncover your true work-life DNA? Then go get a job.
If you enjoy the illusion: the so-called security and peace-of-mind of a paycheck, you probably aren’t cut from the fabric of entrepreneurship. And that’s OK. Conversely, if you loathe the job, the structure, and the boss, regardless of Friday’s paycheck, you might have that rare entrepreneurial DNA.
The fact is, many people *think* they are entrepreneurs but they aren’t. These people are actually in love with the mystique of entrepreneurship (be your own boss, make your own hours, unlimited pay ceilings) but are oblivious to the sacrifices needed to make those benefits real.
Thousands of wantrepreneurs enter the workforce never to return — and that’s a good thing — because they weren’t entrepreneurs in the first place.
See Unseen Opportunities
Third, getting a job will expose you to opportunities unseen in your current unemployed position. A common theme in many entrepreneurial success stories is the discovery of a need uncovered in a job. Successful businesses are started because an employee immersed in job culture sees an unfilled need and decides to solve it.
The success story always starts the same … “I was working over at ACME Company and I noticed that there was a NEED/PROBLEM for XYZ and decided that I could solve it.”
Success in business evolves from a need-based premise; not “be your own boss” “do what you love” or any other typical self-love, guru-fed BS.
A job might give you the right foundation.
Experience Business Before You Can Start A Business
Getting a job will give you first-hand experience in seeing how successful (and unsuccessful) businesses are run.
In all my job experiences, I always enjoyed analyzing the business process. In each instance, I reflected on how I would do things differently. If I was in charge around here, what would I do different? Or not at all?
For example, when I was a teenager I delivered pizzas. I remember the owner of the pizza joint complaining regularly about dismal sales figures on Mondays. After suffering the slow Mondays myself (not a lot of pizza to deliver!) I suggested that the owner run a “Monday Night Football” pizza promotion. Pizza and football go hand-in-hand, so why not run a promotion to encourage more pizza sales for the big Monday night game?
Sounds like a great idea right?
The owner snarked “Well, when you own you own pizza place, you can do that, until then, keep quiet.” Basically, he told me to shut up and get lost. Despite being in the target demographic for a pizza buyer, the owner decided that my idea was unworthy. I mean seriously … 18 year old kids don’t buy pizza or watch football right? It wouldn’t shock me that this pizza owner is now out of business, or still stuck in the same rat hole working 7 days a week for a paltry $40K/year, complaining about misery Monday.
You can learn a shit-load with on the job training. Many companies will pay for an advanced education, seminars, sales training, and whatever else that can help make employees more productive. Take this comment on the Fastlane forum from a respected entrepreneur about on-the-job learning.
“[I]went to work for the world’s largest retailer [WalMart]. It was then that my eyes were opened up to the free education I was receiving. I was studying from the industry giants, I was getting paid to do things like attend Dale Carnegie classes, and I was using someone else’s LARGE checkbook to experiment. I was being trained the best practices in the world from a company who knew it ALL, and they were paying me while I was getting this education.”
“Older” Entrepreneurs Have More Success
Some research suggests that most new successful entrepreneurs are older, not younger. Yes, despite all the success stories of young tech entrepreneurs striking it big, the older generations are having more success when starting businesses. Some attribute this success to business experience, established credit, more startup capital, more networking contacts, or perhaps, decades of corporate doldrums as motivational fire — whatever the reason, years of business experience might groom you toward entrepreneurial success.
In closing, don’t fear the job as a path to your entrepreneurial goals. I know some of you out there view “getting a job” as a failure.
Make “getting a job” not symbolic of failure, but symbolic of your commitment to your entrepreneurial process.