Being an Employee doesn’t mean you can’t be an Entrepreneur
The Daily Grind
So, you sometimes hate your job? You always wanted to be your own boss, make your own ideas a reality, but you never really had the opportunity? Maybe your job was too important and you couldn’t find the time or money to do it alone… this probably sounds familiar to the vast majority of people who work for others, the question you are asking yourself is “how can I go it alone given my commitments and a lack of a paycheck?”. Well, it’s quite easy really, just remember that every day you go to work for someone else, you inform your own success.
Having worked in quite a few startups and small businesses in my twenties, even with long hours and below-average pay, I always understood that what I was looking for was responsibility and not remuneration, coupled with the knowledge that employers often pay their employees in two ways. The first; money (obviously!), and the second; experience, and then perhaps the third way they pay you is in the opportunity to make mistakes. I made plenty, believe me.
A guy called Harold Geneen once said “In the business world, everyone is paid in two coins: cash and experience. Take the experience first, the cash will come later.” So, therefore I am saying if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur you don’t need to feel bad about working a nine to five in the meantime. With that said, let’s get to the point with four ways your job can help you overcome the start-up jitters.
Know what you don’t know
Everyone is ultimately limited by what they know. To break those limits you really need to go a step beyond and identify exactly what it is that you don’t know, so that you can address this gap and enable your success.
This is another area where working for a large organisations can help a budding entrepreneur achieve their goals. No idea about how to create a brand? Easy, get to know your marketing department. Need to learn to set up your own website? Surely, someone in I.T can help. If you really want to go it alone, working for a large company or even a small one puts a great deal of resources at your fingertips. It’s just down to you the entrepreneur to use them.
Build your network of critics and learn not to hate them
No one is ever perfect, only hubris will tell you that. That's why you need to build your connections and there is never a better forum to do that than when someone else is paying you to learn from your mistakes. The connections you make in your working life should be meaningful and you should take their feedback (both positive and negative) and use it to make yourself stronger when you decide to go it alone. In my professional life, I have often gravitated toward people that I liked but also those I found could add value to me. Seeking out those colleagues that who are honest about your flaws will only empower you. So, never shy away from a coworker or manager or even someone you manage who challenges you. Ultimately, that adversity will inform your success. Finally, you can also use this time to find people you would want in your team in future.
Plan for perfection and disappoint yourself
The best-laid plans generally don’t survive contact with the enemy. Plans will almost always change but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth having. The thing about planning is that one plan is never enough, which is why you should plan for multiple eventualities so that you might find one that will work out (thinking Trout memos). Ultimately, as with any undertaking the details are pivotal. James Bond was the brainchild of a man who changed the course of the second world war, however, it was just one good idea that saved hundreds of thousands of lives, out of many more bad ones, so don’t fear having a bad idea, just don’t use it. Make sure you have business plans and revenue forecasts in minute detail. Hopefully, you will have learned all these skills from your former employers.
So, the key is to take those lessons and apply them to your new venture. Think about what your company did badly and equally what they did brilliantly and apply those lessons to your own venture.
Performance anxiety: Get ready to fail!
Enthusiasm is key but starting out in any new venture it’s unlikely you will get hit the ground running from day one, so try to do it with some earnestness and be prepared to learn from your failures. Take this opportunity to get involved and be prepared to make many mistakes . You have to get involved to learn so don’t hesitate. People who try are better than those who never do anything at all. So, set out to succeed but be prepared to reassess and learn from losing. We have all met people who just never learn, so don’t be one of them, self-doubt is your friend.
Finally, remember that building something from scratch is always difficult. That’s why you should value the time you spend working for someone else because it is free tuition for your own future. So, take the time to prepare as well as you can before you go it alone, as I am sure you will soon miss the support of your colleagues and company.