How to use your job to build entrepreneurial skills

Happy young trader [Courtesy]

Most entrepreneurs start their business life as employees. Contrary to what many might assume, having a regular 9am-5pm (9am-5pm) job is one of the best ways to train for entrepreneurship.

A savvy person who aspires to become an entrepreneur can use their work to develop skills, expertise, and know-how to successfully run their own business in the future.

Whether you’re an employee aspiring to become an entrepreneur or a recent graduate considering the pros and cons of both paths, here are some ways to use your work experience to learn the ropes of entrepreneurship.

Build your network

If you’re not a natural extrovert, you might find networking quite awkward. Many people would rather walk on hot coals than engage in small talk.

Networking is nevertheless essential to entrepreneurial success. Even the most successful entrepreneurs must continually network with people inside and outside their industry.

Having a 9-5 job and being part of an organization provides a wealth of networking opportunities with the right people. As an aspiring entrepreneur, use your job to connect with industry thought leaders. Build a relationship and learn from experts in your field.

Instead of being commercial and self-promoting, you can aim to create value for others. The experts you network with can offer constructive criticism on your business ideas and strategy when the time comes. They can also provide advice, testimonials or even invest in your business.

Develop your skills

Your work also gives you the opportunity to develop your skills and even learn new ones. If you are employed by a successful organization, it offers valuable information, experience, and expertise that you can apply to your own future endeavors.

Treat your 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job as a learning experience and you’ll be amazed at how much you can learn. However, don’t just focus on the obvious aspects of the business, such as marketing or sales.

Do more research to see if you can better understand how a business in your industry operates from all angles, not just the one you’re responsible for.

As an entrepreneur, you will be responsible for most aspects of your business. Dive deep into the rabbit hole of running a business. What are the best practices of the human resources department?

How does the finance department work? What systems are in place to keep the business efficient and scalable? What security measures are in place to protect the business?

You can easily apply to take on related roles to help you learn new skills. For example, if you’re in advertising, you can move into social media marketing.

Try new ideas without personal risk

Taking risks is an integral part of being an entrepreneur. That said, you want to be careful when starting out. And honestly, you probably won’t have the budget to try out some of your ideas in a new business.

As an employee of a more established company, you may have the opportunity to implement certain ideas that might be too risky to try on your own.

Large companies usually have a budget to test innovative ideas. For example, you can try out a new ad campaign strategy. If it works, you can implement it in your own business in the future.

Start secondary agitation

It’s easy to spot the entrepreneur in a 9-5 job. They always have a restless side. While a regular salary provides security, a budding entrepreneur still yearns for the freedom to be their own boss. Many entrepreneurs start their business as a side hustle while they still have their jobs.

When you start out this way, you will always have the security that a 9-5 job provides. If your business is in a related field, you can also use your day job to build relevant networks, build skills, and learn from experts.

While other employees finish their work day at 5 p.m. and have their weekends off, you’ll probably work pretty much all of your free time.

This will prepare you for the sacrifices you will have to make as an entrepreneur, especially in the beginning.

Grow your savings

In most cases, entrepreneurs have to rely on their savings to bring their business ideas to fruition. The best way to save business capital and start the process is to save some of your salary.

Before taking the plunge, you must also have saved enough to cover your household expenses for six to 12 months. Keep in mind that many businesses don’t make a profit in their first year – most revenue is funneled back into the business to fuel growth.

While maintaining a regular job, you can also invest your savings in low and moderate risk businesses to grow your capital.

Instead of spending your money on debt, now is the time to save and invest as much as possible in preparing for entrepreneurship.


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