I have had a lot of people, especially undergraduate students ask me if they should start their own business or look for a job upon completing their studies.
Surely this question is tricky!
There is no yes or no answer. But I definitely want to touch a little bit on this subject matter as I have some perspectives to share.
First of all, you can be anything in this life! – You are the only one who knows what you feel, hence can make some tough decisions. Other people’s opinions will just serve as a guide to inform the decision(s) you will eventually make.
Do you join a business or start your own business? The answer is 'know thyself'! You need to know what your wiring is. Are you cut out for all the stress, sleepless nights, and obstacles/risks involved in starting your own business? Are you cut out for the corporate environment? These are questions you need to ask yourself and be honest about.
In my view, not everyone is wired to work in the corporate environment, whereas not everyone is cut out for entrepreneurship. Unfortunately, ENTREPRENEURSHIP is now a buzz word and everyone seems to tow that lane, but forget to ask who will be helping the businesses to grow if we all become entrepreneurs. Who will we hire to work for us when we are all starting our business?
Clearly, there are people who will still have to work for people to help achieve their goal(s). The misconception of entrepreneurship is gradually making people unwilling to work for people who own businesses as they believe they can’t work and make someone richer – True, but you can be that individual who builds or helps businesses grow. That might be your path and you can still excel and be fulfilled.
Why do you want to work in a corporate environment and why do you want to be an entrepreneur? The moment money is not the first answer/reason, but the problem you want to solve and the impact you want to make in society, then you will know the direction to tow. Often times the problem you want to solve stems from what you are passionate or concerned about.
To students, I will advise that you just don’t rush into full-time entrepreneurship or start a business without harnessing some vital skills that will be handy at some point in your entrepreneurship journey. You need some skills as an employer to be able to attract the right stakeholders to your startup or business. We will talk about these skills in my next post.
I am all for entrepreneurship but I believe that one must also take time to understudy people, learn and get enough knowledge about what you hope to do as a business. Do not just rush into starting a business just because everyone is an entrepreneur. It’s about time our local businesses compete globally and not just stay in the four corners of our community. To survive this, one will need to acquire some form of training by getting the hands dirty to learn. One of the best places to learn is working for someone; it is therefore very important to get some apprenticeship in the informal or formal sector depending on the business you want to go into.
If money is the only reason you live, it will be difficult to heed to the advice of taking the time to learn from people in your field of interest, reading wide, harnessing the vital skills needed for the business you want to venture, apprenticeship, etc. In my view, most young “entrepreneurs” have failed because they didn’t take time to learn and get the right skills they needed to excel. Many start-ups could have survived if they listened to good counsel, took advantage of internship opportunities or started something while on campus to learn and make the mistakes to understand how to run a business.
Trust your guts, and remember you can be an entrepreneur even whilst working for someone. Top employers are hiring graduates who have the entrepreneurial mindset, as such candidates are believed to add more value when employed.
Entrepreneurship is all about solving problems and you can do that either by starting your own business or helping someone or an organization which is already solving a problem you are passionate about.
I believe it is a MUST for every graduate to be entrepreneurial, but not everyone needs to have their own business – some people are designed to help grow businesses to achieve the vision/objectives of corporations. There is no problem with that!
So to answer your question folks – Know thyself! It is all about getting the right skills required to succeed in whichever path you choose.