Why You Should Work a Traditional Job Before Becoming an Entrepreneur


It might sound counter intuitive, but you should work a traditional job before becoming an entrepreneur for valuable workplace and business experience. Looking from the outside in, entrepreneurship sounds like a dream come true to some.

Waking up every day and knowing that you are your own boss and can work on your own schedule to earn an income sounds very desirable, especially to millennials.

According to survey results Inc.com shared from Phoenix University, at least 63% of 20-somethings would like to own their own business.

I’m certainly included in this demographic since entrepreneurship is something I’m working toward this year.

However, I can honestly say that I’m grateful for my current job and all the other jobs I’ve held in the past. I don’t think entrepreneurship is anything to rush into.

If you’re thinking about starting a business as one of your first jobs, I’d highly recommend you carefully consider this decision and try working a traditional job first. Here’s why.

Learn Workplace Communication Skills and Develop Other Assets

Workplace experience is crucial for future business owners. When you interact with coworkers one-on-one and in groups, you learn how to clearly communicate your thoughts and ideas and get along with with different types of people.

Workplace communication is much different than communicating with your peers in college. Some people at your job may have strong opinions and not care much about ruffling anyone’s feathers.

This is good, because you’ll need strong communication and related workplace skills if you want to lead your own team someday and establish partnerships for your business.

Many entrepreneurs I talk to say running their business is hardly what they expected it to be like, so use your traditional job to gain and master many different skills that will help you succeed when you start to work for yourself.

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Observe How your Boss Runs a Business

It’s very possible to start a business without attending business school. If you take this route, however, you should take the time to observe business owners and their management strategies and skills before you take the leap into self-employment yourself.

What better way to do this than to observe the way your boss runs their business while getting paid as an employee during the process?

I work at a small start-up company with a team of about 12 employees. For the past two years, it’s been very beneficial to see how my boss runs and grows the business, the marketing strategies implemented, and the mindset behind important decisions that affect the customers and team of employees.

Just from being observant, I’ve learned a lot about what I want to do with my business, and the things I think my boss isn’t doing as efficiently so I can be mindful of that with my own business strategy.

You can do the same thing at your traditional job. Assess what you like and don’t like from your point of view as an employee, then as a customer, so you can develop your own business plan that caters to your vision and needs.

Obtain a Good Idea of How Much You’d Like to Earn

Making a budget to live off of and use for business expenses sounds great, but if you haven’t truly lived off the budget you are drawing up, you won’t be sure you can realistically make it work.

In other words, if you don’t work at a traditional job with a set income before starting a business, how will you know how much you can live off and how much you’d like to earn?

I’ve seen some business owners judge their initial success based on how far they’ve come after leaving their traditional jobs. If you are actually able to make ends meet while working at your traditional job, you’ll know exactly how much you need to earn when starting out as an entrepreneur. Anything extra you bring in will be a bonus.

For example, if you can meet your needs while earning $2,500 per month, you’ll need to earn almost twice that as an entrepreneur if you wish to survive, since you’ll need to account for taxes and business expenses.

An Opportunity to Save More

Working at a traditional job has its perks; like a consistent and dependable income and benefits. When you work for a legitimate employer, you are pretty much guaranteed to get paid consistently. Consistent income helps you plan out your budget more effectively.

If you truly want to start a business in the future, you should start using the income from your traditional job to your advantage.

If you establish your business as a side hustle first, you can work on your business and your main job and receive two incomes for a brief period. Earning extra side income is great if you are trying to build up a large savings buffer or emergency fund.

When you start working for yourself, your income could fluctuate from month-to-month, so if you utilize your traditional job for anything, use it to build up some savings that you can depend on so you can continue to make ends meet once you are in the beginning stages of launching your business.

I’m interested to hear your thoughts on entrepreneurship. Do you believe someone should pursue it quickly if they have a great business idea and a decent plan? Or should they try their hand at working a traditional job to safely prepare first?

3 Comments

  1. Tim