You feel it inside, there’s a fire burning in you.
You know you can’t work for others forever. It may be fine for now, but not for long. The entrepreneur life awaits you.
You dream of being self-employed, working on your passion project, flexible working hours and not being stuck in traffic.
You were born to do this. You can feel it in your heart.
However, there is one teeny weeny problem. You are completely clueless on how to start your business. You also have a crippling fear that you may fail in your entrepreneurial venture.
Well, I’ve got great news for you. There are skills and characteristics that can develop you to be a successful entrepreneur. The best part is you can acquire these skills at your current 9-5 job.
Here are five ways to learn the ropes of entrepreneurship while working for someone else.
Research Before You Leap
According to Fortune Magazine, over 42% of businesses fail because there is no market need for the product or service they are offering. Researching in Nigeria can be a nightmare, as there is little or no data to help you make decisive conclusions. You can circumvent this by using your 9-5 to identify a niche and determine the market demand, assuming you want to start a business in your current industry. Speak with professionals in your field to identify what motivates and challenges them.
At the end of it all, you will find a target market and understand the challenges that lie ahead. Most importantly, be patient and make the most of your current stability as the entrepreneurial journey can get financially tough.
Develop Your Skills
Starting a business would not be all about using only your technical skills. It would entail finance, marketing, human resources, operations and several more. You can learn all of this at your 9-5 job. Develop your core competencies by showing your desire to improve your skills or participating in training courses. Study your bosses to understand the different angles of running a business and speak to your mentor, if you have one.
Develop your communication skills too. The most common trait in all entrepreneurs is the ability to communicate effectively. This is a vital skill for convincing customers, investors, employees and other stakeholders to understand and buy into your vision.
Network, Network, Network!
Most people find it difficult to network, but it is so essential to the growth of your business that you do some form of networking. Even leading business owners and influencers continue to network with others.
Working in an organisation presents huge opportunities for you to connect with people that can get you to the next level. Take advantage of this to engage with leaders and influencers in your field, and most importantly, try not to be too sales-y and self-promotional.
Perfect the art of creating value, people you approach will see this and your networking will pay off. It will help you get constructive feedback on your business ideas and would give you the necessary visibility your business would need.
Stop Waiting, Start Doing
Arthur Ashe, a prolific tennis player and 3-time Grand Slam winner said, “Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can. Success is a journey not a destination, the doing is often more important than the outcome”.
Write down a plan as soon as the idea pops up in your head, don’t wait till you feel you’re ready to plan. Stop worrying about financial projections and business models for the time being, work on your business model as you progress. Start with the basics, testing your business offerings with a few clients, listen to feedback and iterate while resolving the flaws in your business model.
Gain as much experience as you need at a 9-5 job, apply this knowledge and progress.
Build up your Perseverance
The thought of being your own boss is tempting to everyone, it’s exciting but entrepreneurship is incredibly gruesome, especially in Nigeria where the ease of doing business is akin to filling up a basket with water. Only the toughest survive longer than two years, I’m sure we all know a story of someone who started a business and it didn’t pan out so well. Your 9-5 will teach you how to be resilient and perseverant.
Stay in paid employment till you are absolutely certain you are ready to take the plunge. Build up your mental strength to get through the inevitable stormy days. Workout regularly, eat healthy and make sure you have a support system of people that you can count on. Pace yourself and focus on the big picture.
In conclusion, entrepreneurship is easier and works best when you already know the ropes of business. It’s best to learn hands on, as long-term success comes with preparation.
Dedicate yourself to your 9-5 job. Understand the processes, pay attention to the things unspoken, that you would not learn in a classroom or on a blog. Pay attention to what works or what doesn’t – and you might find a better way of doing things.
Your goal should be to become a successful, value-creating entrepreneur – keep it to yourself though, please don’t get fired. Remember that your dreams and goals need you to lay the foundation to achieve them, let that motivate to keep you going.