So many people are fed up with their corporate jobs and seek to start their own business. You want to get out on your own for your passion project or the thing you know will bring in more money than working in the corporate world. Entrepreneurship is calling. I get it! Been there and done that. What most people don’t realize is that you can learn a lot about starting a business from your corporate job. Embrace what you have while you wait because there are so many lessons to be learned and used from your current position on your entrepreneurial journey.
When I started my own business I didn’t necessarily see myself leaving the corporate world. I always thought that I would be a professional and a professional side hustler at the same time. Well, the funny thing is that I’ve changed my mind. Throughout my corporate life, I have been receiving all of these opportunities to learn about business without always knowing they’re setting me up for my future goals.
Let me explain!
Many of the concepts I’ve learned in the corporate world are transferable to running my own business when it comes to the overall idea of entrepreneurship. For example, if you are in customer service, you should be soaking up all of the training you’re receiving from your current job in order to best serve your customers at your own company in the future. If you’re responsible for training at your corporate job, learn to be the best at it because you will eventually be training your own staff.
Here are some of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in my corporate career that have played a hand in starting my own business.
During my time in business development, I was fortunate enough to take a Dale Carnegie sales class. If you know anything about Dale Carnegie, then you know the classes are informative, powerful and…expensive. This 8 week, $1,800 series was not something my little pockets could pay for at the time. Let’s be honest, I would struggle to pay that now!
The workshops in this series taught me public speaking skills, how to close a sale, how to network, and even the proper guidelines for following up with a lead. Of course, all these skills were necessary for the role I held with my previous employer. But it as paid off – A LOT. These skills translated very well into my current role. In my own business, I have the know-how and the confidence to pitch clients and land successful deals. Everything I learned was worth its weight in gold.
Even if it’s not a Dale Carnegie class, I encourage everyone to take a sales course in order to learn how to present yourself and close any deal!
What’s that Jay-Z lyric? Oh yeah. “Numbers don’t lie.” As a business owner, it is imperative to know how to analyze data. You have to know your past, current, and future standings. Whether you’re looking at your business revenue or the results of your services, you have to know!
The proof is in the pudding. When you can show the results in numbers, it helps close the pitch and also demonstrates the success of your efforts. For example, if I can show my clients that I’ve been able to successfully grow their social media accounts by a certain percentage within a specific time frame and that I’m meeting the goals we’ve set, that gives the client an idea of my importance and value to their business. This is why they NEED me and need to keep PAYING me. Understand what I’m saying?
Networking is like going to the gym. You hate it, you don’t want to do it, but you push through and make it there anyway. Go you! Sometimes you complain through the workout but, when you leave, there is a feeling of accomplishment. If you network and make a good connection – even just one – it feels even better.
I had the opportunity to go to as many networking events as I wanted in a previous position. This opportunity taught me the art of climbing social ladders and developing genuine business relationships.If you have the opportunity to network or even take meetings with those you typically wouldn’t have a chance to interact with at your company, do it! That person or group of people may be a huge benefit to the business you will run in the future.
Knowing how to network is also a great idea because it gives you a chance to expand your knowledge from those outside of your lane. As an entrepreneur, your favorite kind of person needs to people who help people. And you need to be one. What connections are you making? What opportunities are you taking? How are you constantly learning?
Now, put these things to task
These three areas of opportunity are just topics I stumbled upon. I wasn’t focused on entrepreneurship at the time. Now, I specifically ask to see what I need to know. For example, I now have a pretty good relationship with someone in the marketing department at work. I plan to ask this person to take the time to go over Facebook ads with me. I need to dive into this particular world and the information is sitting right there for FREE! You know I’m not going to pass up that opportunity.
Don’t be scared to ask. If something you want or are interested in is outside of your current role, volunteer and give a helping hand in the area you wish to discover. Everybody needs help and by helping you’ll learn more. In this case, you’d be doing someone a favor in rturn by helping with their workload (and doing yourself a favor in the learning department, too).
I say all this to say that the business or businesses you currently work for had to start somewhere, just like you. They are most likely using tried and true tactics when it comes to hitting business goals (and if they’re not, it may be time for you to seek a new opportunity!). Your journey is your journey for a reason. Don’t miss the gems in front of you by being an antsy pants and only negative about your corporate job. Think big picture and beyond the desk you’re sitting at. Take it all in and focus on learning the things that will ultimately make you the greatest success at your business.