How many times each day do you tell yourself you’d like to work for yourself? You have great ideas on how to run a business. If you worked for yourself, you wouldn’t have to put up with all the headaches you deal with every day. You can be your own boss. Sounds great, right?
You don’t have to quit your job to be an entrepreneur. You can do it from your cramped cubicle. How can you be an entrepreneur if you’re trapped in your day job? Here’s how…
Treat your job as if you were the owner. Yes, I’m serious. If you think of yourself as the owner, on which all of the risk and rewards will fall, you will succeed in your career. You haven’t enjoyed your job because you didn’t think you could ever be in control. No one controls you except you. You can make this happen.
Stick it out for another 12 months and take the following actions. If you are serious about taking action and being an entrepreneur, you will put your maximum effort into these actions. If you find you are not good at these actions or don’t desire to complete the tasks, you probably are not fit to be an entrepreneur anyway.
Sell, sell, sell
Too many technical experts think they should start a business because they are experts in their fields. Don’t make this mistake. Running a business takes many more skills than just being good at providing a service. One of those important skills is selling.
If you’re in a service business, you went into that field because you wanted to focus on that service. Not until later in your career will you realize (or be told) you have a responsibility for selling services. This can be a very uncomfortable activity. It also can be the most fun.
I started in public accounting so I could sit behind a computer all day and not to anyone. That was exciting to me at the time. Now, I know differently. Selling, networking and talking with clients is the most enjoyable aspect of my job. If I had to stop selling, I would quit the business.
This jump from my introverted mindset to being able to talk with people (not extroverted though), took me by surprise. If you can’t make that jump, you’re not ready to run your own business. Instead, sell new services for your current company. You may find you enjoy that process more than anything else.
A business owner or high-level manager, e.g., CEO, has to focus on net income and cash flow. In public accounting, we focus on realization and cash flow. In other words, how much does it cost us to provide a service compared to the fee we charge. Then, how long until we receive payment for the service we provide.
Analyzing numbers is not enjoyable to most people. Do you want to focus on the numbers every day? If you are a numbers person, that will give you a “leg up.” Not only do you have to analyze the numbers to figure out what is and isn’t working, you need to be able to implement changes to speed up cash receipts or increase income (or realization).
How can you do this in your current job? If you work in a service business like public accounting or law, you should be able to get access to this data. If you work for a company that believes in open book management, you should be able to get the data. Other industries may be difficult to get data to perform these functions. However, if you demonstrate to your managers that you want to help increase profits, they will find a way to get you this information.
Change the culture
The most successful companies have great cultures. Look at Google, Amazon, etc. People love working for those companies because of the way they are treated. Sure, there is always a bad seed (are you?) who complains about how things could be better. You can be responsible for changing your company’s culture.
You know what you like and don’t like about your company. You constantly hear about what others like and don’t like. Take your sphere of influence and implement change. Make things better for you and those around you. You don’t even have to be a manager to accomplish this goal. Everyone has the ability to be a change agent.
Start slowly. Don’t try to change the underlying culture of the entire company. Pick one or two things that could be better and make them better. If your company is successful, the base culture is probably a good one. That doesn’t mean that certain areas don’t need improving. You can be responsible for that.
Being responsible for a quality culture is important. If you can’t do that with co-workers, you likely won’t be able to do that with employees. Maybe you’re best suited to be an employee.
Be responsible for customer complaints and questions
If you start a company, you will have to deal with customers. All companies need customers. It’s inevitable. If you are the owner, you need to deal with the customer complaints and questions. If you really want to act like an entrepreneur, start dealing with customers now.
Successfully navigating the customer complaint and question niche will help your career tremendously. You’ll become a hero to those customers if you are able to resolve their problems and answer their questions. You will also be the hero to your boss because he won’t have to deal with the issue any longer.
Maybe you will find out that you do not have the personality for dealing with customer issues. If that is the case, you’re not fit to be an entrepreneur anyway.
Learn what everyone does
A business owner needs to know what everyone in the business does. At first, you will be the one who does everything. As the business grows, you would be able to hire people to do things for which you are not passionate about. However, that will take time.
So, learn what everyone does within your current organization. Ask someone to lunch and find out what he or she does. Spend 10 minutes talking and ask questions about roles and responsibilities. When you understand what someone does, you will be able to help in ways you didn’t before know were possible.
You can sell services the other department performs. You will be seen as a hero for selling services but you won’t increase your work load. You can offer networking opportunities for those in other departments. Everyone should be increasing the quality and size of their networks. You can help with that.
Once you learn about all the different aspects of your current company, ask yourself whether you could do all of those yourself at a startup company. If not, stick with your day job.
Not everyone is fit to be a company founder or CEO. Not everyone is meant to be an employee. Most people will start as an employee. There is nothing wrong with continuing to be an employee the rest of your life if you enjoy what you’re doing. Don’t feel pressured to “climb the corporate ladder” if that isn’t what you want. Don’t feel pressured to start a business just because you’re good at what you do.
You can get a taste of both management and business ownership by being an entrepreneur in your current job. I’ve done it. I treat my career as if I am the owner. I want to be involved in all aspects of the business. It’s one of the reasons I’ve been successful. If you do it, you can see amazing results in your career.
Are you willing to stop complaining about your day and start treating your job as if you were the owner? Are you able to clear your mind of negativity and be positive about your career? Join me in the life of loving what you do and treating every day as if it was on purpose.