In the last edition, we began to identify small steps to becoming an entrepreneur as an employee. Your clock begins to tick the day you resume duty. You are in a race against time, and cannot afford to be slack.
We have examined four steps. You have questioned your motivation. You are building your self-belief. You are learning to scale back your lifestyle. You have a career exit plan early in your career.
You are not going to be an employee forever. One day, you will resign, retire or be fired. Learning these small steps will equip you with answers to the questions you may be asking in the future.
#5: Do not make an enemy of your boss
“My boss is a wicked person!” “I hate my supervisor with passion.” “I am ready to pick a fight with my boss and resign.” Becoming adversarial with your boss? You should refrain from travelling the route.
There are professional ways to manage difficult bosses. Engaging them as an enemy is not an option. Ever heard of ‘stoop to conquer’? Be assertive. Learn the secret of the trade from your boss: that is why he or she is the supervisor.
#6: You may need your last employer
The marketplace is a small orbit which revolves round few people and principles. You must find a place in the orbit through all legitimate platforms to make an impact. Your last employer is one of such platforms.
Experience has shown that your last employer may likely be your first client except if your exit is adversarial. You should, therefore, maintain a good working relationship with your last employer to the end.
Don’t burn the bridges behind you.
#7: Add value to your current employer
If you want to become an entrepreneur, you should not ruin the relationship with your current employer. You have an obligation to work hard when serving others. There is no room for half measures because they are counterproductive.
The way you work for other people will translate to become ingrained habit and working lifestyle when you start working for yourself.
The passion, devotion and commitment you show in other people’s work will become valuable assets you need to succeed in your own business in the future.
#8: Moonlighting is unprofessional
Contrary to popular practice, moonlighting is not professional. Moonlighting is holding a second job, typically secretly and at night, in addition to one’s regular employment. It contravenes the spirit and letters of your employment contract. You cannot use your employer’s time to pursue personal business.
Ironically, some misguided office workers in our part of the world are culpable. They give excuse that their salaries are inadequate to cater to their needs. This justification sounds logical but is professionally and ethically wrong.
If you want to avoid the heartaches that moonlighting brings you as an employee and succeed as an entrepreneur in the future, you should not indulge in the practice. You should be courageous enough to step out and do your own business instead of denying your employer the benefits of your full potentials.
#9: Make coalition of allies work
You will not grow your career and future capabilities as an entrepreneur in isolation of your environment, market, opportunity and the economy you operate in.
In addition to building goodwill and developing your network, you should build a coalition of potential allies for the future. You should explore your colleagues at work, old students associations, social and religious groups as well as volunteer groups.
#10: No alternative to experience
You should take the plunge to become an entrepreneur only when you are ready. There is no need to be in a hurry. Some employees quit their jobs out of anger and decide to work for themselves.
Frustrations and regrets will ruin your chances when bills mount and family responsibilities pressure. You should stay as long as you can learn and are sure you are ready to take the plunge.
#11: Be an intrapreneur
You should begin to prepare yourself from within the organisation where you work now. You are not a worker but an intrapreneur who approaches his or her job with the diligence of an internal consultant and change champion.
If you are able to successfully work as an apprentice entrepreneur with your employer, you will make it when you set out for yourself.
#12: Network and build goodwill
You meet people every day. These people come your way for a purpose: the future. You should not underestimate the power of networking to build goodwill. You should socialise to build network and goodwill.
It is easier to do business when people know you as an established professional in your chosen field of endeavour. Your membership of professional organisations and involvement in community service will also boost your visibility.
Do your reality check
These twelve small steps are some of the sound guidelines any employee who intends to quit his or her paid employment to start a business requires. You should not take the plunge without a reality check.