Regardless of when you decide to start your business, there’s always value in taking some time to learn from more seasoned professionals. Working for someone else for a short time can help you build an extensive list of contacts, pick up best practices and learn from leaders in your industry.
“There are job-related functions you are not taught in school and really only learn on the job,” said J. Kelly Hoey, angel investor, speaker and author of “Build Your Dream Network” (TarcherPerigree, 2017) “Why not learn those tasks – and endure the mistakes of doing them wrong – as an employee?”
Additionally, gaining experience in a variety of companies and work environments may help you refine your own ideas about what exactly you want to accomplish. “You may start out in one area only to find you prefer focusing on another element of the work,” said Michelle Garrett of Garrett Public Relations. “As you begin your journey, know there may be twists and turns along the way – and that’s perfectly OK.”
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Finding experienced and trusted advisers who can offer guidance and support will help a new entrepreneur navigate the pitfalls of business development and ownership. “Nothing shortens a learning curve more than someone with been-there-done-that experience,” said Mark Babbitt, founder and CEO of YouTern. “Graduates should find a stable of mentors and build mutually beneficial relationships.”
Mentors are important on so many levels, according to Lindsey Nickel, owner and wedding planner at Lovely Day Events. They can refer you to a job, connect you with a potential client, provide honest and unbiased advice and offer support during challenging times.