5 Lessons Corporate Taught Me About Entrepreneurship
Many people think that their job is in the way of their dreams and that they'd have more time to focus on their craft and dreams if they were a full time entrepreneur. I understand that feeling all too well, but this is not always true. What I've discovered is the silver lining for all of my aspiring full time entrepreneurs who still rock their 9 to 5.
If you're frustrated with your current position, this blog is for you. If you are interested in understanding what you have at your exposure by working for someone else, this blog is for you. If you want to know what I've learned about business, this blog is also for you.
You see, many of us need to learn that we hold the pen that writes our story. We just need to change the narrative. (Tweet that!) We have the power to write a different story and don't realize it.
While I spent years complaining about working for someone else, I was picking up more strategies for my business than I'd realized. I remember having a full blown anxiety attack at work and telling my supervisor that "I am not supposed to be here. I am too creative for this. I am supposed to be doing something else". I said that and to this day, I see that I was learning a lesson. That's why I am sharing what I know here:
Lesson #1: There are several resources at my exposure
You know those meetings we all think could've been emailed? That is one lesson we can all take into consideration for our business. In fact, it was one of the first things I knew I was not going to do whenever I decide to build a team for my brand. One thing I hate is to waste my time and meetings that could've been emailed is one of those things I had no control over at work. So, in my business I will do better.
On the same token, there are meetings and people that I'd taken a liking to and learned a lot from along the way before starting my business. If you have the opportunity to attend company meetings that discuss the overview of the company or direction the company or department plans to go, do so wisely.
If you have opportunity to get close to someone in the marketing or HR department, do so wisely.
Here's my best advice:
Befriend someone in marketing or HR
Every job I've had, I've gotten close with someone in HR. I consider myself very personable and for some reason I've had the opportunity to build friendships with HR personnel. The benefits I've received by befriending someone in human resources is beyond helpful to my business. I've learned a lot about speaking (which I am still terrified to do), email newsletters and communication, business books and resources along with business etiquette strategies.
In marketing, I've learned about color psychology, some social media marketing, data analysis and very little graphic design. All encounters have been beneficial.
Listen closely in company meetings
I used to work for an automotive retailer and membership gym as a Bank analyst and Accountant. Both used to have quarterly meetings about where the company was, is and wants to go. When I decided to learn the thought process of the vice presidents, controllers, and managers, I begin to apply those same thoughts to my business.
These meetings allowed me to understand trends when analyzing data. Understanding data at a basic level was way better than not knowing my numbers in business. Almost every business has its peak season and trend. Learning to listen at company meetings taught me to listen to my market using data.
Enjoy company training websites
Most huge companies have universities with an array of options for you to learn from. If you happen to work for a popular brand or company, ask a manager or someone who would be knowledgeable about online training. Most of these kinds of company sites are called intranets made for internal use only. If and when you access the training, look for subjects that interest you that could be beneficial to your business, future, and take the classes.
If you look closer to the things you love and hate about your job, you will learn what to do and what not to do in your business. You may be able to adopt and apply some strategies just as I did.
Lesson #2: It's never personal, just business
Harsh truth: At the end of the day, I am just a number. So are you.
You may be a loyalist to your employer and your employer may take good care of you. The reality is that you're just a social security number in a seat. If you leave the company, the company has to replace you. Your employer can lay you off at any time for many business related reasons. Let's say the market changed and they need to combine several processes under one or a few employees to decrease company expenses. Their resolution is to lower payroll expenses. Their decision isn't personal but your position will need to be disposed of in order to keep the business going.
Even if there is some unfair treatment between you and management, remember that it's not your company and you can be replaced at any time. This is the reality of working for others. I am not inferring that you don’t take your position seriously because of this. I want you to start looking at yourself as an asset to the company. This brings me to my next key point.
Lesson #3: I am a powerful asset
Employees, good employees, are great assets to a company. Based off my last point, you have to think of yourself as an asset that contributes to the company's mission and goals.
Start looking at the company as your own and take all the lessons in. It's never personal and even if unfortunate things happen like a horrible employee/employer relationship, it will not be the last job and life will move on. Again, you are an asset. It's not personal, it's just business.
Lesson #4: My employer is my financial investor
Living paycheck to paycheck is never fun. Most of us who eat out and snack all the time find extra money to do so. We just throw money away.
This is US all week:
It's important to find every disposable coin and save to achieve a business goal that we have.
Ladies: Hair, nails and makeup are a must, but there are always alternatives to stay beautiful and invest in long lasting beauty that help us save for our business.
Fellas: Getting the car detailed, buying ladies drinks, going out to eat are fun but again, there are always alternatives to having fun and looking good. Find ways to save to invest in your business.
What corporate taught me is to use every disposable coin I've had and invest in resources and things I needed for business while income was steady. If you eat out every day of the week or even 2-3 times per week, you have most likely lost money. Perhaps this money could’ve been invested back in your business.
Lesson #5: Embrace the journey
I've been the angry employee who just didn't get what I had at my exposure. I've also taken a few leaps in attempt to get away from the frustration of working for someone else. I was young and couldn't see the gold I had in front of me. I had to take a look at the bigger picture and understand that the lessons are in the journey. Every employer I've had taught me something regardless of the experience.
So if you're frustrated with your position of working for someone else, figure out a way to get the lessons you need. Remember, you are there for a reason. You have to grab the lessons set for you so you can move on to better things.
Working for someone else is not a bad thing. It teaches you how to treat your team or employees with your own business. It also shows you what not to do.
My personal opinion about the corporate world is that it can be a snake, political, and suffocating for a creative. It can also be rewarding and one of the best experiences you'll have. The corporate world is a great teacher. You'll meet some of the most beautiful souls. You may meet some of the most evil people there as well. You may meet a mentor. You may meet your lover too, who knows? You can grow into a promising career, have an amazing boss and still lose your job. It is unpredictable but nevertheless, very rewarding if you want it to be.
What I have truly learned is to take care of me and the needs of my family first. I've learned to remember the bottom line when it comes to overextending myself to a company at the expense of my health needs and the needs of my family. Most importantly, I've learned to do a great job in any position I have and utilize my resources while I have them at my exposure.
Do you hate your job? Have you ever considered finding your silver lining? I encourage you to do so.