Working life is changing radically, that is not news. Careers are diverse and divided into multiple phases. One’s ‘shelf life’ in an organisation only gets shorter. A person might have several employers at the same time. One of them might offer a job – but only if the person has their own company. That could be their lucky break.
As an entrepreneur, you have learned invaluable working skills for the future. It does not have to be a one million euro business, as a self-employed entrepreneur develops many skills that are important skills in the future. Let’s think a bit.
Attitude. As an entrepreneur, you need to identify your skills and sell them, see opportunities, network, and be able to take risks. This is no different for life in a corporate. Surely they would want their employees to act this way. There is no such an industry or company, which can survive by thinking “we have always done it this way”. Change is daily and companies need to be able to create new business models, processes and always look at their way of working.
Responsibility. As an entrepreneur, you are taking what you are giving. If you do not deliver on time with the right quality of service, you lose a customer. I do not think you can afford to do it twice. When you are an employee, you also need to be able to deliver the tasks, that have been given to you.
An entrepreneur is independent. You learn to organise your tasks, prioritise them and take care of your own time. Nobody will help you with this. On the other hand, as an independent employee, you would have the reputation of being efficient and organised, and you would have the skills to see the wood from the trees.
How about collaboration skills, networking and working in teams then? You cannot have a business without the ability to work with other people, different customers, different projects and all sorts of teams. You have learned to communicate, discuss, negotiate, listen and compromise. Sure, you would also learn to understand when you need ask for help. That would not be a bad skill as an employee either, right?
Goal-oriented. When you work for your customer you need to have a bright idea of your work. You also need to be able to define, describe and communicate it so that you and your customer share the understanding of the goal. This is also related to project working skills. Sometimes your goal is big and complicated and it needs to be divided to the smaller pieces (how do you eat an elephant?).
Finally yet importantly you learn to understand how business works. Where does the money come from and where does it go? How much do you need to work to be able to pay yourself a monthly salary. Yes, you can outsource your accounting but you still have to understand a little bit of ‘the numbers’. When working for a company it would not do any harm to understand more than a little bit about core business process and numbers.
It is very important to have the opportunity to learn these skills in practice and to be able to define one’s strengths in order to understand what you they can offer for a customer or how to develop a business idea. At Haaga-Helia StartUp School we offer exactly these kinds of services in order for the student to find the entrepreneur within and to learn the much needed entrepreneurial skills either to use in working life or to start their own business.
Päivi Williams is Service Design Lead of StartUp School. She leads and develops StartUp School’s offering and coach network. She experiments new pedagogical ideas in StartUp School and is enthusiastic about modern functional teaching methods.
StartUp School course Light Entrepreneurship helps you learn more how to work as a self-employed entrepreneur in Finland. Check StartUp Schools’ offering.