My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.

Starting a Business

Why Bartending and Other Odd Jobs Can Help You Start a Business

Why Bartending and Other Odd Jobs Can Help You Start a Business
Image credit: Shutterstock
Guest Writer
President of Peter S. Cohan & Associates
3 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You might have started your first company when you were 14 or you might have spent 25 years at a big corporation and are now considering whether you should startup. Deciding when to become an entrepreneur is different for every person.

Research suggests that the right time to become an entrepreneur, on average, is after you have 10 years of work experience -- ideally, at a well-regarded company. The logic for waiting 10 years is that in this time, you will develop the skills to get a startup off the ground, meet people who can help and identify opportunities.

In my case, I enjoyed some entrepreneurial success when I was in college. I took a summer course at Harvard's architecture school, but the real value I got from Harvard that summer was a Masters' in Mixology (MM) degree.

I'm not kidding. Harvard offered a course that taught students how to mix various drinks. For my final exam, I had to mix a Mai Tai for the instructor.

That fall, I decided I would start a bartending business. Wielding my Harvard MM, I spoke with people sponsoring on-campus parties and offered to buy the alcohol for the parties, take delivery, mix drinks, and return the extras to the liquor stores. Nobody else was doing that and it was lucrative.

But after college and business school, I followed a more traditional career path and got a job at a consulting firm, hoping to rise up through the ranks to become CEO. While I was able to survive getting a new boss about every 12 to 18 months, I had no clue how I would make my way up the organization. As far as I could tell, there was something called "corporate politics" and I did not know how to navigate it.

When I left corporate America in 1995, I realized that my entrepreneurial activities in college were good practice for starting my company. But without my experience in consulting in corporate America, I might have lacked the skills and self-knowledge to know what to do.

In short, I became an entrepreneur 10 years after I earned my MBA. But maybe what really happened was that I had an entrepreneurial mindset well before then and it took a few more years for me to feel comfortable enough to take the risk of starting a company.

If you have proven to yourself that you can create and seize opportunities, you have the right mindset, regardless of where you are in life. Depending on your skills and interests, it might take schooling and 10 years of experience to get to the point where you're ready to take the entrepreneurial plunge. Or you might be ready right now.

More from Entrepreneur

Terry's digital marketing expertise can help you with campaign planning, execution and optimization and best practices for content marketing.
Book Your Session

In as little as seven months, the Entrepreneur Authors program will turn your ideas and expertise into a professionally presented book.
Apply Now

Are you paying too much for business insurance? Do you have critical gaps in your coverage? Trust Entrepreneur to help you find out.
Get Your Quote Now

Latest on Entrepreneur