Richard Branson: Why Every Budding Entrepreneur Needs a Full-Time Job First
Being and becoming an entrepreneur is no easy task. And for many, leaving a 9-to-5 job to pursue entrepreneurship full time isn’t an option. A job provides stability and steady cash flow -- without these things, most of us can’t support ourselves.
And it also, according to Richard Branson, provides resources for aspiring entrepreneurs to launch their startup career.
“There are many advantages in working a job you like, while still planning to leave one day and run your own company,” the founder of Virgin Group recently wrote on the company’s blog. On top of a sense of stability and financial support that steady employment brings, “it will also enable you to make important contacts that could be valuable later.”
Although that doesn’t mean you should be working just any job that pays the bills. To set yourself up for success as an entrepreneur later in life, according to Branson, you should be in a role and at a company that will benefit you in the future. Where you spend 40 hours of your week should be a place you can grow, learn, expand your network and pick up valuable skills. “Make sure you choose the right employer in an industry that interests you and where the work culture offers freedom and responsibility,” he writes.
Yet, finding the right industry and career path is hard. If you’re not sure where to start, "Ask yourself: Is it based in the industry you’d eventually like to enter? Will your role enable you to challenge yourself? Will your job offer you the freedom and responsibility you need to avoid being frustrated? That last bit is very important. Working for someone else can act as a launch pad for greater things, but choosing the wrong employer can stifle you," advises Branson.
When it comes to entrepreneurship, Branson’s a pretty viable source, and so is his company. Virgin Group loves hiring aspiring entrepreneurs, even if it means they’ll lose them down the line. “We’ve lost plenty of talented people from across the Virgin Group to the draw of entrepreneurship -- and I’ve always supported them in taking the plunge.”
“We try to empower people to feel like they’re their own bosses,” he says, adding, “This strategy encourages employees to think more entrepreneurially and prevents teams from becoming stagnant. After all, entrepreneurs are problem-solvers, and who wouldn’t want a team full of problem-solvers?”