Some college graduates prefer getting a stable job and others prefer starting a business instead. Still others find it difficult to get a job after college and wonder if starting a business is easier to do.
It’s generally a bit of a struggle getting that first job after college. But succeeding in a business is not so easy either. So after completing college, its probably best to keep looking for a job and if you’re passionate about business, just start it on the side without spending much money.
There is no right or wrong answer but if you truly have the passion for business, the best time to give it a try is during college or right after college. But then again, you will not have much experience early on so you need to seriously consider the risks and rewards.
JOB OR BUSINESS AFTER COLLEGE?
There are risks in both having a business and in looking for a job. But in general, once you get a few years of work experience, its generally easier to get another job.
But then again, everyone craves living a life of independence and in having a business in an area he/ she is very passionate about. So its perhaps best to get that work experience started while simultaneously working to get a business off the ground in your spare time.
So here are multiple ways to have a job after completing college, until you can successfully transition to a profitable business full time:
1) Begin working in a startup company so that you can quickly learn the skills for your chosen field. Since there is less process or clearly defined ways of doing things in a startup, its much easier to transition to a business after working in a startup company.
Otherwise if you mistakenly fall for the highs and comfort of working in a large corporation, the corporate politics and the mindset will make it almost impossible for you to ever start a business on your own. And it only gets harder and harder to make the shift to business with the passing years once you have a family and kids relying on your paychecks.
2) So now that you’ve decided to hold a job while continuing to work on a side business, keep seriously working at your startup job during the day. In the evenings and weekends, find a way to start a business, either online or offline depending on what works best for you.
3) Be willing to learn by experimenting and do not expect things to be handed to you in a plate when you work on your business.
4) Be extremely cautious of training scams and tricksters as more than 90% of so called online gurus are scammers who fool desperate professionals into believing that they have an easy and quick way to make money online. Being careful in this one important area can save you many years of wasted time and money!
5) Follow a lean methodology so that you put your effort only in key areas to more efficiently use your time towards profit-generating business activities. Here is more background information on the lean startup methodology for running your own business.
6) Keep constantly tweaking and tracking your business progress and spend as little money as possible on your business until you start making profits.
7) It might take you a few years to successfully move from a job to a profitable business, so keep this long-term view in front of view and do not get dejected or impatient. If your business is in the same field as your job, feel free to include your business experience in your resume and use your general job knowhow for the benefit of your business.
8) Work to actively minimize your living expenses and save your money for any sudden setbacks such as job layoffs. Once you have about 2 years of work experience, figure out how to move from full time to part time job, and towards a full time business.
9) Before completely moving to a full time business, be sure you have at least 6 months of continuous side income from your business that’s sufficient to cover your living expenses.
10) Be prepared for the ups and downs in business and save money and spend less, so as to cover any future business downtime. Once your business starts to seriously take off, continue to keep your feet firmly on the ground, do not get too excited. Treat your business as a science that you need to perfect and be in a state of constant and consistent learning.
STARTING BUSINESS & FINDING PARTNERS IN COLLEGE
If the situation permits, you can get started on your business during your college years. Many highly successful entrepreneurs have been known to start their business during college and many of them found their business partners during college or school. This includes companies such as Facebook, Microsoft and Yahoo!.
College is the perfect time to launch a business. Its a time when a person’s energy and motivation to succeed are very high and when these college entrepreneurs give everything they have to make their business successful.
ADVANTAGES OF BUSINESS IN OR AFTER COLLEGE
These are the main advantages of starting a business during or after college:
1) As a new college graduate, you will have no responsibilities or family to take care of, so its easier to take the chance of starting a business.
2) There’s no need to wait to finish college, you can even start the business on the side while still studying in college.
3) When you’re younger, your energy level and motivation will be high so its a great time for working hard to make your business successful.
4) You will have financial support from family and its much easier to find mentors to guide you when you’re younger and especially when you’re a college student. As you get older, there will be less people who will be interested in mentoring you.
5) You can network with your college professors and fellow students for business opportunities. There might even be entrepreneurship workshops and training courses in college. These can be motivating and full of the right tools for starting a business.
6) Though getting a business off the ground initially is no piece of cake, once your business becomes profitable, the chances of making even more money are pretty good! You will not be limited by a set salary or paycheck any longer.
7) Since running a business will push you to master multiple skill areas such as product development, marketing and customer service, this will simultaneously help build you a strong resume for job prospects.
BENEFITS OF HAVING A JOB
These are the advantages of getting a job after college:
1) To pay for your college, your parents might have given you some money and you might have had to take student loans as well. So taking a job after college will allow you to start paying off your loans. Your parents will also be relieved to see you earning a job income and will be happy to know that their sacrifices for you have paid off!
2) If your job is in the same field of your college major and the area that you find interesting, you can learn the tools of the trade quickly at a job, especially in a startup company.
3) The other areas of your life such as getting a car, perhaps marriage or buying a home can proceed normally without any delays.
4) You can build good contacts and network with key people in your field in your first job or two. These contacts will be very valuable to you when you start your own business and are looking for your first few customers.
5) You will have social acceptance and your friends, acquaintances and extended family will not constantly gossip about you or consider you a loser. Having a decent job will help to shut them all up.
6) You will get medical, term life and retirement benefits at a stable job. Just be sure to not take these for granted, so you will be able to make the switch to having a business later on.
Running a business will present many challenges as follows:
1) Since a majority of your friends and college classmates will focus on a job, things can sometimes get a bit lonely when running your own business. This is especially so in the first few critical years before you start to become profitable.
To better handle this challenge of loneliness, some business founders find their business partners early on during their college years.
Once the profits and revenue start coming in consistently, you will likely do some hiring and have employees working for your business.
2) Running a business can be emotionally and physically challenging. It can seem frustrating in the beginning when no matter what you do, the business growth might still be slower than you would expect. This might likely continue until the brand in well established in the minds of your customers.
So in the initial stages of running your business, its important that you have good mentors and family/friends to encourage and motivate you. This is when you need the most loyal and trustworthy of people to help you keep at it until you cross the boundaries of success!
No wonder so many businesses start as partnerships where the key business partners go back as far as their early college days or even schooling years.
3) Funding and money for business operations will be in short supply in the initial years. This is likely to force you to do most of the work yourself, whether it be market research, sales and marketing, forming the business structure or even accounting/ bookkeeping and so on.
Working 12 or more hours a day with less weekend breaks and less sleep can add up very quickly. So eat healthy and learn to take smaller breaks every now and then. By doing this you will have good physical and mental health, and you will also have some time for your family.
4) When you’re younger, there will be many skills you need to learn and so many things which are new to you. Just take this on the stride and keep learning.
Over a period of time, learning new things regularly will become natural to you.
CAREER MISTAKES TO AVOID AT ALL COST
1) Do not take a low paying job in a field that’s unrelated to your chosen profession just to pay off your loans. This one mistake can set you back for life. Keep striving for the right job in your chosen field. It’s better to be unemployed and working on a side business (while continuing to interview for your right job/ break), rather than making this critical mistake of taking a lower paying menial job.
When you’re younger, your parents will be able to help you until you get that 1st job. Also, by carefully avoiding student loans, you will not feel forced to earn an income at the wrong job out of the stress and pressure of having to repay your loans.
2) Freelancing might sometimes help you build more business contacts but in my personal experience, there are many managers of large companies who give better quality work to their employees than their contractors. So look for freelancing assignments only if you expect to build good work experience with it.
FACT CHECK ON JOB APPLICANTS
There is generally an oversupply of candidates for most occupations that require a college degree. This situation makes it even harder for a new college graduate to find employment in their chosen profession.
Therefore, it is risky for a new college graduate to not have a side business while actively looking for their first job/ career break. In addition to developing more of your skills as an entrepreneur, it will also enable you to present a more authoritative resume to prospective employers.
WAYS TO SECURE YOUR FUTURE AFTER COLLEGE
1) Start a side business while studying in college if possible.
2) Be on the lookout for internships during college so as to build some industry experience before college graduation.
3) When you’re right out of college, consider volunteer positions related to your occupation that give you an opportunity to help your local community. In addition to helping you to build up your resume, it could give you access to managers and company contacts in your local community.
4) Attend career workshops and work on constantly improving the content, format and presentation of your resume. For more on creating an unbeatable resume, have a look at this post on Resume Examples For College Graduates.