Life after college: the world of work
After all of the studying, test-taking, paper writing, and internships, it’s time to switch gears and you have two options: Get a good Job or start your own Business?
How do you know which is better?
The majority of us choose a job as a career for the following reasons:
- No Business Background (Your Parents are not business owners)
- Quick Monthly Income and Secure Source
- Responsibilities of Paying the monthly bills
- To Start Making Money for Future Investment
- To Prove Oneself in a Specific Field & Learn More On field.
And many of us start a business for the following reasons:
- Family runs a Business (Your family owns a business)
- You’re not so good at academics & want to start a business
- You want to be your own Boss
- You want to earn more money
Consider the following questions, and revisit them often to understand the path you want to take:
- What do you love to do? (Your interests)
- What are you good at? (Your skills)
- What do you like to spend your days doing? What is your long term goal? (Your values)
So, answering all the above questions will help you figure out what you want to do career wise. Remember, not one choice suits all. Both Job and Business have their pros & cons.
The career choice you make should be something that you are passionate about. Something that you want to devote time and energy to. Something that you are willing to work hard at and commit to so that, you continue to learn and get better at it.
If you are still confused which option to choose, go ahead and Find a Mentor. Get advice from your family & good friends. Remember, Not all people around you will give you the right advice. So, be smart when taking advice from others. Tip: Go through all of your contacts such as family, friends & friends of friends, see if you can find someone who’s already had success doing a business. See if you can find just the right mentor for you amongst them.
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Before we talk more on Job vs. Business, let’s understand the scenario from the Indian Student’s perspective:
There exists a distinct set of life process you need to follow in any Indian society you live in.
It goes something like this-
21–25 Either do a job or prepare for IAS/GATE/CAT/GRE or etc. (Join a Family Business)
25 Get Married
25 years 9 months Have kids
26–60 Raise your kids, Provide them education… and help them settle down. That’s it.
If the Above Cycle Continues, We will end up making our children live the same life You have lived, and I am sure they are not going to be too thrilled about it.
By Nature, We Indians are more family oriented and enjoy taking responsibilities. To serve these purposes we need a regular source of Income, it may not be huge but has to be a regular one. This requirement eliminates the risk taking capacity to start a business as most businesses will not give you profits overnight.
So, we Indians, prefer the safe option, and that is choosing a job over doing a business. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with having a job as a career. Many of us have taken up jobs and it’s really good.
Doing a job or being employed offers you a:
- A monthly paycheck.
- Set working hours and holidays.
- To be told exactly what you need to do (most times).
- Medical/Hospital Insurance for Family from the Company.
- Great career opportunities if you put in the hard/smart work.
“As an employee, you have access to the company’s resources. You can usually assume your manager or someone else will take care of details and problems that get in your way,” “In a brand-new enterprise, it’s just you doing everything — while being under intense pressure to produce results.”
Skills like Leadership, Initiative, Analytical ability, etc. are considered as Entrepreneurial skills, but these can help you excelling & rise through the ranks at your job as well.
Not everyone is cut out for entrepreneurship, just as not everyone is cut out to be an artist or an actor or do a particular job.
I’ve met a lot of people that were very happy with their jobs and loved what they did, but still wanted to start their own business. Perhaps it was the need to feel like they could do something bigger and more meaningful with their lives and make more money and have more freedom too.
As an entrepreneur, you’re always on call, including nights, weekends, and holidays,” “You will have to miss a lot of birthdays and events of a lot of family members and friends.” In a sense, you have to marry with your company. If you think you can do it then go for it or else better look for a job.
Having said that, many entrepreneurs say the long hours they invest in growing their business doesn’t feel like work because they’re actually having fun in what they’re doing. When you work at a job, you tend to get pretty good at the one thing you do. But when you run a business, you acquire a whole new set of skills.
In my case, I worked as a writer for one of my previous companies and only made content that they asked me for.
But when I started running my own company, I became the accountant, marketer, lead salesman, finance dept, admin dept and a whole lot more. I learned more in one year of running my own business than I did working 5 years at a company.
In fact, the marketing skills I developed while running my company gave me opportunities that are STILL paying dividends literally and figuratively. I would never have learned any of it if I had stayed an employee writing articles. There was no need to as the company had a separate sales team.
Challenges we face in starting up a business:
While starting a business is a dream that many of us have, but most of us never do it, because we don’t even know where to start? It seems risky and we sometimes get overwhelmed.
How society discourages an Indian from starting up
I meet a lot of people who want to start up, but something is stopping them. It is society. Society is not a single person but it is the collective thought process of all the people around you.
When you say that you want to pursue your graduation in arts and literature, everyone around probably looks at you like you are a failure in life. If you are among the top ten performers in your class, everyone is shocked to hear that you are considering a career in Arts. “Beta, agar engineering/medicine nahi lena toh commerce he kar lo”. (If you don’t want to opt for engineering or medicine, then at least study commerce).
The same things happen to entrepreneurs, as starting up is a risky career move with 90 per cent probability of failure. When a guy from a middle-class family considers leaving his job to start a company, people think it’s a career suicide.
Only a few communities like Gujaratis, Marwaris, Sindhis, and Muslims have their generations work together & grow their family businesses. The Parents push their children to learn the family business and the kids naturally become born business men/women.
There’s no question that owning your own business is a risky proposition. But, with risk comes reward. Said another way, the better you are at managing risk, the more rewards you can reap.
Let’s jot down some of the downsides of both a job and owning your own business:
– You feel like your life isn’t going anywhere as you repeat the same routine over and over again for years
– You spend most of your time working and you know that you’ll continue to do so until you’re old
– You feel like you’ll never have enough money because there is a rather obvious limit on how much you can make each year
– It’s scary as hell because you don’t know what you’re doing and aren’t sure what to do next
– You end up working longer and harder than everyone else. And sometimes for less money.
– Nights, weekends, holidays… just another day to get caught up with work
Let’s jot down the brighter sides of both a job and starting your own business:
– A job provides more security. Lose your job and you can find another one. Lose your business and it’s difficult to build another one.
– A Steady income source. If you are someone who does not have the temperament to handle financial insecurity, then having a job is right for you.
– Fewer Headaches. You don’t have to pay attention to every minute detail of all the departments.
– Unlimited experience. With a job your experience is limited. As a business owner, the sky’s the limit.
– Greater control over your own time. You can get things done by setting-up your own schedule.
– You control your own destiny. If you value your freedom, then a business beats a job HANDS DOWN.
Three formulae going around these days are:
- Become an entrepreneur in or straight out of college: It is a good idea to pursue if you are really keen on entrepreneurship– you have a lot of time to learn from mistakes, access to like-minded people, and time to pursue your startup with not a lot of other responsibilities.
- Work for a few years and then start up: Again, an excellent option as you have contacts in the industry, already have a team in place, and of course, you are financially independent.
- Freelancing – Freelancing is basically working for yourself without having any company or boss. You choose your own timings and your own rates. It is the best way to earn some money while you’re studying or doing a job or even have “freelancing” as a career option.
When it comes to education and careers, remind yourself often that each of us has our own unique journey. Don’t be afraid to live yours, and don’t fear change along the way. Think big, work hard, tap into your passion, and stay open-minded as you pursue your path.
You should choose to do what YOU want to do as it relates to YOUR goals. No one is born for a job or business. Given a career of 35-40 years, you can try both and see what fits you better.
A business gives you the greatest opportunity to live life to its fullest. You get the chance to earn more money. But more than that, a business gives you the opportunity to live life ON YOUR TERMS. This kind of freedom is also possible when you do a job & you’re willing to give more than 100% without thinking of rewards, you select just the right companies, do your work honestly & stick with them for a longer period of time. Make smart career moves along the way like pursue the right education/courses that are relevant to your job profile.
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