• Ian Paul Otero

The Centennials' dilemma: Look for a job or start one?

A few days ago, my teenage nephew told me firmly that he hoped he would never find himself in need of having a boss or having to be accountable, owning his time, and not having to suffer low wages in jobs where little is learned. He had already decided his future... Be an entrepreneur.

I take advantage of this (mistaken) idea that my nephew has and several hundred thousand young people who are about to enter the labor market, to make some reflections.

Let's start from the premise that entrepreneurship has no superior hierarchy over having a job. There is a mistaken perception that to do this you have to give up absolutely everything, not realizing that a previous job could well speed up the process of launching a company. Having a job prior to entrepreneurship is a good idea, basically because of 4 things:

  • Allows you to expand your knowledge and network of contacts. When we develop professional experience and are responsible for the tasks entrusted to us, not only will you put into practice what you have learned in school, but you will also learn from subjects that you had no idea were associated with the operation of a company. In addition, you could meet a potential customer, a supplier or even a future co-founder.

  • Better decisions are made and products and markets can be validated. There is no worse pressure when we start a business than the one that causes the lack of cashflow. Having a job will allow you, at least in an initial cycle, to have a salary that allows you to cover the costs associated with starting a company, as well as, while validating the product and the market, to have resources without putting at risk your savings or what would be worse, that of your friends and family.

  • It allows you to better understand your abilities and also your limitations. When we are in the process of entrepreneurship, we assume that we will have the ability to devise, execute, operate, sell and everything else related to the business. If you have previous professional experience, you will understand that no matter how much it hurts, you don't know everything and you can't handle everything. Having multidisciplinary profiles typically different from ours as co-founders is always a good idea, the best ventures come from the contest of skills and talents.

  • Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. While you don't need credentials or a resume to start a company or to validate an idea that could potentially turn into a business, having previously worked will allow you to realize if entrepreneurship is really for you, because the only thing that is certain is that you will work more, much more in your company than in a job; you will have the most demanding boss of all who is the client; the pay, in the beginning, will be much but much lower than what you can aspire to in one job and the day-to-day pressure will be infinitely higher than what you can suffer in another company.

In short, we live in a rush to become entrepreneurs and that's good; but there is still little awareness of what that implies. I suggest we be aware that working for a company is not bad. On the contrary, it is complementary. The only thing I don't recommend under any circumstances is to press yourself to launch something when the idea is still very diffuse. If you have already passed this stage, validated your business model and your market, decided to go with everything and despite everything with conscience: Start, what are you waiting for!

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