In 2019, the idea of the American dream might seem a little bit archaic. In fact, the new millennium has given us numerous reasons to reconsider exactly what this phrase means. But whatever your background or political stripe, we can all agree that what defines America is the ability for anyone to work their way up from nothing and pursue their own idea of happiness.
While the idea of the American dream still has an allure for entrepreneurs around the world, the reality is that America’s laissez-faire capitalism and general pro-business culture creates a dog-eat-dog environment that any new business is going to have to work to survive in. Any experience that you can get before you actually go as far as starting your own business is valuable and worthwhile.
But how exactly do you go about getting experience? After all, you don’t want to settle in with another business if your plan is to open your own, right? Well, actually, opportunities abound for eager entrepreneurs who want to sharpen their skills. If you want to gain some experience prior to starting your own business, and we strongly recommend that you do, here are some of the simplest ways.
Get a Part-Time Job in Your Chosen Role
If you are a student, studying for an MBA or similar degree, any part-time work that you can fit around your studies will provide you with invaluable experience. If you aren’t able to work in the exact role that you are aiming for, look for something that will provide you with a similar or relevant experience. Some people prefer to work multiple part-time jobs rather than a single full-time job. Part-time work tends to be more flexible, so it is usually easier to arrange your life around a part-time work schedule.
Actually, working in a particular role, or a similar role, will give you the most accurate picture possible of the work environment that you are aiming to one day working. Even if you diligently research the role before you apply, there will always be things that can only be learned on the job. If you take on part-time work and discover that the role you were hoping for is not right for you, you can adjust your course early.
Talk to Your Target Audience
Even if you come up with the idea to start your own business on a whim, you shouldn’t proceed without careful planning. Entrepreneurs who don't take the time to plan adequately beforehand run into all sorts of problems, often not long after they've started their own business venture. One of the most important aspects of this preparatory work is identifying your target demographic. These are the people that you will be selling your products and services to.
The better you understand your target demographic, the easier you will find it to sell to them. You can't really do too much research with regards to your target audience, the more you know the better equipped you will be. It is worth taking the time to not only identify your target audience in the abstractbut to actually go and meet them physically. Byactually talking to them and interacting with them, you will learn things about them that cold and impersonal market research will miss.
Study a Relevant Degree
There is a whole universe of business degrees out there today that, thanks to the internet, is accessible to just about anyone. No matter what sort of business you hope to start, or what industry do you intend to enter, there are business degrees out there that will be of use to any entrepreneur. A business degree will enable you to hone a variety of skills, many of which will have applications in your life beyond your business.
If you think that business degree is synonymous with MBA, think again. While the MBA is still a useful degree to have, it is far from the only game in town. Your choices range from a supply chain management online degree, like the masters in supply chain management from Kettering University Online, to agricultural degrees that train students to manage farmland.
Similarly, if you want to work in the tech industry then, as well as the usual business and computing options, there are a growing number of degrees that combine both, such as indie game development courses. This is a pattern that you will find repeated in a number of other fields as well businesses love it when universities churn out students who are already proficient in their trade. As a result, they sponsor numerous courses at universities around the world. One of the benefits of this is an increase in the variety of business courses on offer.
Ask Someone With Experience
There are many jobs and careers that you can’t simply walk into. Even the MBA requires that you already have some pretty significant management experience under your belt. In these circumstances, the next best thing is to ask someone who does have the first-hand experience. They will be able to give you the inside scoop on what day-to-day life is like when working in the role you’re aspiring to.
If you can find anyone who has not only worked in the field that you will be entering but has also launched their own business in similar circumstances, they will provide an ideal reference point and will be able to give you the kind of insight that you need to set your business off on the right foot.
The more experience you can accrue before you start your own business, the better your chances of success will be. Starting a business is never easy, but it is a challenge that can be overcome. Gaining experience, even in a job that is only tangentially related to the business you want to start, can put your mind and ease and give your confidence. If you are hesitant about starting a business because there are gaps in your understanding of the industry, gaining experience will help you to fill them.