Unless you founded a lucrative chain of lemonade stands at the age of five, chances are, you’ve had jobs in your life other than “entrepreneur”. Lucky for you, there are relevant skills and lessons to take from every position, no matter how small.
Here are just a handful of the many careers that may have (unknowingly) set you up for success:
Let’s face it; whether it’s a minor injury or a life-or-death situation, nobody enters the hospital in a blissful state. In a time of crisis, a nurse is responsible for simultaneously gathering pertinent information and offering appropriate support. Talk about multitasking. Nurses come to work with no blueprint of the workday - just an open mind and bottomless compassion. They meet a myriad of people from different walks of life and treat each one with care and consistency.
This flexibility and ability to think on your feet are crucial in the startup world, when no two days look the same. We like to call this initiation, or the willingness to dive right into an opportunity rather than waiting around for the 'right time.' Furthermore, the ability to connect with a wide variety of humans is indicative of emotional intelligence, a major predictor of effective workplace performance.
If you assume that the hustle and bustle of a busy eatery doesn’t pertain to entrepreneurship, think again. The people tirelessly serving you your food have valuable experience that you can’t get from behind a desk: face-to-face customer interaction.
Whether it’s comping payment for an unsatisfactory steak or memorizing a regular’s complex order, the best restaurant workers make each customer feel like the most important person in the room.
In the business world, excellent service is essential for not only recruiting customers, but also retaining them. It’s no surprise that the most successful businesses (such as Amazon, Apple and Spotify), funnel their time and resources into treating their customers like royalty.
Imagine the anticipation you would feel if you were about to lead your first board meeting. Now imagine if that board was comprised of thirty fourth graders. A teacher is basically already running a business on a day-to-day basis. They are required to focus on the big picture of curriculum and benchmarks, as well as the individual needs of each student. The ability to maintain both a macro and micro lens when it comes to your business is arduous yet necessary.
Education-based data has shown that teachers are required to make over one thousand academic-based decisions per day. The best teachers can break down complex information and make it tangible and enjoyable for their students. They are essentially selling knowledge, just as an entrepreneur is marketing a product or idea.
Whether you're selling that perfect pair of stilettos, or a New Years-induced gym membership, effective salesmanship is a subtle art form. It is not only vital to know the ins and outs of your product, but also to understand your target audience. With each new customer, the marketing approach needs to be tailored to their personal needs and preferences.
As anyone in the sales industry knows, with each success comes a healthy dose of rejection. The ability to bounce back from an unpleasant interaction or failed sales pitch will prepare you for the inevitable hardships of entrepreneurship.
Finally, many retail workers depend primarily on commission which leads to the size of their paycheck differing drastically from month-to-month. This sporadic payment is reflective of your potential financial situation, should you decide to pursue entrepreneurship.
While a student may not be considered a traditional career, anyone tirelessly earning a degree knows that it’s a full-time job. A successful academic demonstrates critical thinking, openness to feedback and an endless thirst for knowledge. They turn to their professors as mentors and treat their classmates as colleagues.
In the constantly changing business market, this willingness to learn is necessary. Between ever-evolving systems, technologies and trends, there will always be new, faster and better ways to get things done.
Research has shown that investors are most likely to back entrepreneurs who are “coachable” and receptive to guidance. As they say, “knowledge is power”, but in this case, the desire for knowledge may be what ultimately sets you apart from the rest.
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