Is your job limiting you? This is what you should do

During the Christmas holiday, I met a young lady who shared her dilemma with me. We were engaged in small talk until she asked me where I worked. After telling her the long story of how I decided to go the entrepreneur way, the conversation took an interesting turn. She is a very talented person and she has been thinking of launching out on her own. Although she has a good job, she does not derive any fulfilment from it. When I asked her what was stopping her from starting a business she mentioned her family. She didn’t think they would support her move. They are conventional Nigerian parents who prefer their children to have a 9-5 job in a prestigious organisation. The second reason was she actually didn’t know what kind of business to start. She has so many ideas but she hasn’t been able to narrow down on one.

This young lady reminded me of myself back in 2011. I had just come back to Nigeria abruptly and I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life. When someone suggested that I should apply for a job, I got even more confused. “What kind of career do I want?” After going to Law School, I felt a career in Finance would be just right for me but since I was unable to complete my Masters degree in Finance I didn’t feel qualified to apply for a job in the field. Somehow I ended up starting with Human Resources. It was the only company that called me in for an interview and when I heard it was an HR consulting firm, I didn’t know if I should take the job. From their website, I thought they were a Management Consulting firm.

Anyway two months into the job, I knew HR wasn’t for me. But what was I to do next? That was when I started nurturing the idea of starting a business. Since I was in secondary school, I already knew I was going to be a CEO one day. I just didn’t know what my business would be all about. I started doing some field research. What business could I start that won’t require much start-up capital? At the same time I was thinking about my next career move. That was when my colleague suggested that I should consider a career in writing since it comes naturally to me and a few months later, I found myself in a media company. My job was so hectic there that there was no time to think of ‘business’. I barely had time for myself. I should add that my parents didn’t approve of this job. My mother couldn’t understand the joy I derived from creating magazines.

When I left the job to go for NYSC, I found myself right in the middle of the ‘media’ again starting with being an active member of the OBS to being the VP of the Editorial board. By the time I finished NYSC, I knew that I would be starting a media-related business but I didn’t know when. All I could think of as service was rounding up was how to get a good high paying job and then start working towards having my own thing in a few years. I actually got a promising job which I was to begin the week after I finished NYSC but I had to turn down the job for personal reasons.

I’ve already shared how the inspiration to start my business came on the blog so I won’t repeat it again but these are the points that I want to bring out:

  1. Don’t be a slave to paid employment. I agree, starting your own business is risky but staying in a job which you don’t love is even more risky for you.
  2. Give yourself time. Get to know yourself and what you are actually good at. That will guide you as to the kind of business you should start.
  3. Do your research. Just because you are good at something does not mean that you will build a successful business out of it. I was initially sceptical about starting a content development business. Not many people understand the need for it but lately I have come across people who badly need the services that I offer.
  4. Don’t let parental disapproval hold you back. I know what it feels like to wake up everyday and see the disappointing look on your mother’s ace like you are just wasting your life. I’ve been there. In fact, I’m still there but in a short while, when I become an international brand, I know my folks will be extremely proud of me.
  5. Make the move because you want to. Start a business because you want to and not because it looks like a cool thing to do. After all, everybody is doing it. That’s a wrong motive for going into business. Being an entrepreneur is not as easy as people make it look sometimes.

Whatever you do, be true to yourself and your purpose.

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