The Best Jobs for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

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If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, there are different career paths you can take to turn your dream into a reality. Which path you choose will depend on your experience, skills, finances, and flexibility, as well as your goals for the future.

Even though some entrepreneurs have become successful without spending time in a traditional workplace, many people do have solid work experience before starting their own business. That experience equips them with the skills they need to get a business off the ground and up and running.

There are jobs that will hone your entrepreneurial skills while you learn the ins and outs of running a business. As well, working in roles where entrepreneurship is valued can give you some of the rewards without the responsibility.

The other path you can take is to find a job where you don’t have to work when you’re not on the clock. There are plenty of jobs with regular schedules that give you free time to spend on your own projects.

There are also jobs and gigs where you can work a flexible schedule that leaves you time to pursue your passion. It can also make financial sense to start a new venture as a side job because not all new businesses are successful. The success rate is low for at least the first few years. Having an income, you can count on while you grow your own business can be a solid strategy for success. Do be careful though, that your side gig isn't violating your employment contract if you have one.

Jobs Where You Can Gain Entrepreneurial Skills

If you focus on jobs that align with your aspirations, you’ll be able to develop the skills you need either to start your own venture on a full-time basis or as a side job or gig to eventually transition into your own full-time business.

The jobs that are the best fit for you will help you gain experience in the career field or industry where you want to launch your own business. These are some of the positions that will give you the general experience you need to equip yourself for going it alone.

  • Advertising, Marketing, and Public Relations: Working in advertising, marketing or public relations will provide you with the know-how to reach an audience for your own product or service when you’re ready to get started. You may be able to tap the valuable connections you’ve met on the job for your new venture.
  • Business Development: If you have strong business development skills, you’ll be able to use them to identify opportunities for your own future business. You’ll also gain the ability to grow and manage a business, which will be invaluable when you’re working on your own.
  • Design: Whether you work in fashion, home, or product design, these skills will help you create your own product or service and get it ready to launch.
  • E-commerce and Social Media: Most businesses have an online presence, and if you are knowledgeable about online sales and search engine optimization (SEO), you’ll have a head start getting your venture live. Whether you’re starting a small local firm or planning to roll out your venture on a larger scale, strong social media skills will be essential.
  • Management: There are management positions available in every industry. Whether you’re starting out in a management training program or have moved up the career ladder, working in management will give you the leadership, people, and communications experience you’ll need to be successful.
  • Software, Web, or App Developer: Every business needs technology, and the work you do for your employer will enhance your skill set and give you transferable skills to use to start and grow your own business.
  • Real Estate: Working in real estate can build the sales, marketing, finance, communications, self-motivation, and other skills successful entrepreneurs need.
  • Sales Manager/Account Executive: Sales and sales management positions provide experience and opportunities to excel and generate income, meet and achieve goals, and, most importantly, the ability to sell a product or service.
  • Consultant: Working for a major consulting firm will give you experience in a variety of industries and types of companies. In addition to gaining experience, you’ll have an insider perspective on many different types of organizations.
  • Product Manager: Successful product managers work on a product through research, development, engineering, manufacturing, going live, and distribution. That experience transitions seamlessly from someone else’s product to your own.

Jobs Where You Can Work 9 - 5 or Flex Hours

There are jobs where you don’t have to bring the job home with you or work extra hours. If you’re willing to dedicate after-hours time to your new venture, you’ll have the free time you need to get your business started. Here are some positions that will free up your after-hours time to work on your own projects:

  • Accounting/Finance: If you work in accounting or finance, especially in a corporate position, you’ll work a regular schedule and gain some of the financial skills you’ll need to establish your own business.
  • Civil Service: Many public sector jobs provide steady hours, a good salary, and decent benefits. For most positions, you’ll have evenings, weekends, and holidays free to pursue your interests.
  • Gigs and Flex Schedule Jobs: Working at a job with flexible hours or taking on gigs to gain experience or income or to supplement your earnings while you’re getting started are both ways you can increase your income while you’re investing in your own business.
  • Human Resources: In addition to working a traditional schedule, working in a Human Resources role will help you enhance your interpersonal skills for when you’re ready to hire employees. You’ll also gain insight into the hiring process, and the laws and regulations employers need to follow.
  • Insurance: There are many different insurance industry job titles, and many of these positions work normal office hours without scheduled overtime.
  • Teacher/School Administrator: If you’re a K-12 or college teacher or administrator, you’ll work regular daytime hours, have holidays, and school breaks off, and have a lengthy summer vacation.

Other Options for Want-to-Be Entrepreneurs

If you can get work experience at a leading company like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, or Apple, you’ll be up on the latest technology, you may have an opportunity for an entrepreneur-type role within the organization, and you’ll be well-positioned for success when it’s time to launch your own business.

Another way to get started is to join a company on the ground floor as a co-founder where you’ll have someone to share the workload and startup costs. CoFoundersLab is a site where potential entrepreneurs look for co-founders. You can also use it to find someone to partner with you.

Working at a startup is one of the best ways to learn what’s involved in being an entrepreneur. Choose a startup that aligns with your interests, and you’ll get some fast-paced experience as well as a chance to see what it’s really going to be like running your own company.