Starting out

Flexible working hours, minimal commuting and being in control are just some of the many perks of being self-employed. Increasingly, graduates nowadays are looking at self-employment as their first career of choice. Based on my personal experience, I believe you should try to spend a few years in your industry working for others before venturing to start your own business. Here's why:

  1. Connections - Working for others means you have colleagues, bosses and those working next door. It expands your social circle and creates new connections that might allow you do open doors that you never thought possible. Remember to never ever burn bridges.
  2. Knowledge of your industry - Get yourself involve in the entire process and be familiar with all the processes, practices and taboos of the industry. Nothing beats first hand experience. You might not like how certain things are done but you can't change something that you don't know. So understand it first before you attempt to improve anything.
  3. Understand the business model - The business model of the company determines what type of clients they have, how much they charge them and the amount they pay you. If their model is to treat you as a cog in a machine, you are getting minimal wage. This is important when you start your own company. Your business model determines the path your company takes.
  4. Realize the value of everyone and everything - Once you are familiar with who does what and why certain things are the way they are, you realize that everyone has a value to the company. There's always a mis-match between the value you think you have compared to the value your boss perceive from you. It's a matter of perception and knowing how to better portray your actual value is very important. Always know your own value.

You could start your own company and learn all this as you go along. But not everyone have that luxury and being in employment even for a while makes you a better boss.

It could takes years or decades before you think you have learned everything you need to know. And even then, the industry changes all the time and there's always something new. Learning is a life-long process after all.

Which ever path you choose to start with, make sure it's one that you will be able to learn from.