No one is ever really encouraged to be an entrepreneur. In school we’re taught to get good grades to get into a good university. In university, we’re taught to find impressive internships. In our careers we’re taught to work hard and give everything to our jobs. Unfortunately, that path isn’t for everyone. Some people just cannot stand to do a boring job for 8 hours a day, just as some can’t stand factory work.
Alternatives to Office Jobs
Instead of funnelling everyone into universities and the corporate world, we should encourage our young people to get into business for themselves. Entrepreneurship is infinitely more valuable than an internship. Modern internships, whether paid or unpaid, are filled with long hours and busy work. Interns are being prepared for office life and learn soft skills like “Brenda’s stapler is off-limits” or “don’t microwave fish”.
Entrepreneurs do not have a 9-5 life. Successful entrepreneurs will recognize that entrepreneurship is a 24/7 job. There are no weekends in being a businessperson but the benefits of entrepreneurship cannot be understated.
Entrepreneurship Opens Doors
Skills learned through entrepreneurship include the soft office skills that interns learn along with skills in product creation, marketing, sales skills, web design, delegation, taxes and resource management. Entrepreneurs learn what happens when you skip a day of work or when a client doesn’t pay or when an employee doesn’t perform. Skills learned as an entrepreneur would never be taught to even a mid-level employee, let alone an intern.
On top of that, young women in their 20s looking to one day rule the corporate world will find the relationships and connections that are learned through entrepreneurship are more useful than an internship at a top company. As a businesswoman, you’ll be able to attend conferences and seminars that put you on a more equal footing with the people you’ll meet. It’s easier to talk to and impress a CEO when you’re a CEO yourself, rather than an unpaid intern.
Money, Money, Money
Luckily, young women are in the best position to start their own businesses. An older person who begins a business while trying to support a family will find herself in a much more precarious financial position than a woman in her 20s without a spouse or children. What’s more, a woman in her 20s has decades to recover from potential losses or to top up her retirement savings. A woman in her 40s will be, and ought to be, more cautious about entrepreneurship because of the potentially catastrophic financial consequences of failure.
Young women though often have something that older women don’t – student loans. Luckily, entrepreneurship is a fabulous was to earn extra money to pay off loans or increase your savings rate.
When we think of entrepreneurship, generally we think of capital-intensive businesses. Not everyone needs to open a McDonald’s or start the next Apple. Women can start a variety of low-capital businesses, including apps, online businesses or small-scale retail operations.
Low-capital businesses are the hottest thing these days. The internet and library are chock full of books on entrepreneurship and low-capital businesses. Certain organizations will help entrepreneurs with financing or legal aspects to get their business off the ground and governments throughout the world are trying to incentivize young entrepreneurs with grants or low-cost loans.
Women sometimes feel incapable of starting and running a business. With so many unknowns and the instability that is inherent with a start-up, young people, especially those with student loans, are hesitant to go down a path that might lead in failure. Instead, young women head to the corporate world along with thousands of their peers. In 2016 though, bucking the trend and starting a business provides more valuable and hireable skills, along with the potential for big earnings.