During my entrepreneurial journey I’ve done everything from managing ice cream inventory to coordinating a property maintenance schedule. I’ve founded several businesses and previously worked in different industries. It’s this variety that primed me for success and is a path I recommend for any entrepreneur that wants their business to thrive. I’m now the founder and CEO of the Epic Health and Fitness franchise, a successful and growing company. But to get to this place I first developed a wide range of skills and was always open to learning new things.
Working in different fields gives you the tools you need to satisfy customers, build a brand, and create a lasting business. Here’s my advice for budding entrepreneurs who can leverage their experience for the best possible outcomes:
Find the Best “First Jobs”
It’s important to consider what jobs will prepare you for starting your own business. This doesn’t always mean the highest pressure or paying jobs, but instead roles that allow you to acquire specific knowledge or skills quickly. This could include working at a startup where you’d where several hats and learn about the dedication it takes to succeed. Working in marketing or sales to learn how to present a product and interpersonal communication. Working a customer service job can serve you well as they force quick thinking, problem solving, and a customer-centric approach. A managerial position is also helpful to learn delegation, dispute resolution, and how to handle high-value or dissatisfied customers.
There is no “Perfect Moment”
Before becoming an entrepreneur, I worked in finance and sold insurance. Working in the financial sector holds value because it gives entrepreneurs context into what it takes to run a profitable business. Finance applies to every industry, and entrepreneurs do well when they can blend great marketing with a keen eye towards expenses and profits. I did well in this role, but realized I wanted to work for myself. Entrepreneurs often have this type of moment, where they’re not unhappy, but they see the benefits of their own business and develop confidence. I suggest people use past work to narrow their focus, build their skillsets, and create a solid network.
I founded my first company after my time in finance. It was a pizza and ice cream restaurant in Key West, Florida. The key lesson from this experience I can impart to others is to not wait until the “perfect moment” to start a business. Perform due diligence and plan, but you must take risks and have faith in your ideas and your business skills.
I also recommend people start multiple businesses, because they learn the formula for success, which is quality customer service, an in-demand product, and attractive pricing. After my restaurant I opened a property maintenance company, a different vertical, but the same fundamentals always apply. Creating multiple businesses meant I gained invaluable knowledge before forming my latest and most ambitious venture.
Direct Experience Helps
Before I founded Epic Health and Fitness franchise, I received an offer to work at a corporate “big box” gym. I started as a personal trainer and became a manager at the gym. I liked helping people achieve their goals, and this inspired me to create my own gym so I could help others and run the business my way. This opportunity helped me immensely when I founded Epic Health and Fitness.
When I created Epic Health and Fitness, it was the culmination of months of planning and years of professional preparation through working different jobs. I conducted location research, planned the finances, and created a comfortable and transparent membership model. The key point for other entrepreneurs is to always be thinking while you’re working your “day job.”
I don’t mean you won’t work hard for your employer, simply that you’re always learning and developing plans. Keep a journal and take notes about the things you’ve learned about business and yourself. Reflect about your strengths and weaknesses and consider how those fit into your entrepreneurial venture.
Consider a self-assessment. Correlate things you’ve and enjoyed in the past with your new business plans. This is a great chance to spot a disconnect. Maybe you disliked something you thought you would love, or found you need a partner to help with the marketing and sales side of a new business. That’s the beauty of working in different fields and positions, you get to learn what works (and what doesn’t) so you can succeed right out of the gate.