You are educated. Now what? The most important skill you can add today is the ability to create and manage your career. On the surface this is not the best time to graduate. The cost of education is very high, bringing student debt to record levels. Job stability is in decline. The distribution of wealth is skewed in favour of those at the top. Upward mobility is in jeopardy. The rate of change is increasing. All this means that your future is dependent on self-determination grounded in awareness of the world in which you live. In this environment, you are your own brand and must plan on reinventing yourself throughout your work life. Start engaging in entrepreneurial thinking right at the outset of your career. Whether you start a business, become a solopreneur, work in a large entity or engage in social entrepreneurship, you have to become adaptable and resilient in a world dominated by change. Entrepreneurial thinking is about a mindset not a skillset. Success is about finding a way not knowing the way. In the era of Big Data this is essential. We will never know enough or understand enough of what we know. So abandon prison thinking and get started.
Five ideas to reject:
1. Education guarantees you a future. Sorry you don’t have it made: education never ceases and formal education just gives you more opportunities. There are no guarantees
2. There are no jobs for graduates. There are barriers to entering the work force which are as insurmountable as we allow them to be. Resilience and adaptability start now.
3. Government will solve the employment problem. Would you really choose government as your advocate to solve any problem?
4. There is no future within small business. Life expectancy of all businesses is in decline. Strategic management of your career takes you where you can gain the most now!
5. Millenials don’t make good hires. Maybe you place a higher value on social media contact and demand access during the day but technology is your ally making you more productive than older generations.
Ten Reasons for Confidence:
1. Technology, your ally, has lowered the cost of administration through the integration of many management tasks. A one pound portable laptop allows anyone to incorporate their accounting system, sales marketing network, all communication, research, collections and payments not to mentions a wide variety of personal needs. Add in mobility via a smartphone and you are always accessible and connected. You have the potential to do it all, as a disruptor within a large corporation or government agency or as an independent.
2. Big Data is generating new problems at record rates. Every problem is an opportunity.
3. Social networking, another ally, has increased the reach of individuals allowing market access on a much broader geographic scope. Services can be offered at great distance. Endorsements can be sought and received across the country or even worldwide. Credibility can be built quickly through performance. LinkedIn is a great tool to market your skills and pursue your career strategy.
4. Websites can be both affordable and first class allowing an individual to build a professional image. Employee and entrepreneur alike can build their brand and market themselves.
5. Outsourcing is an established practice by which governments and large corporations are achieving flexibility which rewards specialization right down to the individual level. Businesses may only want you part time so find several of them and keep them happy.
6. Acquisition is a principal way for large entities to find innovation making startups, often founded on youth and enthusiasm a great opportunity if you can join the right team.
7. Succession is a huge issue for hundreds and thousands of viable independent businesses in North America as the baby boom generation hits retirement depending on their business to fund their future. You can find a mentor leading you to acquire your own business through an earn out that funds his or her retirement.
8. Size is simply becoming a liability – there are many small viable market niches that large companies and foreign sourcing will never fill. Adaptability, resilience and flexibility are essential in a world dominated by change.
9. Opportunity is nowhere, opportunity is everywhere. Recognizing opportunity is the cornerstone of success in every aspect of your career.
10. Determination was the key to graduating. It is also the key to managing your career.
Starting your career is the first of many problems ahead. Every problem provides an opportunity. The solution to a successful career lies within your ability to create your own brand.
Fred Dawkins is a serial entrepreneur with over 40 years’ experience and achievements in manufacturing, retail, land development, consulting and import/export. He holds a B Com in commerce and finance and a M.A. in economics from the University of Toronto. His business has allowed him to travel extensively, giving him insight into the emerging global economy and making him a passionate advocate of entrepreneurship in the 21st century.
Everyday Entrepreneur [Dundurn Press] is the first book in Dawkins’ Entrepreneurial Edge series, and is currently available at all booksellers, including Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Barnes & Noble and Chapters Indigo. His novel, 2020 Hindsight, explores major contradictory trends in society in a compelling contemporary fiction narrative, and is forthcoming as an e-book on Amazon.com.