Start a Business. It’s your destiny girl… Is it really though? In today’s climate those who dare to start a business are hailed as ‘the chosen ones’ and for the rest of us working folk; we’re seen to be in ‘career-purgatory’. If you’re rather really happy to receive a steady wage at the end of each month, if you like getting paid when you take annual leave and having a work phone separate from your personal phone. I’m here to let you know that’s okay, career-heaven awaits you too.
Stick to what you like
I have a friend who loves ticking things off a list. Her passion is borderline erotic. That mundane call to order napkins? She’s itching to complete it. No matter the mediocrity of the task, she gets her life by getting things done. Personally, I’d rather have my bikini line threaded (I don’t think it’s a thing but imagine the pain). In a very roundabout way, I’m saying that we each find joy in different tasks and pursue careers that cater to our strengths. Hopefully spending our days doing what we most enjoy. Not so for the entrepreneur – small business owners have to do everything, even tasks they don’t like. They have to be the HR, Sales, Admin, Finance and Marketing teams. They go from Excel to InDesign, with pit stops at Salesforce and HootSuite. Take heart in knowing that working for a company allows you to focus on doing what you love. Honing your expertise is helping the business grow, putting money in your account and someone else is doing the things you hate.
Learning and Development
If we’re glass half full kind of people, we might say that playing these varied roles arms the entrepreneur with a set of self-taught skills. And they do, but working for a company can provide access to structured training with recognised qualifications. Plenty of companies will fund staff learning. There is also a lot to be learned from working alongside a colleague with more experience. I have a mental handbook of skills I’ve learnt from colleagues; how to negotiate, how to manage challenging personalities. My personal favourite; avoid anything in the shell or on the bone at a client dinner. You will not win that account while you tear the head off of a langoustine.
TOP TIP: Admittedly there are fewer training opportunities for junior staff but ask your employer if you can expense relevant books and subscriptions. Anything that will broaden your skill set or widen your business awareness. It’s a small cost to a big business with a lot of potential value.
Entrepreneurs have psychopathic tendencies
Killer instinct, tunnel vision and charm. Characteristics of an entrepreneur and the tell-tale signs of a top tier psychopath. These traits are commonly associated with con-artists like Anna Sorokin, the fake German Heiress. Or disgraced CEO Elizabeth Holmes, who was touted as a wunderkind with a net worth of $4.5 billion before her blood-testing company, Theranos was found to be lying about it’s technology. Both she and Sorokin share that unwavering self-belief and persuasive charm that is required to make a business, or a con, successful. Watching the Netflix expose on Fyre Fest I was struck by how not dissimilar Billy McFarland’s behaviour was from Phil Knight’s. Both of them lied to their investors, neither of them reinvested into their businesses in the early years, both asked too much of their staff. Yet McFarland is serving a six-year sentence for fraud and Knight is the revered head of global powerhouse Nike. More can be read about Phil in his autobiography Shoe Dog. Knight is not alone, Steve Jobs was famously callous to his colleagues, his staff, even his own daughter. And it doesn’t get more Hitchcockian than Donald Trump.
One woman’s ambitions should not make you feel less proud of your own. The fashion industry needs a plethora of voices in a range of settings. There are lots of reasons why it’s okay if you don’t want to start a business but if you ever feel your confidence wavering, take heart knowing that you’re probably not a psychopath.
Words by Akilah Cohen