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5 Ways College Grads Can Embrace Entrepreneurship



College grad

It’s never too early to pursue your dream of becoming an entrepreneur, yet when you graduate college, you might feel like you’re not quite ready to jump fully into an entrepreneurial endeavor. Perhaps you feel like you don’t have enough experience, or perhaps you’d just like to get a more conventional job and save a little bit of money first.

Perhaps you’re already anxious to start your first business and you can’t wait to get it going. Whatever the case, you can lay the groundwork for your entrepreneurial endeavors early on.

Below are 5 ways new college grads can embrace entrepreneurship:

1. Get a Sales Job

No matter what line of work you’re in, you’re selling something. You’re selling yourself as well as whatever product or service you represent. This is especially true as an entrepreneur. If you don’t know how to sell, you’ll probably have a rough go of it at the beginning and selling definitely doesn’t come natural to everybody.

As a result, you could benefit from getting a sales job early on in your career. This will help you learn the ins and outs of sales, get comfortable with sales rejection, and learn how to persuade people.

If you already know what type of business you want to start, then aim to get a sales job in that industry. This will be even more powerful for you later on since sales is a grind. Nonetheless,everything you learn in the sales job will help you be a more successful entrepreneur later on.

2. Work at a Small Startup

It’s one thing to work at a big company where you feel like nothing more than a cog in a giant machine. It’s a whole different experience to work in a small startup where you interact with leadership everyday and can see how the business runs.

This will give you the opportunity to ask questions, learn from the triumphs and mistakes of the leaders, and see a type of management style up close.

When you start your own company, you’ll be able to see the bigger picture. You can see things from the point of view of your employees as well as your own point of view as a CEO/founder type of figure.

“Just try new things. Don’t be afraid. Step out of your comfort zones and soar, all right?” – Michelle Obama

3. Learn Other Marketable Skills

As an entrepreneur, you need to have a general understanding of a lot of different skills such as copywriting, design, marketing, management, and sales. That way, when you eventually hire for those positions, you’ll know how to spot a potential rockstar employee who has the capacity to do a good job.

Spend some time learning marketable skills, and especially those that are related to the industry you’re most interested in. These skills may even help you get a freelancing gig, which we’ll talk about next…

4. Consider Freelancing

It takes discipline to work and build something on your own. For some people, that discipline is more difficult to develop than others. So, you should consider freelancing online. This will help you get comfortable working from home, and give you the first taste of online success.

Freelancing can add a nice chunk to your monthly income as well, which increases your financial runway and gives you more time to get your eventual business up and running. It’ll also help you potentially make valuable connections within your future industry, which will help accelerate your entrepreneurial success.

5. Move to a City Filled With Entrepreneurs

It’s difficult to understand the lifestyle of an entrepreneur until you’re around it and see it for yourself. So, you should connect with as many entrepreneurs as possible. This will help you understand things from their perspective and get you acclimated with the lifestyle. It’ll also help you determine what type of business you should start.

Luckily, there are plenty of cities in the USA where entrepreneurship is growing rapidly. You can start with any one of these 7 US cities that are great for young entrepreneurs.

All life demands struggle. Those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish, and insensitive to the real values of life. The very striving and hard work that we so constantly try to avoid is the major building block in the person we are today.” – Pope Paul V

The job market is more competitive than ever, and as a result, working for yourself as an entrepreneur is a smart long term move. It’s never too early to get started with your own entrepreneurial pursuits, even if you’re a new college graduate.

Whether you’re ready to start your first business right now, or you simply want to gain experience to jumpstart your career and lead yourself down a path towards entrepreneurship, these tips will help you make your goals a reality.

How are you making steps towards becoming your own boss one day? Let us know in the comments below!

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Parker Davis is the CEO of Nexa, a leader in the virtual receptionist and technology-enabled answering services industry. He believes that the application of data analytics, investment in technology, and fostering a positive company culture together create highly efficient and scalable growth companies. In 2016, Nexa achieved record revenues while also being awarded the Top Companies to Work For in Arizona award. Parker is also the Managing Partner of Annison Capital Partners, LLC, a private investment partnership. Follow him @callnexa and on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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Are you completely new to networking?

Then this article is a great place to start. Networking isn’t hard on paper…you go along to online and in-person meetings, make new connections and build relationships, and those relationships lead to more work so you can grow your business! The challenge is that in reality, it isn’t quite so straightforward, as our emotions get involved and make things much tougher.

It’s incredibly common for nerves to creep in and to feel overwhelmed and apprehensive when it comes to networking – even when it isn’t new to you. But how can you become more successful at it, feel less self-conscious, and make networking work for you and your business?

Here’s a few tips to help you embrace every business networking opportunity you get, so you can grow your business and achieve your goals.

Rock up with confidence

If you want to keep those nerves at bay and ooze confidence at networking get-togethers, you’ll need to downplay it rather than seeing it as a big occasion. Try not to put pressure on yourself and see it as a casual meet-up with a bunch of people with similar goals to you. To help you relax in the run-up to the event, be sure to set achievable goals and expectations before you go.

Keep your chin up and your goals in mind – positivity is key. One easy goal for your first networking meeting is very simply to speak to one other person and see where the conversation goes. Introduce yourself and your business, but take the time to listen to their story, too. It’ll only take a few minutes and will be over before you know it, so it’s nothing to fear. You may even enjoy it and want to speak to a few more people, too!

“You can close more business in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you.” – Dale Carnegie

Where to go networking

If you’ve never been networking before, it might not be very easy to find a group – but only because there’s so much choice and you don’t know where to start your search! Groups come in different sizes and styles, so it’s important to find one that suits you and your business. Informal, formal, big, small… the choice is yours.

For your first meeting, start small to ease yourself in – a big group could prove too daunting, and stop you from feeling comfortable enough to get involved. After all, you want to make a strong first impression!

If you’re wondering which group to opt for in the long-term, give a few a go! Get a feel for them, speak to as many people as you can, and see which one suits! You’ll know when a group feels right for you, and you can see where those all-important relationships are most likely to be built. If a group doesn’t feel like the right for you, give a different one a go.

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This will happen for you, as long as you put the effort into building those relationships. If you take the time to get to know people, and then check in with them and support them, they’ll see you as a trustworthy and reliable contact who they can call on. And when they feel that way, those leads and referrals you’re looking for will come a-knocking.

Once you’ve made relationships with people who you trust, and they’ve had a positive experience working with you, you can even ask for referrals! But don’t rush this, as you don’t want to inadvertently push people away or try and force the relationship along too quickly.

When you do get an opportunity to work with someone you’ve met at a networking group, go above and beyond to offer more value than they’re expecting, as then, they’ll be much more likely recommend you and introduce you to more of their contacts!

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By investing your time and effort in networking, you will gain more business through the relationships you make, and you will be able to grow your business.

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