If you can't find a job, become an entrepreneur?

Published 22.08.2017 00:26

Last week I read an interesting tweet by an authority in entrepreneurship that I wanted to share. "'If you can't find a job, be an entrepreneur' might not be the best advice" read the tweet. The tweet, written by an expert in the field, colloquially known as the "Beacon of Bolu," begs the question, what is the best advice? I've received several emails from readers in response to my Twitter response and so I'll give my best shot at some advice for those who have newly graduated or are unemployed. Before I do that, just a quick update for those dedicated readers, the Federal Reserve's minutes did reveal hesitation in tightening as predicted; I don't expect any more rate hikes this year and do expect continued dollar weakness.

My advice in response to skepticism around "If you can't find a job, be an entrepreneur" would be first and foremost, why can't you find a job? This question is the key to your financial success in the long term. There are obviously many possible answers to this question. Maybe it's because you are under-educated or lack experience. Perhaps you haven't been looking long enough or applying to the right type of positions. Whatever the reason, there is a reason why you can't find a job. The first step in finding a job is to identify this reason. If your failure isn't about qualifications but the way you are looking for a job, remedy that.

Economic inequality exists in all forms and this extends to the job market as well. Those who are best at networking or whose network consists of friends or family will have an easier experience in finding a job. Networking is an accepted part of finding a job in both Western and Eastern countries. It's is taught in business schools and encouraged by experienced HR experts. There's no shame in advertising your abilities to people you know.

Now, networking and nepotism are completely different things. No one offering a job will hire someone solely because they are family or are a friend of a friend. The person being hired needs to actually be able to perform the task. In other words, networking is only a door-opener, your ability to fulfill the duties of the position will allow you to land and keep the job.

For those people who lack a natural network, friends or family who live in your region or are in the industry you'd like to work in, the entire concept of networking might sound unfair. While there are illicit forms of hiring, especially where the person doing the hiring has no vested interest in the success of the hire, I'm only talking about actual private sector hiring where a job needs to be done. In this environment, applicants with references from within a network are most valued. In other words, you want to hire someone whose reference is someone you trust. This is just common sense. Hiring and firing and then rehiring someone else is not only costly for businesses it's near impossible in many European countries.

Back to finding that job. If after all the networking and job hunting, you can't find a job, it's time to take a look in the mirror. My advice would be to remedy whatever deficiencies you have. If you don't know what they are, ask the people not hiring you. People will tell you if you ask nicely. Armed with this knowledge, improve yourself. Get the education you need or the experience necessary as best you can and then, and only then, become an entrepreneur. Start your own business. There are plenty of no-investment type businesses out there. If you are successful, great, you don't need to find a job after all. If you fail, you've learned more in failing than you would have at any business school.

Whether you continue and try another entrepreneurial venture is completely up to you. Did the autonomy appeal to you? What was the actual reason for the businesses' failure? Practically no entrepreneur succeeds the first time out. Give it some time. If you've thrown everything you have at entrepreneurship and feel it just isn't for you, don't worry. You are now a person with a lot of knowledge and a network built during your foray into business. You are a very attractive hire now and will excel with your new found confidence and business acumen. Good luck!

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