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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

When You Might Not Want to Work for "the man" After Graduation.

This is a guest post by Jon Bradshaw. Jon is the co-founder and CEO of TinyTorch and an adjunct professor at Brigham Young University's Marriott School of Management. He is a huge advocate for entrepreneurship and very involved in the entrepreneurial community in Utah.

Derek is a good friend of mine that graduated from BYU's Marriott School of Business around the same time as I did back in 2008. Since then, we have often debated when the correct time is for someone to walk the path of entrepreneurship.

Derek recently wrote an article called, "Why You Might Want to Work for "the man" After Graduation." He made many solid points that I would like to expound upon. Here is what I recommend you think about if you want to lead a start up, join a startup or get work experience first.

keep calm and hire yourself

Lead a Startup

Out of the hundreds of students that I have taught at BYU, I believe that venturing out on your own is only advisable for about 5-10% of the student population. How do you know if this is you? Here are my thoughts (these are guidelines, and there are always exceptions):

You have always worked for yourself since grade school. You began with a lemonade stand, saved your pennies to build a lawn-service company, and then found bigger and better ideas from there. You have at least two years of real-work experience for the industry that you're wanting to pursue. For tech entrepreneurs, you have a marketable skill like coding or design, which allows you to easily fall back on to help fund your company

Join a Startup

For most graduating students, if you're interested in startups this is the route that I'd recommend. Reasons for this include:

There is no better teacher than a proven entrepreneur starting another company. Your experience here turns into paid training which means that you can make costly mistakes on someone else's dime. Even if you end up working for a dud company, in many ways you'll learn more from a bad entrepreneur than from a seasoned veteran

Get Work Experience First

If you decide to not work for a startup, then go big. Shoot for companies like Salesforce, LinkedIn, Google, or another large tech company. Reasons for this include:

They will pay to train you in many important skills. You will learn how important processes are to making a venture successful, which is something that many entrepreneurs miss. You will get a great paycheck, which you can stash 70-80% into savings, helping you launch a startup later in life. You will develop a strong network, which will help you form partnerships in the future

So after working in startups for 6 years, do I wish that I corporate job? Rarely, but those moments do happen. Watching your friends go on trips to Europe without you, seeing them upgrade to flashy cars, or having the stability to not have to worry about being able to afford the necessities in life would be great. But when I look back at where I've been, and the lessons I've learned, I wouldn't have had it any other way.