For those thinking of starting their own business or entering the business profession, the first steps are often the hardest. This is the point at which you have to decide what exactly you hope to achieve, and decide on the best route to get there. At this moment a life in business can seem extremely daunting. But once that first step is taken, you may find everything else falls into place as you follow your chosen path.
This doesn’t mean that once you begin everything will be plain sailing: far from it. But in many ways your first steps will dictate the nature of your professional journey. There will certainly be obstacles to overcome, challenges to meet, and unexpected setbacks along the way. But you will be able to meet these with increasing confidence as the experience you’ve built up guides and informs your next decision.
Education and experience
One of the first decisions you’ll have to make is whether to stay in education and get a college degree, or even a masters in a business-related subject, or whether to strike out in business as soon as possible. There are pros and cons to both routes. A relevant educational qualification is always useful and you’ll never regret having one. Not only will the certification itself open doors, but the knowledge you gain studying will serve you well, giving you greater confidence in your future decisions and in your working life.
There is also much to be said for the contacts you will make at university or college. Many of your fellow students will also go on to become successful in the business world, and having known them at an early stage will stand you in good stead, providing, of course, that your relationship was a cordial one! Your tutors too may be able to provide you with useful business connections, or arrange for a work placement that will help you get a foot in the door at a big firm.
On the other hand, staying in school may mean that you’re still hitting the books while your peers are getting a head start on their careers or running their own businesses. Anyone with the necessary entrepreneurial drive to do well in business will feel a certain amount of frustration in this situation. It’s all very well studying and learning theory, but a part of you will be yearning to put those ideas into practice and make things happen in the real world.
The best of both worlds
An ideal solution to this dilemma could be to study for an online associate’s degree. Associate degrees are qualifications midway between a high school diploma and a bachelor’s degree, which can be earned via part-time study while you work.
This should only take you a couple of years as opposed to 3-4 years for a bachelor’s degree, so you can get a recognized qualification in less time at the same time as you’re starting a business or embarking on a career. Online study makes this even easier as you can take a course at one of the world’s most prestigious colleges from your own home and in your own time.
Finding your passion
The next decision you need to make is likely to be deciding what area of business you want to work in. Actually, making this decision isn’t as important as you might think. It’s useful to gain experience in as many different kinds of business as possible early on, and this is often the best way to find out what you really have a passion for. So unless your career path is clear from the outset, such as when you take over an existing family business, trying many different things is recommended.
Eventually though you will find something that is right for you, that you’re enthusiastic about and which you can do better than anyone else. Once that moment arrives, grab it with all your strength and don’t let go. This is where all of your experience and education will help you harness your dreams and ambitions, as you turn them into a viable business venture that you can maintain and build on for the rest of your life.
Not everyone succeeds in business, so it is important to get started on the right foot. A comprehensive education, plenty of experience and a wide network of connections will all give you the best chance of prospering as you follow this challenging but rewarding career path.