- February 10, 2012
- Before 30
When students in my business and marketing classes at OTIS College of Art and Design ask me about starting their own business straight out of school, I advise against it. I recommend they go work for some medium and large companies right out of school in order to see how business works. But once they have been working a few years, I highly recommend they start their own business.
- (In)Secure Paycheck Jobs
The working world has changed in the United States and young people should be preparing for a different future than their parents. There is no job security in working for medium and large companies these days. It used to be your parents might have had 2 or 3 employers over their career. Now, many employed people are only at a company 18-36 months before going to a competitor, getting transferred, or laid off due to merger or business change. In a good economy, the best people quit to move on to a higher paying or better job. In a down economy, people stay put but are constantly looking for a better opportunity elsewhere.
- Young Graduates Pay Is Down?!!
Yes, you are out of college and on to a career job that will pay back your student loans. Less than $20/hr with a college degree? That’s right, wages are DOWN, not up in the past 10 years adjusted for inflation. The Economic Policy Institute reports that college graduates under 30 made on average $21.68 if they were male, $18.80 if they were female.
There is still the stupid gender pay gap, but hopefully we will solve it with this generation. High school graduates are even worse off, with men under 25 earning on average $11.68 and women only $9.92 an hour. That is not significantly above minimum wage and nowhere near able to support saving to buy a house or have a family.
The takeaway is that the jobs available to high school and college graduates are not high enough pay to justify sticking with them. In fact, it seems like a young adult cannot afford to work for less than $20/hr, and will probably be able to earn more self employed than at this average pay scale for their age group.
- Working For Others to Know What Business to Start
If you are young and working, think of your job as extended school with pay. Learn everything you can about the business. What are all the things you would change if you ran this business? What problems do they have that they don’t see right in front of them? Take all this knowledge with you to not make the same mistakes, but new ones you’ve never faced before.
On a side note, the other takeaway from working for others is networking. Who are the best people you’ve worked with? Make sure you stay in touch, because if you start your own company or join a startup, you want the best people you know to be working alongside you in the future.
- You Already Know Your Angel Investors
Way before you sell your startup for millions, before wasting your time on VC’s (Venture Capitalists), you are going to need some money to fund your growth. No matter how great a start up, it always helps to have more money in the business. This is where angel investors come in. No, they don’t come down from heaven. These are people you already know: your parents, successful relatives, mentors, advisors, and generally people who have been successful and are looking to invest their money for a greater return than a savings account. My general business model is organic growth, but sometimes in a company’s early days a shot of capital can make it grow quickly and get the success needed to sustain and thrive. When you need money for your startup, reach out to the people you know. They already trust and believe in you, now help them out by giving them a good return on their investment.
- The Government is Not Going to Take Care of You in Old Age
If you’re under 30, Social Security will most likely be bankrupt by the time you are old enough to collect anything. Ask any retiree now and they will tell you their SS check doesn’t cover much anyways. There is only one way for you to have a comfortable retirement, and that is by you saving for it yourself now. Being self-employed allows you to put a larger portion of your earnings away for retirement, especially as more companies drop their matching contribution plans. Starting retirement savings in your 20’s and you’ll be ahead of most Americans just based on the concept of compound growth over time.
Entrepreneurs Make Their Own Secure Future
Who better to decide what your pay rate should be than yourself? Even with equal pay, more people chose to own a business for the flexibility in schedule and work choice than under the thumb of others. Entrepreneurship is not for everyone, but if you’re reading this article you are thinking about it or doing it. I applaud your ambition and encourage you it is the best way to have a secure future for yourself and your family as this country becomes a nation of largely self employed workers.