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Seven Careers that Prepare You for Business Ownership


Not everyone knows from childhood that they want to own a business when they grow up. Others do know, but they’re not ready right out of college. As a result, they work in other careers and potentially gain a great skill set to help them once they do move into business ownership. For some, like future restaurateurs or bar owners, working in restaurants and bars helps familiarize them with the day-to-day operations that will remain more or less the same. For others, a career outside of the field in which they plan to open a business teaches them skills that can help in surprising ways. To use an over-simplified example: A stint in marketing could help a future janitorial service owner gain an edge over her competitors. 


Let’s look at seven careers that can help prepare you for business ownership.


Career No. 1: Customer Service

In truth, it’s hard to find a job that doesn’t involve customer service on some level. Whether you’re a firefighter, a computer security expert, or a bartender, you probably deal with the public. A career in customer service helps the future business owner learn the psychology of talking to customers - which, arguably, is an important skill to learn. It would be terrible if you opened your business and started getting into fights with customers right away.


Career No. 2: Teaching and Sports Coaching

A career in teaching and/or sports coaching can work to prepare the future business owner because it teaches you how to motivate the people around you. If your business has employees, this will be an important skill to have. It helps to know the right amount of pressure to apply to get people to accomplish a goal while still having fun. A coach who can entertain and inspire a fifth grade basketball team would probably have a high employee engagement rate later.


Career No. 3: Web Copywriting

Working for a web copywriting firm can help you in nearly any future business endeavour. The ability to communicate simply and persuasively prepares you for both internal and external communications, including website and blog content, social media captions, advertising copy,  employee handbooks, memorandums, and so on. Not only that, but as a web copywriter one learns to be a self-starter and to do the work whether the inspiration is there or not. 


Career No. 4: Professional Athlete

A career as a professional athlete has a few major benefits. The first is notoriety. If you open a carpet cleaning service, for example, you won’t just be another anonymous carpet cleaning business owner. Instead, you’ll be the local celebrity who now owns a business. This has great marketing potential. In addition, as a professional athlete you will have learned teamwork and endurance - both of which are helpful skills in just about any aspect of one’s career.


Career No. 5: Contractor

You might assume that a contractor would go into business as a contracting company owner, and that may be true. But imagine if a contractor opened a coffee shop because of a lifelong love and passion for drinking coffee. While some aspects of the business might take a little getting used to, all manner of daily situations might be more easily handled than at a coffee shop owned by a former computer programmer. Toilet breaks? No problem. Need to move the counter? Got it covered. Want to move a wall? How soon should we do it?


Career No. 6: Administrative

As someone who does administrative work, you typically learn to be organized and efficient. Someone with experience as an office manager or executive assistant might particularly be primed for success as a business owner. Additionally, people in administrative roles learn to use technology to accomplish complex tasks more easily, from contact management software to calendar management and telecommunications.


Career No. 7: Sales

Learning how to sell can be a tremendous help when you go to open your own business or start working in a new niche like real estate. You will already know the strategies necessary to sell your products or services. You will be accustomed to the need to be a self-starter and to be motivated. And you will understand what it is like to only get paid when business is good.


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