Use Your First Job as the Launchpad for Entrepreneurship

The ink is still drying on your diploma that you’ll wait a few months to receive, but already your head is in the clouds dreaming of how you can change the world and start a company of your own. While there are a few case studies of college students going straight from class to Forbes 30 under 30, the majority of successful entrepreneurs begin in a traditional job and get their feet wet by working for someone else.

Speaking from experience, I put in a few years in the corporate world before doing a few of my own ventures. What I learned is that the first job (or two) provides two key lessons for budding entrepreneurs. Ambition to start a company started when I was a teenager, and it was at Lehman Brothers that I learned about the greed and fear of the market, before technology started to meaningfully transform finance.

The first is as a test to discover what you want to do and which aspects of the job you enjoy. The second key lesson is to learn about an industry and gain broad transferable experience so you have the flexibility to define your future.

I landed my first job as a sell side equity research analyst in 2005 during the bull market on Wall Street. I first felt the ambition to start my own company while working at Lehman Brothers. It was here that I learned about the technology revolution building in the investing world. I left near the peak of Lehman Brother’s stock price in late 2007, not because I saw the bankruptcy coming or electronic trading compressing margins and jobs, but because I learned that I wanted to invest and build quantitative algorithms to improve the investing industry.

However, the insight I needed to move beyond a general desire to leverage quantitative algorithms didn’t become clear until my third job at PIMCO and spending a summer working for a robot advisor in 2010. All of these experiences combined were steps closer to my end goal. As technology has been transforming everything, we observed an exodus of Wall Street workers into Fintech or venture investing, which contributed to San Francisco real estate prices.

It was then that I had built the knowledge of how the investing world works, combined with the skill set and network from prior experience as a foundation that I continue to expand at my startup that leveraged all of this experience to solve an issue that I kept seeing in my corporate jobs. From this combination of knowledge and experience came Totum, my startup that provides investors tools to measure client risk capacity based on unique life situations.

The relevant skillset to succeed today as an entrepreneur is also in knowing the soft skills needed to make a great idea profitable. This builds on the ability to build excel models and PowerPoint decks to include product management, digital marketing, sales, and data analytics. I also learned how and when to hire talent or outsource certain tasks that can help the company run more efficiently. These are some of the transferable experiences new graduates should consider to learn in your first jobs.

So while you’re enjoying having a real paycheck and financial independence, remember to take in every aspect of your first job as it will pave your journey through your career. Take every opportunity offered that will benefit your foreseeable future.

And always keep your eyes on your entrepreneurship goal




Add Comment

Building Loyalty through a Complete Customer Solution
10 Things You Didn’t Know about Leonardo Del Vecchio
The Work-Life Balancing Act
10 Things You Didn’t Know about Len Blavatnik
When is the Right Time To Drop your Life Insurance?
Holiday Prep: Five Tips for the Season of Spending
As the Broker Protocol Falters, Are You Ready to Make Your Move?
Five Credit Cards Moves to Make Now Before Holiday Shopping Starts
Addressing Compliance Challenges as Conversations Shift from Email to Collaboration Platforms
What You Need to Know about Apple Pay Cash
When a Cyber Attack is No Longer Just an Incident But an Act of War
The Real Status of Today’s Machine Learning
The Top Five Rated Hotels in Montenegro
The Top Five Hidden Gem Eco-Lodges in the World
Five Reasons to Travel Solo to a Foreign Country
The Top Five Must Stay At Hotels in the Adirondacks
The Top Five Special Edition Rolls Royce Models of All-Time
The Top Five Special Edition Porsche Models in History
The Top Five Special Edition Ferrari Models of All-Time
What You Need to Do if you Get Into a Car Accident
Five Gorgeous Glashütte Models for the Money Conscious
The Top Five Independent Watch Brands of 2017
The Top Five Patek Phillippe Watches of 2017
A Brief History of the Only Watch Charity Auction