Business awareness and young people

The owner of the highlighted business of the month of September, Charlotte Snape, has written us a guest blog! Screen Shot 2017-09-26 at 09.30.16

The Big Issue – Is It Worth Getting a Uni Degree?

Young people are in a bit of a mess right now. We’re taken merrily (or in some cases not so merrily) along the education conveyor belt whilst being constantly pushed and reminded that we need to decide what we want to be when we leave school. Then upon reaching 18 and realising we haven’t stumbled across that golden job yet, many choose instead to follow the pipe dream to get a University Degree and all will be well when we come out the other end – perfect, our life directions are sorted for another three years!

Then come the end of University and (pardon my French) – s*** gets real. You’re stuck in a dead end call center job on £12,000 a year (if you’re lucky) and realise to get that real dream job you want, you’re going to have to work full time, whilst picking up extra volunteer hours in your dream sector, whilst  keeping mum and dad happy for another three years because you’ve had to move back home to try and save up some money to finally get on with living your life independently.

For me, this was all a very similar story – until I started up my own Dog Walking business, now nearly a year ago. I now have a dream job and unlimited earning potential and it could all have been done without getting a University degree. Or could it?

Your Business IS Your Career

Side stepping for a moment, I firmly believe that many people could live much happier lives by running their own businesses from the get go without trying the career route first.

Instead of climbing a certain career ladder (which to be quite frank I think is like a Tyrannosaurus Rex in that it no longer exists!) you can instead continually grow and evolve your own business, ever progressing and with ever higher earning potential. The sky is the limit.

However when I used to think of businessmen (and I use the term men deliberately here but that’s another topic all together) it was as though they were a different species. They were either presented by society as someone with an insanely intelligent idea who made millions (Bill Gates style) or a school dropout who went from rags to riches (Alan Sugar style).

Why can’t running your own business be normalised, just like having a career?

Making The Transition: Golden Tools Not Golden Tickets

I return to my earlier conundrum, couldI have achieved what I have achieved now without following a formal education and getting a University Degree first? In a way, my answer would be no. Let me explain…

Had I not gone to university there are two things that would also have never occurred. One: I probably wouldn’t have moved out of my parents’ house and two: I wouldn’t have that silly little piece of paper to say I was a Graduate.

Had I not moved out of my parents’ house, I would never have got my first pet dog and would have no experience in managing money to cover all the expenditures of life.

Had I not graduated, I would never have got my first real full time job working for an international company. Up until this point I still felt like a kid playing in an adult world.  But the self-belief that job gave me has helped enormously in trusting that new clients will take me seriously as a business woman. I also don’t believe I would have found it quite so easy to pick up a large number of subsequent jobs which not only gave me an great insight into how businesses actually worked but also have saved me on countless occasions when I realised I needed to pick up extra work fast to stop the debt collectors banging on my door.

But what if instead of using University as an excuse to leave home and to prove my self-worth to the world, I had been encouraged by my school and my parents to build essential skills required to employ myself? This is where I believe the education system is failing many millennials.

My Golden Six

And now we reach our headline: business awareness and young people. Had I been made much more aware when I was younger what running your own business meant in terms of the practicalities, the variety it could give to your work options and the benefits it could give to your lifestyle, I would have looked into the option much sooner!

I was lead to believe if you wanted to run your own business, then this came as the final stage in life once you had been in the industry for decades and worked your way up the career ladder as an employee. I now realise this is simply not the case.

Here I would like to set out my Golden Six; six golden ‘tools’ I believe make a great foundation to get anyone set on the road to running their own business:

  1. Finding something that the idea of selling as a product or providing as a service really excites you!
  2. Having a grasp  on supporting yourself financially and dealing with bills
  3. Having the confidence to make customers feel at ease when speaking face to face
  4. The ability to look professional in writing
  5. The ability to communicate over the phone without flapping!
  6. Being competent with IT: from internet resourcing and use of Microsoft Office to basic graphic design

Final Thoughts

So there you have it; the invaluable tools I believe generation Z’s need to both be made much more aware of and have support in acquiring from both their schools and their parents as an accepted and very realistic alternative to obtaining a university degree.

Not everyone is born a budding entrepreneur but given the right help and support from early on in life I believe we could and should be seeing a lot more!

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