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Get Paid to Get Knowledge to Start Your Own Business




Charles R. B. Stowe MBA, JD, Ph.D


Ever wonder how the successful entrepreneurs obtained the knowledge to start their own business?  Do you ever wonder how someone can start their business with almost no money? 


Here is the secret.  Treat your job like a learning laboratory.  Go to work with the idea that every day you will write 4-5 sentences on something new that you learned.  Show interest in your work by asking questions.  Most employers welcome questions when the employee is asking questions that will help  get the job done right.  Showing interest in your work by asking questions about how you can do it better is the way to not only increase your potential salary (through promotions or bonuses) but will arm you with information that you can one day use to start your own business.


Here is another trick:  if you work for a large organization, get a phone directory and once a week randomly call one of the executives.  Ask them if they would be free to have a cup of coffee with you.  If they are not too high up in the organization, invite them to lunch.  Does it sound crazy to call an executive or manager you have never met?  Probably, but it is great practice for eventually running your own business.  The art of creating a network.  That is a critical piece of being successful in business – either as an employee or as a future entrepreneur.


True story:  I shared this idea with my business students.  One of them worked part time at Texas Instruments in the receiving department.  The job was merely a means to an end (college education).  He told me that he eventually wanted to be in marketing.  So I told him to call one of the product managers.  This student was really reluctant, but he called the manager and told him that he was working the dock while working on a college degree in marketing.  He told the manager that he had asked his boss who is really successful in the company (which is true and how he knew who to call).  The marketing manager was flattered and they had a mid afternoon coffee break.  Before the end of the semester, the student came to me to tell me that the marketing manager had received permission to hire an assistant (“just a clerical job, but in marketing”).  The student was thrilled.  That would not have happened if the student execute the advice from class.  Two years later, he was offered a job in marketing at a very nice starting salary.  Five years later, he started a marketing agency focusing on high technology marketing.


Point is that most people see employment as a means to an end instead of as an opportunity to learn and industry, network and get paid to get knowledge. 


This Personal Development article was written by Charles R.B. Stowe on 8/17/2010

BA Vanderbilt, MBA University of Dallas, JD University of Houston law Center, Ph.D Warsaw University (School of Management). 15 Years Venture Capital, Corporate VP New England Paper company & CEO Real Estate Development.
27 years in Higher Ed. Currently, Dean, College of Business and Public Affairs, Lander University, Greenwood, SC. Author “”How to Start Your Business with No Investors and No Debt”” Edpubtech, Inc.