Take a Cue from Jim

With the popular TV show The Office coming to a close, we thought it was time to write a post about dead-end jobs. Forbes magazine put together this slide show called “20 Signs You’re Stuck in a Dead-End Job” that we thought had some great points (though the pictures do get a bit depressing).

If you’re seeing yourself in this slideshow we suggest it might be time for you to take a cue from Jim Halpert and become an entrepreneur. If you’re in this phase, here are three tips we recommend:

1.      Hire your friends.

Looking to your group of college friends can provide loyal and inexpensive base of cofounders and employees. Although there is always the risk of things getting sticky, no one else will be willing to work for sweat equity during the early start-up days. Your friends also already have a strong relationship with you that can transfer over to your business.

2.      Remember that instability is the new normal.

With the shaky economy you might question if now is really the time to strike out on your own, but ask yourself if your current job is really safe. With unemployment rates skyrocketing and frenzied competition around every corner, the truth is your current position might be just as unstable as a new start-up business. If you’re not ready to completely leave behind a safety net, we recommend starting your new business while still in school or while working full time (which is how most entrepreneurs scale up business). Then, strike out on your own when you feel more secure. Remember that it’s ok to be unstable as long as you have a plan—and way—to grow.

3.      If you’re still in school, use the (free!) resources.

Data bases, expensive journals, mentors, legal and financial advice. These things can be significant expenses for a new business. At school you can have them all, and of course a great professional network, built right in. Use as many of the resources that are available to you while they are still free and concentrated to one area as you can. Talking to others in your major about ideas, plans, and logistics can be invaluable, especially if you maintain the relationship. Don’t forget to venture over to those studying engineering, business, and other subjects who can provide new perspectives and skills to your nascent business.

Remember, have fun!

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