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Not everyone is cut to be an entrepreneur, and that’s alright too

Friday June 26 2020
african business lady

Confident african business lady in white shirt and blue jeans stand talking explaining making flip chart presentation for younger leaders, share business experience. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK

By JOAN THATIAH

It’s amazing the number of small businesses that have started since this pandemic broke out. Every other woman you see aged between 20 and 30 has an online thrift shop selling bralettes and jeans and bright sweaters. Women this side of the world adapt to changing circumstances fast.

Before all this, even with the terrible economy, entrepreneurship was trending. It was seen as fashionable to run a business. Running an outfit became a measure of success, the ultimate goal especially for the ambitious, liberated woman.

The possibility of just quitting your job and getting overnight success doing something that you love is the new black.Try complaining to someone about a situation at your work place and you are likely to get, “What are you still doing in employment? Get out of there. Go and start your own thing.” You know, in that condescending tone that makes you wonder why you had not seen the light all these years.

Now, while there is great satisfaction in being answerable to only you and your clients, this advice being peddled around telling everyone to quit employment to go into business or to shun employment right from the beginning is misguided. It is not the whole truth.

Let me explain. First, while most work very hard to make it seem so, not all entrepreneurs are raking in millions, some have barely broken even, while others are dead broke deep in debt. But of course they won’t tell you these on their YouTube channels and the glamorous vacation and staycation posts. Fake it till you make it, right?

The whole truth is that entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. We can’t all be business women. Being an entrepreneur takes being able to take certain kinds of risk and a personality type that presents a particular level of aggression which only part of the population has. Some people really do thrive in employment while gaining immense satisfaction from it. Some women are main stream. They enjoy safe environment and calculated risk taking.

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We should stop with the ostracising. Being employed is not a vain ambition. Unlike entrepreneurship which often forces you to be a jack of all trades, employment allows you to focus all your energies on your strong point. Others just do not have the experience or the skill to run a business. Isn’t it better to make some of these mistakes while still under the watch of someone else?

Just because entrepreneurship is accessible doesn’t mean that we should all be clamouring for it. That notion that if you start a business, all your problems will end should be thrown out of the window. Starting a business is not a life solution for everyone. For some people, the solution is finding a meaningful career, working hard at keeping your job and growing in it. There should be no shame in wanting to work for someone else. Taking the traditional path of graduating from campus, finding a job and working your way up to smash the glass ceilings up the corporate ladder isn’t being unambitious.

Even if entrepreneurship were a universal solution to our financial problems, it just isn’t physically viable. Every successful entrepreneur has to be backed by a team of dedicated employees.

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