How to go from Employee to Entrepreneur

In June, alumna Candy Motzek, BASc’85 presented a live webinar to UBC alumni on how to shift from the role of employee to entrepreneur. She received so many questions that she decided to answer some of them in our Career Blog. If you missed her webinar, you can view the archive here.

Do you have any specific advice for young graduates who want to create their own business?

Find work, even part time, in a small business. A business that is small enough that there is plenty of multi-tasking, problem solving and a big need for proactive initiative.  This will give you a window into the world of small business / entrepreneurship and you will be able to better decide if this the right path for you.

Make sure you “do the work” to understand both why you want to start a small business, as well as why and how your business, product or service is needed and whether there is both the market/desire for it and enough people willing to spend money on it.

Do you have any tips on what type of people to network with for your professional network?

I recommend you look for variety. Network with people who have with different skill sets, levels of seniority and industries. Be generous with your time and energy to create more meaningful networking contacts as opposed to chasing large numbers of shallow contacts.

What activities should you focus on mainly when first starting a business?

The first priority is stellar market research to make the best choice when starting a business. If you already have a business, remember the purpose of a business is to make a profit. Without a profit, you have an expensive hobby. I would suggest taking whatever action is needed to get client activity and make sales. This will depend on the type of clients you cater too. Social media is a big driver for sales, face to face contact or a simple website can also be valuable.

What are some resources for researching how to set up certain types of businesses?

About Our Guest Blogger

Candy Motzek, BASc ’85

As a Personal Life and Leadership Coach, credentialed with the International Coaching Federation, Candy works with brilliant people to grow their skills and mindset while significantly improving their satisfaction, performance and results. She supports leaders to understand who they are at their best, and get clear on blind spots that impede their success.

Candy has a background as an engineer and a Director with some of Canada’s top corporations and leverages this real-world experience with her clients.

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