It’s great to see so many ambitious people wanting to go it alone and pursue their passions early in life. Setting up a business, whether it’s blogging or something completely different, takes a lot of effort. It won’t happen overnight. Some people get lucky and they get noticed early down the road, for others it can take much, much longer.
As a journalist, I wouldn’t be in a job without work experience. Unpaid work is awful, but for me it was necessary to be where I am. But I am not advocating working for free in this blog. In fact, I’m telling you to do the opposite.
By work experience I mean experience of working in a professional environment. This includes, a supermarket or coffee shop job. It’s all experience in the ‘real’ world. The reality is, every little helps although I would strongly advise gaining experience in the sector that you want your website to focus on. So if you’re interested in gaming, work in a games shop. If you like travel, what about a travel agents?
So why is it so important to have work experience?
If you’re reading this then you’re pretty serious about your blog (probably). You’re probably spending a fair bit of time online, networking through social media. That’s fantastic, that’s exactly what you need to do. But there’s more to running a business. There are some skills that you can only develop through work experience.
Networking with real life people is a fantastic skill to have. To be confident enough to interact with others and appear approachable, without being over-confident and coming across as cocky is a difficult balance to strike. The more you know about your blog, the more passionate you are, the more confident you’ll feel.
Even for an expert, there’s always moreto learn. Work experience gives you an opportunity to speak to experts, engage with members of the public and understand what it’s really like to work in a company in that sector. For example, by working in a travel agents you can find out what is important to the public, you may get interesting stories from people’s experience but most importantly you can find out how they like to consume information and what sellsto them.
You can learn from colleagues about their personal experiences, what it’s like running or working in such a company, what are the competitors, whatare the other aspects to the industry that you wouldn’t think about?
It’s impossible to see the importance of networking until you go out and do it, but by gaining experience in your chosen industry you’re surrounding yourself with people who care about what you do.
So you can write really well and you’re great with social media? Fantastic, you’re nearly there. But what about the other skills that are required? Gaining work experience can help you to pick up or develop skills that you lack.
If you’re struggling with selling, there’s a job for that. If you’re strugging with marketing, there’s a job for that. If you’re struggling with graphic design, there’s a job for that. You’re probably asking why someone would hire you for skills you don’thave. Well if you don’t try you’ll never know. But to be on the safe side, just send your CVinto a couple of companies, ask to shadow for a week or over a weekend. You can pick up skills for free at little cost. It’s another thing on your CV and you never know, it might lead to something more.
Don’t be afraid to ask for things. But think about what the most productive way is on achieving your goal. So you want to learn photoshop? There are free courses online, but you could also shadow a graphic designer for a week. Ask them to give you a 15-minute introduction and watch them do the rest. Often, the best way to learn is by doing. A job forces you to do.