What job did you have before you became an entrepreneur? How did the job help shape your entrepreneurial endeavors?
To help inspire ambitious entrepreneurs, we asked business leaders and CEOs to share their most memorable jobs prior to setting out on their own. From teaching English to IT recruiting, there are several roles these motivated professionals learned from that may help invigorate your dream to start your own business in the future.
Here are 9 jobs these entrepreneurs had before starting their business:
- Nursery Attendant
- English Teacher
- Senior Management
- IT Recruiter
- Business Development
- Product Manager
- College Athlete
I worked at a nursery as an attendant, where my job was to take care of plants. Every day I watered plants, gave them more or less sunlight depending on their condition, and helped customers to their cars when they purchased the plants I took care of. Looking back, what I was doing then is no different from what I do as a CEO and entrepreneur. The only difference is I work with people now instead of plants. I try to create an environment where employees grow and thrive before they eventually move on and find new homes or adventures.
Brett Farmiloe, Markitors
Before I became an entrepreneur, I held high-stress jobs in finance. Unfortunately, working long hours caused my skin to suffer, no matter what skincare products I used. Out of frustration, I sought advice from a specialist who created customized skincare products. Ultimately, it helped me realize that every person needs their own unique skincare formula, depending on their own particular skin issues and lifestyle.
Inspired by this knowledge, I actually ended up discovering a new sense of purpose. I eventually founded my company along with our co-founder, Amy Yuan, who built the database from which we use AI to create customized skincare formulas for our customers. Through discovering solutions for my own skin issues, after enduring stress from my previous jobs, I am now in a position where I can help so many others with their skin as well. This is very rewarding.
Ming Zhao, Proven Skincare
I was a full-time English teacher before I started my online business in the education space. Because I spent a significant portion of my time learning and teaching grammar, vocabulary, and punctuation, I became a much better writer and editor for my own blog. I can rock semicolons and hyphens with ease and can quickly spot-check errors made by my writers while editing content. Beyond actual work, being a teacher inspired the niche that I chose for all of my subsequent businesses. I have a passion for education and now have an avenue to share it with others.
Kristine Thorndyke, Test Prep Nerds
Before I started my business, I was a CPA on track to a senior management position and likely partnership when I realized that what I really wanted to do was work for myself. My experience as both a CPA and particularly as a student studying for and taking the CPA exam helped inform my business model because it was what I knew best. I eventually branched out into the course review and education space in various other professional designations as well. I knew that people contemplating and studying for six sigma careers, especially in accounting, spent a great deal of time evaluating their prep course options and that there was a market for helping to make that process easier for them.
Bryce Welker, CPA Exam Guy
When screening resumes and interviewing candidates, I was always surprised at how the person didn’t “match” the resume. I could see a number of ways top candidates could have written about themselves that would have helped us understand their strengths — and select them earlier in the process. As a result, I took on a newfound passion: rewriting resumes. I did this for years in order to help job seekers identify key skills and eventually turned this mission into my business.
Laura Smith-Proulx, An Expert Resume
I was in business development and marketing before taking the leap into entrepreneurship. The 20+ years that led up to my current role helped me prepare for this journey. My career course changed over the years. Each experience helped with a skillset or built upon my foundation for the next endeavor. At the time, I couldn’t see how all the puzzle pieces fit together. But looking back now, I see how the diverse roles contributed to all the hats I wear today.
Melissa Blatt, indipop
When we first started growing our business, I was a product manager. It allowed me to pioneer a Silicon Valley startup acquisition into a trusted cryptocurrency accounting and tax application for clients — a first for any of The Big 4 professional accounting firms. This experience allowed me to get familiar with the startup ecosystem and helped me develop the operational skills needed to manage my own business.
Tom Mumford, Undergrads
Working on various projects as an architect allowed me to learn what other architects struggle with. Now, I use that knowledge combined with marketing expertise to help architects and interior designers promote their services. In addition, the architecture experience allows me to understand the perspectives of all the stakeholders of the building industry: architects, their clients, building project managers, and material manufacturers.
Rebeca Sena, GetSpace.Digital
Before becoming an entrepreneur, I was a D1 athlete on Boston University’s rowing team. Not only did this experience give me the determination and grit I needed to succeed in the business world, but it also helped me take a larger interest in health and nutrition at a pivotal moment in my life. My time on the rowing team helped me see food as fuel, which became a vital part of my life when I was diagnosed with Celiac disease. This led me to create my company to fuel my body while feeding my sweet tooth without Celiac complications. The recipe became so popular that I abandoned my plans to join the corporate workforce after college, instead deciding to bring Snow Monkey to market.
Rachel Geicke, Snow Monkey