Do You Need To Work For Someone Else Before Starting Your Own Venture?


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A hot topic among some business students: do entrepreneurs have to work a corporate job before starting their own business? We asked some of our favorite company leaders to speak their thoughts on this subject.

Simple Answer: Probably Not

While there’s not a perfect answer to this question, our experts seem to lean towards the idea that it’s not required. Can it help? Possibly! But that doesn’t mean it’s the right path for everyone.

“One of the great things about being an entrepreneur is that you get to create your own way in the world. This means you don’t have to have any specific experience,” says Brandon Amoroso, Founder and CEO of electrIQ marketing. “There’s no job description, no required skill sets, and no mandatory path to follow. That being said, you do need to have a solid foundational knowledge of the business world so classes or internships aren’t a bad idea.”

“If you’ve studied business in college and really learned what it takes to run a business – finances, marketing, legal aspects, the works – then I would say you don’t have to work a corporate job first,” says Jeff Meeks, VP of Sales and Marketing for EnergyFit. “There are a lot of successful entrepreneurs out there that never set foot in a corporate position before starting their own venture, but they usually had knowledge of how to operate a business.”

“I don’t think it hurts to have experience in the corporate world, but it’s definitely not a requirement. For starters, unless you’re in upper-level management, the skills you’re learning as an employee of a corporate job is not going to prepare you as much as you might think,” says Matt Miller, Founder & CEO of Embroker. You’ll learn some valuable skills, but you’re usually operating in a limited sphere of the organization so you only learn about your department and not how to run an organization or your own business.”

Look At Other Entrepreneurs

It makes sense that several of our experts recommended looking towards other entrepreneurs – they’ve been where you are and there is a real value in mentorship and learning from the experience of others.

“Entrepreneurs wear a lot of hats – especially in the early days,” says Ryan Rockefeller,  Co-founder and CEO of Cleared. “A corporate job isn’t going to teach you to juggle everything that’s going to be thrown at you as an entrepreneur. I think it would be more beneficial to look for an internship, apprenticeship, or job within a small business or startup that will show you what to expect in the future.”

Explore Marketing Positions

It turns out, there are other things you can do before starting your own business venture. According to some of our experts, marketing positions hold a real value because of the relatable skills you can learn in these positions.

“I would recommend a marketing internship or job with a smaller organization before I’d recommend a corporate job,” says Schuyler Hoversten, Co-Founder and President of Swoopt. “A startup or new business venture is going to need a ton of marketing – especially in the beginning. Learning how to approach different audiences and create marketing materials is just the tip of the iceberg.”

“Marketing is more than just letting people know you exist,” says Tyler Read, Founder and Senior Editor of Personal Trainer Pioneer. “In the early days, as an entrepreneur, you have to know so much about the type of marketing you want to do and it can be overwhelming to figure out the specifics if you don’t have experience in the area.” 

“The amount of resources needed to market a brand well is surprising when you’re first starting out,” says Matt Woods, Co-founder & CEO of “You have to know more than how to create a website and manage social platforms. What print materials are you going to use? Are you designing your graphics in-house or outsourcing those? Which platforms are you prioritizing and how are those going to be managed?”

Financial Backgrounds Help Too

There is a lot that goes into the financing of a new business. Explore the skills and knowledge you might need through a financial position prior to starting your own venture!

“Financing a startup or new venture is not easy,” says Kashish Gupta, Founder and CEO of Hightouch. “Intern or work in a financial department of a business to learn how to run bookkeeping softwares and manage accounts for tax purposes. There’s a learning curve to this process and having a background in finance can help you avoid expensive mishaps.”

“Managing finances is a massive balancing act for any new business venture,” says Remon Aziz, Chief Operating Officer of Advantage. “I don’t think working in a corporate financial position would be as beneficial as working in a smaller organization’s financial department. Corporate finances are going to be so different from a new business. Working for a smaller business will help you learn more of the big picture aspect that you need to understand as an entrepreneur.”


Corporate jobs are great for building a resume and making connections, but they might not be the best path for someone looking to start their own venture as an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship requires the wearing of many hats and you’ll need to know many skill sets, which might not be taught in a position at a corporate job where you’re only exposed to a very tiny portion of the organization.

Our experts recommend looking at other small businesses started by entrepreneurs and experiencing where you might be soon. Learn things like marketing and financial skills that will directly benefit your venture through your knowledge in those positions. Internships, apprenticeships, and jobs are all valuable experiences in the world of entrepreneurship.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt to study entrepreneurship either. Learn as much as you can and really try to make the most of the jobs that you have so you can apply those skills and knowledge to your future experience. Happy venturing!

This content is provided by an independent source for informational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Consult an attorney or financial advisor when making decisions. This information is provided by legal writers and does not reflect the views or opinions of The Daily Sundial editorial staff.