Glenford Smith | Home-based business dilemma
QUESTION: I recently started a part-time enterprise after a redundancy at my former workplace. I took a little less than two years to do so. I had been working 21 years at my previous employment. I decided to go back into the employment market, and one of the problems is that is that they want to know why I am not in my business full time. I don't seem to have an answer. And furthermore, why can't I have both?
ANSWER: Thank you for your question, which had to be condensed because of space considerations.
I wish to commend you on the start of a business enterprise. We are living in the exciting age of the entrepreneur. With many individuals taking the reins of their careers in their own hands, it is something that you must embrace and be excited about.
Today, there are many and varied home-based businesses. You can start one in your living room, with just a computer and an internet connection. Here in Jamaica, people are learning that they no longer have to quit their jobs, but can work for a few hours after a day at their job. They can stay right here in their living room in Jamaica and have a client in Malaysia, the United States or London. They can do the work and collect their money, all the while staying right at home.
This is the direction of the world of work, increasingly, so I would urge you, if you're not already doing so to consider incorporating this model in your business. My colleague, Yaneek Page penned an excellent column for the Sunday Gleaner, August 19, 2018 titled "Earning Online: Inspiring Jamaican Success Stories", which gives you much food for thought.
Your interviewer has a concern about your extra-business working activities as it pertains to your business. You say they enquire as to why you are not engaged in your business. This is par for the course. They know that many members of staff do not really want to be there at the work, but would prefer to be at their own business. Many just use the company to finance them until they can leave.
So it is quite natural to be asked the question you were asked. Your task is to reassure them, that when you are on the job, that is what you're focused on. You don't want to say yes, you wished you could be there now, and elaborate enthusiastically. You could be perceived as a loose cannon in the company; someone who is too entrepreneurial to make a good team player.
Neither do you want them to think you're looking for a job to learn some trade secrets or land some accounts, before you quit. And you don't want to give the impression that you're a security minded drone who dare not dream big.
Be honest about your entrepreneurial dream but let them know that you are there to contribute enthusiastically for a number of years.
You are correct: you can have both. But the interviewer would not be doing their job not to ask you this question.
Let the interviewer know that you draw a strict line of demarcation between your entrepreneurial activities and your job. Further, focus on showing them how your 21 years of work experience will redound to his company's benefit.
- Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of 'From Problems to Power' and co-author of 'Profile of Excellence'. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.