There are times when a job search seems to lead to one dead end after another. In some cases, this frustrating cycle just might indicate that the “perfect job” you’re looking for is something else entirely: The chance to hire yourself.
If you’re underwhelmed by your job options, craving more autonomy and growth potential, or resisting making a commitment to another corporate position, it may be that entrepreneurship would better fit your needs than traditional W-2-track employment.
Pete Gilfillan, a pre-eminent franchise consultant and author of the best-selling business book HIRE YOURSELF: Control your Own Destiny through Franchise Ownership, works with hundreds of candidates each year as they explore the possibility of franchise investment — often while they simultaneously look at traditional employment options.
That’s a smart way to approach this crossroads, Gilfillan explains, because sometimes the reason the right job isn’t coming along is because what the candidate most desires isn’t a job at all — it’s a chance to pursue business ownership.
Explore both options
“There’s no downside to weighing both options,” Gilfillan explains. “That way, whether you choose to invest in a franchise or hire on with someone else’s company, you’re taking the wide view to find the right thing. In the long run, it may save some candidates from the nagging sense that they missed their big chance down that road not taken.”
Gilfillan is quick to acknowledge that entrepreneurship is not for everyone.
“There are millions of men and women of all ages in the workforce who crave close management and the perceived security of the traditional corporate world,” he says. “But there are millions more who dream of having greater career independence, of betting on themselves, and of feeling fully in control of their own destinies.”
If you fall into this latter category—if you aspire to entrepreneurship—then Gilfillan believes you owe it to yourself to give business ownership at least equal consideration when mulling any career change.
There are five strong indicators he looks for as he helps candidates decide if entrepreneurship through franchising is for them. Here’s how he breaks it down and describes each one:
1. The capacity to succeed
To be a success in franchising or almost any entrepreneurial endeavor, a candidate needs to bring solid business acumen and leadership skills to the table from the start. The aptitude for getting things done and effectively leading a team is one thing that translates seamlessly from the corporate world to entrepreneurship nearly every time.
2. Strength of character
Franchisors in particular look for candidates with proven records of being honest, ethical, and driven to succeed. Whether you’re looking to build a business from scratch or expand on a franchisor’s proven concept, these three character traits are a strong predictor of success.
3. Investment Capital
There are a wide range of investment thresholds for both franchising and start-up endeavors, but regardless of which path a candidate chooses, he or she will need to have some skin in the game — some level of personal financial investment — to demonstrate real commitment to partners, backers, and lenders.
4. A Spirit of Cooperation
If you are a maverick who struggles to get along with others or take the direct route from Point A to Point B, you may find starting any business to be rough. Franchising especially requires you to be willing to follow the franchisor’s established business systems to succeed.
There’s no downside in this, though — because those systems are proven, tested, and easy to replicate in each individual unit. It’s nice to not have to reinvent the wheel for every facet of your business.
5. A Commitment to Customer Satisfaction
No matter what kind of business you dream of owning, you’re going to need an unwavering commitment to customer satisfaction to create a worthwhile enterprise. Regardless of the product or service you plan to provide, customer satisfaction is always a component in businesses that thrive.
If you see these five characteristics in yourself, then maybe it’s time to take a step back from your job search and ask: Is it possible the reason this isn’t panning out has more to do with my desire to be an entrepreneur than with how my experience and skills match up with today’s job market?