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Today’s Question: What job did you have early in your career that taught you the most? What were the important lessons that you learned?
The answers below are provided by members of FounderSociety, an invitation-only organization comprised of ambitious startup founders and business owners.
1. Be Ready for Anything
I started my career working for a startup as an analyst. When you’re part of something new and innovative, you’re surrounded by opportunity. With opportunity comes flexibility and spontaneity. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is to welcome change. Be open to changing direction in this ever-evolving world, and be willing to adapt to your culture and surroundings.
— Nadia Hansen, Result Logix
2. Customer Happines Is Your Bottom Line
I worked as a guide in Alaska prior to launching Salty Girl Seafood. I spent days with my customers during their trips and learned about the importance of customer happiness and how to tailor the same product/service to different needs and interest levels. The bottom line is making your customers happy and aligning your company’s objectives with achieving that happiness 100 percent of the time.
— Laura Johnson, Salty Girl Seafood
3. Throw Yourself Into a Competitive Market
I worked for R.H. Donnelley (now Dex Media) for about four years, and it was the best experience possible. I got exposure to – and discovered my passion for – digital marketing and SEO, and I was put into some of the most difficult situations in my career. I learned what it takes to succeed in a challenging work environment in Chicago, which has an extremely competitive market. This was an invaluable experience.
— Christopher Rodgers, Colorado SEO Pros
4. Never Be Satisfied
As a teenager, I worked for a light manufacturing operation near my house. I hated how mundane the work was, so I spent any downtime I had trying to create more efficient processes. Within a few months, I had tweaked the procedure and became the top producer. It taught me that just doing satisfactory work is the trap that prevents most of us from doing incredible work.
— Tony Banta, Live Mercury, Inc.
5. Systematize as Much as Possible
I worked in a very unorganized warehouse a few summers in a row and learned that everything can be done more efficiently if you can systematize it. It took a few months, but once we got a system and schedule in place, we literally had about half the work to do, compared to the amount we had to do before the system. We systematize everything we can now, and it helps just as much as it did back then.
— Ben Walker, Transcription Outsourcing, LLC
6. Make the Most of the Situation You’re In
I was laid off from Microsoft, my first job out of college, during the financial crisis in 2010. This life event knocked me off of the stable corporate track. I’ve been pursuing my entrepreneurial dreams ever since, and it’s the best thing that ever happened to me.
— James Hu, Jobscan