Entrepreneurship

Career advice from entrepreneurs who’ve raised millions

As deliberation over the strength of the economy persists, Americans continue to leave their jobs in search of better opportunities. More than 4 million people quit in July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Their reasons vary ― some leave as a result of low pay, for example, others as a result of a lack of career advancement.

Millions are also finding themselves out of work for reasons outside of their control, like being temporarily or permanently laid off. Many are likely seeking out their next role.

If you’re looking to advance your career, whatever stage you happen to be at, here are three pieces of career advice from entrepreneurs who’ve recently pivoted themselves.

‘Careers are like spiderwebs’

Shirley Romig suggests a holistic approach when it comes to tackling your career. Romig co-founded Mixo, a short-form video platform focused on food and recipes, just this year.

“Careers are like spiderwebs,” she told CNBC Make It during PR company BAM’s Media Matchmaking Day.

“I think as a junior person starting out, you have this vision of climbing the career ladder and the career ladder always seems vertical,” she says. “I find that the smarter way is to think about the spiderweb effect, which is sometimes you go sideways, sometimes you go diagonal, but the goal is to always try to get differentiated experience.”

Say you know you want to make it to the C-suite one day, she says. Though you might envision a specific path to get there, along the way, you might find that you get job offers that aren’t necessarily in line with that plan. If they pique your interest and seem like the kind of opportunities you want to take advantage of in that moment, go for it.

You never know how they’ll help you build toward that goal, or help you find a new and better one altogether.

‘Rising tide lifts all ships’

For Amy Divaraniya, the advice is pretty classic: “A rising tide lifts all ships,” she says. That is, help your colleagues and others around you even as you grow in your career. Divaraniya co-founded Oova, an app that equips women with easy-to-understand information about their hormone levels using at-home urine samples, in 2017.

Divaraniya got her PhD in biomedical sciences with a focus on genetics and saw first-hand how this kind of collaboration could help. In science, she says, “everyone holds onto their data. They don’t want to share it. I’ve always been collaborative about it. And our papers come out to be so much more powerful because now you have 10 sources of data versus just one.”

It’s an attitude she’s using to build her company, too. As Oova works with the hospital system, they’ve taken into consideration patient frustrations and attempted to solve those along the way. The No. 1 problem is patient satisfaction, she says, and their No. 1 gripe is the wait to get into a fertility center. The company is helping to expedite that process.

‘Have an expertise’

“I think it’s very important to make sure that you have expertise,” says Anusha Harid-Paoletti, who founded Liquidly, a fintech company focused on private fund assets, in 2018. Among the company’s investors are VC firm Village Global, backed by entrepreneurs including Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates.

“There must be something that you know really well,” she says. “I think that’s what will differentiate you when you’re in a large organization, but also when you want to take that risk [as an entrepreneur]. You have something to fall back on.”

In any given job, you’ll likely have opportunities to deepen your knowledge of something. Maybe there’s a program you use that you can learn the ins and outs of to become the go-to person about how it works in your company. Or maybe there’s a subject matter you could learn to help you gain an edge on your competitors. See what kinds of resources your company is offering to become the expert on that thing.

Even if you’re unemployed, there are tools you can use to gain knowledge on a wide array of subjects. Look into courses, tutorials, or mentorship programs you can take advantage of on sites like LinkedIn or Udemy or through a local college or university.

Harid-Paoletti herself spent 10 years working at Goldman Sachs building a knowledge base about financial services before embarking on her entrepreneurship.

“I think there’s no substitute for depth,” she says about the importance of learning something to its core. “Like, doing the thing like a surgeon would.”

Check out:

4 entrepreneurs who’ve raised millions on the morning routines that set them up for success

Entrepreneur and TED Talks speaker’s best career advice: ‘Suck slightly less than everyone else’

How surviving cancer changed this 34-year-old’s attitude toward work: ‘The concept of checking email was laughable’

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