“You need to build up some business experience before you strike out on your own.”

That’s the advice your parents probably gave you when you were starting out. It’s probably the advice they got from their parents, and it’s most likely the advice you passed along to your own children when they graduated and set out to find a job. But it’s bad advice – especially now when unemployment is high and job opportunities are limited.

Sure, experience counts; but you can get it just as easily working for yourself as someone else. One of the most perpetuated and self-limiting myths about business is that you need to learn the ropes by working for Mythsomeone else for a few years before you start a business. While experience is an excellent teacher, the reality is that:

  1. It can be tough to impossible to get the job you want in today’s economy which means you’ll spend a lot of time learning skills that may not transfer to what you really want to do.
  2. The kind of management, financial, marketing, sales, customer service and other job skills you need to run a business are unlikely to be the skills you’ll learn early in your career. You might learn one or two of the skills you’re after, but you’re not going to learn the upper management skills you need until you’ve spent quite a few years climbing someone else’s ladder.
  3. The longer you put off pursuing your dream; the less likely you are to rock your personal boat and take that bold step into the unknown.

The job landscape is changing. Entrepreneurs will lead the future work force. We do our children — and ourselves — a disservice by discouraging them from exploring opportunities to steer their own course.