Why I like Hiring Entrepreneurs as Employees

The day I decided to register my own business was back in 1997 when I used to live in the Philippines. Their Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) and their Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) was always packed with people registering new businesses and I wondered how many of us will actually make it big.

Just by engaging in a short chat with the people in line with me, I found some business plans to be very good and some I found just plain ridiculous and felt they would fail the day they start their business. But then again, who was I to judge being that first-time business owner back then.

Many Businesses Don’t Last Long

The Small Business Administration (SBA) of the U.S. released statistical data stating that 50% of business will fail within the first year, and 95% will fail within 5 years. So there are many business owners who don’t stay as business owners for long.

Either their business evolves or is just simply abandoned and replaced with a new one wherein all mistakes in the past serve as lessons to doing things better the second time around. Sometimes when running a business, some business owners realize that business is not really what they like doing and start going back to work for a company.

My Own Businesses Didn’t Last Long

I started out with a computer shop selling custom-built PCs back in 1997, where I had a good product and my customers agreed that I built good computers. But knowing how to build computers was not even 20% of what I needed to know to run a successful business.

With a small amount of capital put up with 2 other friends, we didn’t have enough to hire skilled employees so we started with one person as an overall assistant of everything. We never planned how the supply chain runs; I had very basic marketing knowledge then and zero sales experience. I had never managed employees and didn’t know much about business operations, legal responsibilities, and a thousand other things.

Years have gone by and my businesses changed. More knowledge and skills were gained and I moved back into the corporate world as an employee, which is my main source of income. I still have small businesses running though they are not my main bread and butter.

The Owner: Last Person Paid, Backup Worker to Do Everything

When you start small, you do everything because you have limited funds to get help to do things for you. You tend to be more creative in tackling tasks, always trying to look at efficiency to get more output with minimal input. You tend to be frugal because every penny counts. You value the people who help you and if you want to keep them, you have to make sure they are happy and paid well.

If there’s not much funds for one person, that person will be the owner if you want your business to survive with people willing to help you.

Former & Current Entrepreneurs Have Many Traits of an Ideal Employee

Now I work in the corporate world where I have climbed the corporate ladder from manager, supervisor, director and VP levels in my career life. Currently, I’m currently the technical SEO director at The Control Group and one of the questions I ask when hiring someone is if they have experienced running their own business, or have their own business on the side.

Being in the Internet Marketing industry, running a business will teach them first-hand experience in marketing, but my question goes beyond that. When I learn that a prospective employee once ran a business, and may have failed or had some short success; or still is running but at a small scale and cannot live on their business alone; all show positive signals that adds on to the reasons to hire that applicant.

9 Traits I Have Observed From Entrepreneurs That Become Employees


· Flexible

They don’t decline a task just because they think it is out of their job description. They embrace new tasks and treat it as an opportunity to learn new things.

· Complains Less

After running a business for some time and being the boss, they cannot complain to any boss. Their boss will be themselves or their family.

· Solution Finders

When entrepreneurs face a problem, and the solution needs some amount of money to hire someone to fix, they may opt to find solutions that will be more cost-effective.

· Self-Starters

They are driven, and self-motivated to do things. Business men usually need to be driven to do things otherwise they would not have gone into business in the first place.

· Efficient at Working Cost-Effectively

When you start a small business, you don’t have enough money to spend, so as much as possible, you try to save in every way you can. And to do that entrepreneurs tend to look for ways to be more efficient.

· Willing To Learn New Things

The more you know, the more efficiently you can work.

· Manages Time, Tasks and People Well

First time entrepreneurs often work extra hours, way longer than your normal 8 to 5. Having said that, many of them don’t want to go back to extended working hours so they try to make the most out of their time.

· Willing to Work Extra Hours if Needed

When challenges come along and there is no other solution but to put in the extra hours, they are often willing because they are used to it. Sometimes it is better to resolve the problem early and adding in a few hours than making it a bigger problem by prolonging the issue.

· Common Sense Sales and Marketing Knowledge

Small business owners who started with no sales and marketing experience and thought just because they have the best product or service doesn’t mean they will automatically sell a lot right away. They had to learn how to sell and market themselves to generate their own income to survive, often starting with cold contacts.

Not every person I hire, is an entrepreneur or used to be one. These positive traits can appear in anyone. Although when an applicant does say they ran a business before, I start to probe in more details:

  • did it grow to a point they manage employees,
  • how large did it get in terms of number of customers,
  • what were their challenges, why did they close, and
  • do they still see themselves going back into business?

The more I learn about their entrepreneurial efforts, the more it reveals their working habits, work ethic and overall value they can contribute.

Technical SEO Director
Benj is a search marketing professional for over 12 years and a web designer/developer since 1997. Runs self-sustaining small businesses on the side while being a full-time employee in the SEO industry holding director level positions for the past 7 years. Being a former chemist, he still thinks it can be his fall back career if the whole SEO industry collapses, which he highly doubts will happen.