You’ve already got ‘em—now back those skills up

19 Jun

Brute Hustle #5, by K. Tighe

There’s no such thing as tiptoeing into your dream career—it’s a big fat leap that’s scary as hell.

If your Pinterest is a graveyard for the hopes and dreams of the business you haven’t started yet, ask yourself “Why?”

Does your resume point toward an evolution that had nothing to do with leading a startup? Listen up, dreamer: All skills transfer.

Brute Hustle Tip #5: Figure out how the skills you already have transfer to the skill set of an entrepreneur.

Out of all the aptitudes that great entrepreneurs share, these 12, along with vision, are the qualifiers. If my disparate and sometimes bizarre working experiences qualify me, I’m betting your CV gets you in the game, too.

1. Leadership

During my time leading crews for stage productions, I got the hang of delegating. I learned to figure out what people did well and also understand what the people wanted to learn. This taught me that “leading” is very different than “managing.”

Another day, another band. (Photo courtesy of Flickr)

2. Communication

Funny thing about working in theatrical production… if you don’t communicate well, things fall on your head. With heavy lights, scenery pieces, and century-old fly systems overhead, I learned to listen. I also learned to keep small talk to a minimum and always say “thank you.”

3. Problem Solving

During my time as the resident lighting director of a music venue, my job was to figure out how to make an endless stream of bands look great on stage. Every band presented entirely new problems and finding the solutions became a game that I mastered nightly.

The curtain opens when it opens. (Photo courtesy of Flickr)

4. Critical Thinking

My biggest takeaway from my time as a journalist? Question everything! Researching stories taught me how to examine a problem from every angle, find valid evidence based on observation and data and put things into a broader context.

5. Time Management

If you really want to know how to manage time, there’s one sure way to do it: wait tables. Things can’t get cold, orders can’t get screwed up, water glasses can’t go empty and the smile can’t leave your face. It’s like tightrope-walking with tips.

The best time management training? Wait tables. (Photo courtesy of Flickr)

6. Collaboration

The quality of a staged play depends on the director and various designers (costume, set, lighting, sound, prop) working together to make the director’s vision a reality. So you learn to work together especially because oh, the deadline never moves. The curtain opens when it opens, so any backstage drama has to play second chair to the work.

7. Finance

My time as editor-in-chief of an independent magazine taught me how to stretch a dollar — and I mean stretch. The budget of each issue was a fraction of the coffee budget of most similarly sized magazines, yet we always got ‘em to the printer on time.

Grapes are gross, but once they’re ready to drink it’s all worth it. (Photo courtesy of Flickr)

8. Sales + Marketing

The origin of my snake oil saleswoman side can be traced back to my teenage years spent at Sears’ fine jewelry counter, charming people into buying the baubles that eventually paid for my Pontiac Sunbird.

9. Self-Motivation

I may have been in my pajamas or gelato shops most of the time, but freelancing taught me how to work autonomously to get things done and move my career forward. It also taught me that no one else is going to jump-start my career for me.

The hulling never ends. (Photo courtesy of Flickr)

10. Ethics

My ethics have always been fairly rigid, but my time as an editorial intern made them ironclad.

11. Work Ethic

Hulling strawberries on a New Hampshire farm one summer wasn’t wholly unpleasant—great company, Johnny Cash on repeat, the smell of freshly picked berries—it’s just that it was very, very hard work. But, what would have happened if we stopped? The berries would have rotted before they turned into delicious jam.

12. Patience

Earwigs crawled through my hair, grape guts covered my jeans—being an intern at a winery was pretty gross. And after an intense crush season, I had to wait years to drink the fermented fruits of my labors. That’s exactly how starting a business works: things have to get messy long before anyone wants to drink your Kool-Aid.

K. Tighe is the founder, publisher, editor-in-chief, and Chief Taco Officer of Poor Taste, a collaborative online magazine covering the underbelly of food and drink culture. In addition to basking in the bahn mi and bourbon perks associated with running a food publication, Tighe spends her days getting geeky over micro-entrepreneurship and the collaborative consumption movement as Content Strategist for TaskRabbit. Click here for the Brute Hustle Archive. @k_tighe |

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