5 Benefits to a Boss with no Experience

jumper_entrepreneur_boss
5 Benefits to a Boss with no Experience

Jump right in, the business is warm.

Miuccia Prada studied to be a mime for five years before taking the helm of her father’s fashion business. That’s the kind of past business experience you’d look for in a boss, right? A boss who knows how to appear stuck in an invisible box. Not exactly.

Prada made it work. That’s not always the case.

Jump Right In – No Experience Required

The entrepreneurial path to CEO/founder is not always a conventional one. I once worked for a start-up publishing company, started up by a professional skydiver. (Insert sky diving joke here, please.) Sure, people can successfully change industries, but you have to wonder what kind of business prowess leaping from planes gives you.
I got the answer the day the company’s office furniture was repossessed.

Geronimoooo – Working for a Jumper

Jumping into the unknown is a common theme with entrepreneurs. To them, it’s a simple a leap of faith. They believe in their soul that their idea will be the next big thing. That’s admirable.

But often this certainty comes with no experience, and little actual information about the industry they’re getting into. That’s scary. And that’s where you come in.

Hang on Toto

If you’ve been hired by a Jumper, you may just be the Wizard of Oz to your boss’s Willy Wonka. You may be the man behind the curtain making it all work.

It can be a heady, enticing experience to be brought into a start-up as the resident expert. The upside is that you’ve been down this road, and you know the best route to take. The downside is that your entrepreneur boss may not trust your navigation skills.

5 Reasons to Work for the Jumper Entrepreneur
(and 5 reasons not to)

Upside: You may get input into all aspects of the business, even those outside your immediate area of expertise.
Downside: Your input may fall on deaf ears. Even the input in your area of expertise.

Upside: Want to be Director or Vice President? Maybe even CEO? Just ask. In exchange for your expertise, this entrepreneur hands out big titles like candy.
Downside: Big titles can be granted in lieu of big salaries. And despite what’s on your business card, Wonka will always control the direction the chocolate river flows.

Upside: As an industry newbie, your entrepreneur may have fresh, never before tried tactics.
Downside: There may be a reason these tactics have never been tried. As the veteran, it’s your judgment the industry will question if these tactics fail.

Upside: You may be able to send business to vendors you like, increasing your value in the industry.
Downside: Your entrepreneur may not treat these vendors well, tarnishing your future value to these vendors.

Upside: While working for this kind of entrepreneur boss, you’ll get more responsibilities then you’d get anywhere else.
Downside: See above.

Working for Wonka? Know this: Your entrepreneur boss may jump from industry to industry, but you may not. If this industry is your life long career, look before you leap.

Have you worked for a Jumper? What was the upside—or downside—for you?

8 Comments

  • Debbie @ Happy Maker

    Reply Reply August 25, 2010

    Yes, I guess you might say I have. It was for a used car lot. the job lasted for 6 months. I have know idea what he jumped to after that one went belly up. Upside was I did get 2 weeks pay when he went under. Downside was he didn’t listen to anyone. He knew it all. OOPS Not so Much.
    By the way this is a fun article. You brought back memories and put a smile on my face. Thanks
    Debbie

    • Kathy Ver Eecke

      Reply Reply December 9, 2010

      Debbie: I’m glad you liked it! Even more so if it put a smile on your face.

      Thanks for reading.

  • Corinne Edwards

    Reply Reply August 25, 2010

    I worked for a “jumper” when I first got my real estate license.

    He was valuable because he let me do whatever I wanted as long as I brought in sales.

    He had a terrible temper (Was a spree alcoholic) and often fired me on a Friday afternoon – only to call me on Saturday to say,
    “Get your a– is here. You have clients waiting.”

    He insulted clients. Especially if they did not agree with his appraisal of their property.

    His favorite answer was –

    “If you painted the place, I could probably arrange to have it condemned.”

    (they usually accepted the appraisal)

    But he taught me a lot. Like taking chances and asking for the order.

    He was reckless and agressive. And when he loved you he loved you a lot. One day I should write a book about him.

    • Kathy Ver Eecke

      Reply Reply December 9, 2010

      Corrine:
      All perfect examples! From the fearless nature to unpredictability.

      And yes, good or bad, you can’t walk away from a Jumper Entrepreneur without learning something. Glad you walked away with good lessons.

  • ITdork

    Reply Reply August 26, 2010

    But can’t I just use my new, big title to get a better, bigger job someplace else? Sometimes that’s all it takes to move up the ladder. And wouldn’t I deserve a better, bigger job after living through the chaos???

    • admin

      Reply Reply August 26, 2010

      ITdork: Sure, take your lofty title and run with it! Just be sure your skills support your new level, or someone might start writing a blog about you!

  • Ed

    Reply Reply August 26, 2010

    I have worked for a jumper and have found it both frustrating and contagious.

    Yes, they can be unpredictable but life with them can be exhilarating and you only live once, join the jumper and live a little, can’t imagine a typical career working for one or 2 companies.

    And let’s face it who dosen’t want to be a CEO of a dog grooming service.

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