Lately I’ve been reading a lot about entrepreneurship and business, and I’ve found a lot of parallels between running a business and being an awesome early-career employee.

When a small business owner tells you they run a Law practice or an Accounting practice, what are they saying? What’s the difference between having an occupation, and running s practice?

If you’ve got your own practice, you are not just an attorney or accountant. You have taken full responsibility for all aspects of their business. From generating leads, to executing services, to growing their team, to retaining customers, and even sweeping the floors.

The only way you make a living is by balancing all the aspects of their business in such a way that you produce profit, satisfy customers, and continue to gain meaningful experiences.

When you OWN something, you give up the option of saying “oh that’s not my job”. It’s ALL your job.

As a young professional, if we think of our careers as our own mini “practice” we can grow and progress at an exponential rate.

Show up to work each day as if you’re running a practice, and your livelihood depends on how well you perform each day.

How would that change your behaviors? If there was no automatic paycheck coming every other week?

Employees with that attitude are the first to advance, because they quickly pursue the skills that make them a trustworthy leader and manager.

So how do you do that in your own life?

Here’s how:

Go the Extra Mile For Your Customers

You may not be in a sales role, but you have customers. Your boss, your coworkers, those that depend on you to produce consistent quality work.

Are you willing to show up early and stay late to complete the mission when times are tough?

Grow A Strong Team

As a young professional, you may not be in a managerial position, so “growing a team” requires a little creativity.

You’re not hiring or firing people, you’re building relationships with stakeholders, mentors, and colleagues who can enable you to do your job better.

Who are your go-to people in a pinch? Who can connect you with the latest training and education materials? Who do need to reach out to for a quick signature or approval?

That’s your “team” as a young professional. Find these people and build a rapport with them.

Generate Leads

For a new business, work isn’t going to just come to you. You have to seek it out.

The same is true for young professionals. We have a slight advantage in that our job descriptions give us a head start on finding meaningful and profitable work. But you should still be seeking to constantly expand your competencies.

Can you help your boss out on a project he or she is working on? Are you attending industry-specific conferences and networking events? Are you working on becoming the “go-to” person on your team or in your specialty?

You want to build a reputation that causes people to come to you to solve problems and create value. Don’t be satisfied simply being good at your job. Challenge yourself to expand your expertise.

Sweep the Floors (Be of Service)

Even if you have 5 degrees and a ton of talent, there are times when you have to do some grunt work.

Fix the printer, set up chairs for next week’s meeting, prepare the morning coffee, deliver the mail etc…

I don’t know what your company’s grunt work is, but you recognize it when you’re asked to do it.

Don’t feel bad of offended. Sometimes we’ve got to do that to “earn our stripes”. You never know who’s watching, so always perform with a great attitude.

There are events that entry level employees only get invited to if they’re on the set-up crew. You may find yourself in a room full of potential mentors (or maybe even your next boss) just by being humble enough to do some grunt work.


Are you ready to start treating your career like a Practice? You can start today!

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Until next time,

Stay Curious, Stay Motivated!


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Jonathan (a.k.a. Newgrad23) is a recent college graduate with a passion for helping Millennials take charge of their career and finances from Day 1 after college. He enjoys blogging and listening to personal finance podcasts. When he's not doing that, you can catch him at local sporting events, music festivals, and near the best food trucks the city has to offer.