Discover How Being Self Employed Has Helped To Shape My Career
4 months ago

Like many young people, I knew I wanted to start a business when I grew up. But I wasn’t sure how to get there without continuing higher education. My severe dyslexia meant I never wanted to study business at university, where I knew I would struggle to write essays, a dissertation, and take notes in lectures. 

I did a lot of research into apprenticeships and discovered so many benefits. They would provide a paid full-time job, pay for my qualification and I would enjoy all the advantages of being an employee.

Mazars gave me the entrepreneurial foundation blocks I needed to start my own firm. I know I wouldn’t have gained these had I chosen to study a degree instead. During my apprenticeship, I learned that theory and practice are two very different things. From the age of 18, I was in front of big clients gaining oversight of their balance sheets and cash flow. My apprenticeship meant that I would go off to college for a block of time to learn the theory, and then very quickly be able to put it into practice. 

Having the chance to see inside so many other businesses was the thing I found most helpful when I came to start my own. Learning from people above you is so valuable: you just don’t get that at university. For three years, I’d learned directly from experienced accountants. I was encouraged to ask as many questions as possible to learn something new every day. 

Working while studying did wonders for my early career development. In my second year, aged just 19, I was helping to train graduates who were older than me who had all the theory but not the practical experience. For example, younger people can often be intimidated by phone calls or presentations at work, and struggle to engage in corporate talk. But communicating with clients is a big part of my job and is essential for any entrepreneur. Thankfully my apprenticeship really built up my confidence; by the end of the apprenticeship I became used to finding a way to get my point of view across and strive for the best outcome which was a valuable experience. 

My apprenticeship put me in the best position to do this and at the earliest opportunity. To all those budding young entrepreneurs who don’t want to go to university, here’s what no-one told me: there is another choice. And it’s the best one you can make.

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