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Advice from Robert Braathe on Starting a Business While Working a Full-Time Job

By Emmanuel Sebagisha

It is good that you find a job, work in a good organization and have a respectful title. But we need to remember that we can become bored from a job or that a boss can fire someone at a moment’s notice.

When you have a problem that will limit you from working, you will be replaced immediately and your financial resources will be cut. Your children can’t necessarily inherit your job title. On the other hand, there are numerous examples of entrepreneurs who passed on their enterprises to their children.

These are among the reasons I always wondered about how to start a business. It was therefore a great delight to interview an experienced businessman and entrepreneur: Robert Braathe.

As the founder of Braathe Enterprises, Robert is working as a business trainer and leading a virtual Internship Program.

“For 15 years our consultancy has been supporting people to find jobs they are interested in and start companies they deserve,” said Robert.

Braathe supports and employs students and alumni from different countries.

“I think it’s very important to gain perspective from people and the things they have to face daily,” said Robert. He believes that working remotely and supporting students and alumni from different countries helps them to connect with people all over the world.

Previously, Robert worked for notable companies like Disney, Gap and Apple. Even while working for such companies, Robert always had the ambition to start his own company. Eventually, Braathe Enterprises was founded in October 2005 and is impacting people from different countries.

Robert noticed a shift in the job application process as machines and algorithms became more prevalent in the recruiting process. Many people weren’t being noticed and there was a lack of human interaction. Such applicants needed someone to apply care and attention to their resumes. Robert and his team serve this role and have helped numerous job seekers with resume assistance, LinkedIn support and other career advice.

“I always knew that I could have a great impact on this world by starting my own company,” said Robert.

Advice for Young Professionals

I was delighted to hear Robert’s advice for graduates and other people who want to make changes in this world by creating their own business even after they secured initial employment. Here are three key pieces of advice.

1. Be flexible. Flexibility is the main key to creating your own business while maintaining a job. You need to be flexible and start creating a business while gaining experiences from your current role.

2. Hustle. Even though you have a job, you can still find a side business that can contribute to the community.

3. Don’t quit your job to start a business until the time is right. Focus on both and excel.

My Takeaways

I was really elated to hear Robert’s story of starting his own business. Even though Robert worked for different reputable companies, he always had the ambition of helping people pursue the right career opportunities.

Before, I had a belief that starting a business is for unemployed people. However, after hearing Robert's story, I realized that starting your own business is possible even when you have a good paying job. From this perspective, I have invested my money in a small business called “Fruit Shop” that I am managing with the help of my mother. This Fruit Shop is a small business that is selling different kinds of fruits and vegetables in the Gihembe Refugee Camp, located in Rwanda. My hope is that it generates a profit in the future.

I also had doubts about working remotely and being productive. After hearing Robert’s story and how he started working remotely before the pandemic - even engaging different interns from different countries - I was inspired to think of a business that might need remote activities and contribute to the impact of different people all over the world.

“Having connections to people all over the world makes individuals much more marketable than those who don't,” Robert shared.

He believes that serving people from diverse societies helps in getting their perspectives and identifying what they need. This underscored the point that working remotely allows us to target people from various cultures and countries.

Whenever you start a business, think of the number of people who will benefit directly or indirectly. Robert knew that career support helps students and graduates to get connected to different people all over the world. He was very focused on his ideal customer. In starting my business, I have to think about my ideal customer. The conversation inspired me on the ways to further develop my own business by:

  • Conducting online research about profitable businesses.

  • Interviewing other different entrepreneurs to learn how they started their businesses and handled challenges.

  • Subscribing to business newsletters and connecting with people all over the world to learn from them and expand my professional network.

For me, creating a business can help me to have a greater impact, both on society as well as my family. Perhaps this story might resonate with you as well. If yes, then I encourage you to pursue your entrepreneurial dream taking into account Robert’s story and advice.

Connect with Robert on LinkedIn or visit his website.

Emmanuel Sebagisha is a recent graduate from Southern New Hampshire University in Partnership with Kepler. You can connect with him via LinkedIn.

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