Starting Your Career in a One-Man Business

Starting Your Career in a One-Man Business

It is only natural for most people to aspire to work for big companies like the multi-nationals, who many believe pay handsomely compared to one-man businesses or small and medium enterprises (smes). But the reality is that some one-man businesses have good remuneration packages that can easily compete with some of the larger organisations. Apart from being the largest employer of labour in most countries, they are also a very good training ground for your graduates.

The argument for and against One-Man Businesses


  1. Money is very important but skills and experience are more important.
  2. Most companies, including the most admired brands in the world started out as one man businesses or partnerships.
  3. Opportunity to acquire hands on skills and training from on the job experiences.
  4. Creates opportunities for development of leadership qualities and skills in decision-making.
  5. The possibility of growing with the organization as a pioneer staff and being in top management is quicker compared to working in larger organisations.
  6. Grants you the opportunity to work closely and be mentored by the business owner
  7. The chances of developing useful entrepreneurial skills are higher compared to employees in bigger organisations.


  1. They are structured and lack professionalism.
  2. Remuneration packages are below the perceived industry standard.
  3. Considered to be family businesses that do not offer opportunities for growth for non-members of the family.

 My take

  • Avoid comparing yourself with others and concentrate on yourself. Building a career, acquiring skills and the exposure that working for an SME offers are enormous. The responsibilities that an employee with about 5 years work experience or more, in a large organisation, could be assigned to an employee in a one-man business with fewer years of experience.
  • Do not allow public opinion or comments to mislead you. Be focused and determined, most of the millionaires in the world today even in Nigeria started their career, working with SMEs before starting their own businesses.
  • Be humble, tolerant, patient and understanding. The salaries and working conditions offered by SMEs may not be the best but in the long run, you will eventually realize that you have gained a lot and not lost anything.

A True Story

Florence (fictional name) started her career in an SME, unlike her other colleagues who lacked focus and complained a lot, she took her work seriously even though the salary and working conditions were quite poor.

Fast forward, 15 years later the former SME is now major a player in the oil & gas industry, with Florence as its Chief Operating Officer (COO).

Career success is not determined by how fast or early you start earning a fantastic salary but how well you plan, focus, manage your resources and the challenges you face, on your career journey.

Written by 

Related posts

Leave a Comment