I started a $20k/yr business in college...should I leave that off my resume?

pawsoffmymoney's picture
Rank: Baboon | 122

I started a web development business while attending a target school. I manage all areas of my business, including finance and marketing. It made about $20k last year while also attending class. I've hired about 4 independent contractors. We don't just design websites -- we create other people's startups and web applications (one client wanted a clone of Youtube.)

I am also in the middle of starting an online startup but it hasn't received any funding yet.

Should I leave both off my resume? I heard recruiters, while love seeing initiative, hate to see too much independence, especially since i-banking internships are basically doing work passed down to you - nothing entreprenuerial about it. I was advised it would actually be a negative on my resume, as compared to my marketing internship freshman year where i did absolutely nothing except cold-call 100s of customers for my boss (NOT telemarketing).

So what should I do? Leave both on, leave one of them on, or leave both off?

Comments (15)

Dec 28, 2009

you should quit writing your resume and be an entrepreneur

Dec 28, 2009

seriously, you should just grow your own biz, HA

Dec 28, 2009

put them on and be detailed on the finance work if your looking into a finance job... etc.
if it doesn't add any value then don't put it on.

Dec 28, 2009

I'm curious as to why you want to get into finance. I know in the web development space you're competing with experts in the global market willing to work for $2 an hour, so that makes things tough. But why do you want to give up the autonomy of entrepreneurship to enter the drudgery of finance?

Dec 28, 2009

What he said

Dec 28, 2009

per all the comments above, if entrepreneurship doesn't work out, you can always get your MBA and then go to finance...wouldn't go IB right now, when it seems likeyou have the appetite to take on some risk and know how to monetize your efforts...run with it, you only live once...banking will squeeze the soul out of you during your prime years

Dec 28, 2009

Wow thanks for all the encouragement guys.

i want to get into finance because i want a steady stream of good income. i know 95% of new businesses fail within 5 years so i'll need a definite salary that won't go away (unless i get laid off of course). I can fully commit to my business when I have some money saved up from my years working as a banker. In case my business becomes part of that 95% failure statistic, at least i'll have money to temporary live off of.

But of course I don't want my recruiter knowing that i want to do finance just for contributing to my personal bailout package in case my business fails later :D

Dec 28, 2009

banking and a job on the side don't mix IMO. If you are fortunate enough to get an analyst role you will be working 70+ hours a week, and you will have no time to put into your business.

I am actually in the same situation as you. I am starting my own business and will be graduating soon. I am hesitant to accept an analyst position (if I'm fortunate enough to get an offer), because it would be the death of my business venture.

Dec 28, 2009

I would definitely include it. I run a company with a partner in the same space as you with six figures in revenues. My partner is a senior and got a FT offer at Citi. I am a junior and have received great responses from that particular entry on my resume. No one is going to ding you for taking initiative and doing things. If that was the case, banks wouldn't look for leadership positions. If you are running a business you are showing good leadership as (in my case) you are responsible for the well being of multiple employees.

On your resume, make the online start-up you are planning on getting off the ground a subset of the bullets under the development business you started.

Dec 28, 2009

Definitely include it. People eat that stuff up. Shows so much initiative, creativity, etc.

Also, are you/have you considered consulting. It might be more amenable to running a side business than banking, and is possibly a better fit for you in other ways (not that I can really say since I don't know you).

Dec 28, 2009

A note about business failure:

Many of you operate under the assumption that a business failure has to be catastrophic (you go broke, destroys your credit, ruins your life, etc...). While this certainly happens from time to time and makes up the majority of the cautionary tales used to steer people back onto the employee track, this experience is far from universal. Take it from someone who has had a business fail.

I once bought an insurance agency thinking it was a good business. It was, in fact, a good business; just not a good business for me. I was completely bored all the time. But the business was successful. That is, until the insurance carrier with whom we placed 85% of our business decided to pull out of the state. Someone more committed to the business than I could have made a horse race of it, repaired the damage, and rebuilt the agency through other carriers. I took it as an opportunity to get out of the business. By the time I shut the doors, I had recouped most of my initial investment (the business was cash flow positive almost from day one, so it didn't cost me anything while it was operating) and the kicker was that I received residual income from the business every month for the next 6 years.

I certainly don't count it as a success, but it wasn't anywhere near the devastating failure people think of when you tell them you went out of business. Even more so today, as long as you avoid brick-and-mortar nightmares like a Blimpie franchise, you can minimize your risk and maximize your returns even if the business "fails" on paper.

Now I ask you who is at more risk: the analyst working 80+ hours a week for a salary at Lehman Brothers with no time for multiple streams of income, or the kid who has started 3 or 4 tiny Internet companies that each net about $25,000 a year?

Dec 28, 2009

If your plan is really to find a co-operative investment bank from which to extract some cash, then I'm not sure you're going to make that much of a splash in interviews. Plus, it's not like people look at resumes like they were baseball cards - "ooooh, this guy started a business!" It's about the progression to finance and investment banking making sense to people. If starting a business helps you tell you story about why finance and why now, then awesome. But if not, it's worse than worthless, it hurts you. They wouldn't care if you won the Nobel Prize, if it makes no sense why you're going into IB, then people are going to question your intentions. They're going to think, accurately in this case, "perhaps this guy just heard that bankers make a lot of money and wants to see if he can get some to invest in his businesses." Trust me, there is no faster way to ding yourself than to have that thought occur to the guys reviewing resumes.

Dec 28, 2009

Check your PM -

Dec 28, 2009

JHoratio - you're an idiot .... it's not worthless. If anything it shows this kid ran a business and went to school and got decent grades for 1 ...

2) It shows initiaitive, entrepeneurial spirit

Not everything is about showing a logicla progression to banking. I have analysts that were art history majors / peace corp volunteers

Dec 28, 2009
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