When life gives you lemon! Starting your own business after layoffs

This article is authored by Peter Bradd, Managing Director at RainMaking, part of the Career Money Life Supplier Community.

Losing a job is ranked among the 10 most stressful life events that can cause profound harm including even lasting health issues. Searching for a new job is a full-time job on its own and is often a long, frustrating process that can take up to a year. Studies found that after a redundancy 26% of those searches end in a job with a lower salary. Being laid off has an immense emotional impact on anyone, people lose confidence and start worrying about their future and their families and can have lasting financial repercussions. 

These days we have seen more layoffs than any other recession. In a recent BBC interview, Brad Smith,President of Microsoft, predicted that 250 million people are expected to lose their jobs this year, which is almost equal to 75% of the US population. 

However, when life gives you lemons, it’s time to make lemonade. Being laid off doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the world; it could be a much-needed wake-up call to follow your dreams and take charge of your own future. This is the right time for you to start developing your passion and make a living out of it. You may switch to freelance, provide your services on a freelance base, and work with different clients. You can also finally invest in that thing you have always been passionate about and turn it into a business. For example, you may turn your love of cooking into a catering business. No matter how small or how big your dream, being an entrepreneur is an option for everyone.

You may have always had this business idea that you never had time to validate. This could be your chance to develop it and convert it into your new primary source of revenue and security. 

Running your own business comes with tons of perks. First, and most important thing, you will be working on something you love and passionate about, which will continuously give you a sense of accomplishment. You will be finally free to arrange your priorities and outcomes, and you are able to build multiple valuable relations with your team and customers. You will be in charge of your own future, and financially self-reliant sustaining a stable source of income for you and your family.

Most importantly, instead of looking for another job, you can actually start creating jobs, you will be actually contributing positively to the economy.

While it may sound counter productive, recession times can be a time of great opportunity for those with the desire to start a new business; the market and customer needs are changing rapidly, and this can mean new business opportunities for entrepreneurs from freelancing careers to creating the next big thing. For example, Microsoft was started during the oil embargo in 1973, CNN was launched during the 1980s American recession. The email software Mailchimp was launched during the dot com recession. Netflix was also developed during the dot com crisis. The great recession in 2007 was the motive behind creating lots of growth startups such as Uber, Airbnb, Square, and Groupon. 

While small businesses can be hit hard by recessions there can still be opportunity. The great recession in 2008 was seen as the catalyst for the growth of the gig economy. Britain’s booming gig economy now accounts for 4.7 million workers and the total US freelancing income is almost $1 trillion.  It is projected that by 2023, 52% of the US workforce will either be gig economy workers or have worked independently at some point in their career. We predict that this number might even be higher after Covid19.

We are also starting to see new businesses launched during the last couple of months as a result of the Corona Panadimc.  Aerosol Shield a company founded in a UK by a couple working the medical sector, created a transparent plastic sheeting attached to a plastic frame to take advantage of the spike in the mask business globally. ClearWater Hygiene, a business producing high-grade hand sanitiser aimed at frontline workers and the wider public founded only a few months ago is set to make 30 million.

Another great example is the Risesmart success story. Risesmart was founded in 2006 by Sanjay Sathe after being laid off from his position as vice president of Enterprise Data Management for a division of Sabre Holdings. Reminding us that good things can come out of hardship.

“Opportunity often comes disguised in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat,” said Sathe “I was given the services of a traditional outplacement company, it took me a couple of weeks to get an appointment, then I drove 45 miles and sat in the lobby for a while before someone took me into a conference room and gave me a big spiel about my life. They gave me a binder and told me to come for a class the next day. When I got out the first thing that came to mind is that these folks are living in the stone age. The world has changed, the way we look at job search has changed.” 

From his redundancy experience he got the idea to create what he describes as an “eHarmony in the job space.” Risesmart was a huge success; it raised $27 million in venture capital and was acquired in 2015 by Randstad Holding NV, for $100 million.

Without underplaying the impact, being laid-off can be devastating but it can also be a blessing in disguise as any moment of change can open new pathways and opportunities. It’s not for everyone, but for those that have the desire to start their own businesses and take a different direction for their future, this could be the time to make that leap. Being open to the market gaps generated by the recession could be your window for success or even finding a new angle to take advantage of the gig-economy.

Thinking of starting a business? Career Money Life has partnered with experienced Business Coaches like Peter Bradd to assist employees who are undergoing Career Transition and would like to start their own business. Book a demo or contact us to learn more about our offerings.

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