Laid Off? Start Your Own Business

September 05, 2012

Turn being laid off into an opportunity to be your own boss.

Getting laid off doesn’t be the end of your world. In fact, it could be the best thing that’s happened to you in a long time. Losing your job can be a life-changing experience. This scenario is what inspired our web series Leap Year.

Many people aren’t bothering to try to find another job as an employee, but instead are choosing to become their own bosses and starting their own businesses from scratch. They seized the opportunity to reinvent themselves and start a new journey. So can you.

Maybe you have a feeling that your job is on the chopping block, in this case start to think about what else you can or want to do. That way if you get called into your boss’ office for the dreaded “we’re sorry, but we’re going to have to let you go” meeting you’ll already have a plan for your next move.

If you work in IT, marketing or PR, for example, you might decided to become a consultant and do what you’re doing now, but on your own. On the other hand, you might think that you don’t have an easily transferable set of skills you can use to start your own business. If that’s the case, you might just need to use a little imagination, or a little entrepreneurialism.

Let’s say you worked in an administrative role at your last firm. There’s nothing to stop you from hiring yourself out to a small business that needs some help around the office, but doesn’t want a full-time employee.

If you’re being let go, find out what your employer is willing to offer you on top of your severance package. Your employer might pay for retraining programs that can give you a head start in your new career. They can be practical – like ones on bookkeeping or how to run your own business – or they can help you follow your dream – like courses on photography, design or personal training.

Try and negotiate some perks, such as pay in lieu of notice, to give you more savings and to help you started on your new business right away. Your employer might also let you keep your work smartphone handset or your laptop or let you buy them cheaply. If they do you’ve already got two of the most important parts of your home office!

Remember to stay positive. Just because you’ve been laid off doesn’t mean your working life has come to an end. The direction of your career has just changed course, that’s all. Being set free from the corporate world can be an immensely empowering experience.