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Lost the Job? Consider It a Wake-up Call to Start a Business

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People aren’t entrepreneurs by birth. Normally they become one after they are faced with a query. Others are trying to solve a common problem that we are facing and others are trying to change the world. One of the most important catalysts I find for entrepreneurship has been associated with job loss during my business journey. Many people seem to be having a kick-start as they quit their work and become an entrepreneur. That’s right what happened to me. When I lost my job I was just a part-time self-professed content marketer. At that point, I had to take a decision to either re-enter the workforce or dive into the entrepreneurial world. I run a great company almost four years later. Starting a business can be the best decision of your life. You can also consider to start a side business.

Lex Charfen, Charfen’s co-founder and CEO, attributes the kick-start to the newly found freedom. “The reason so many people start business after losing their jobs is because it’s always the first time they get a taste of independence,” says Charfen, who is the author of Entrepreneurial Personality Type: Your guide to the most important and misunderstood people among us. “Finally, they are free from the pressures of a career, from someone monitoring their performance every day —- and instantly, it’s hard to get back. When we feel the freedom to escape the constraints of a career, it is very difficult to go back to our personality style. But, sometimes, losing a job is when the entrepreneurs wake up at last.

  1. Transformation from looking for a job to assisting others in finding a job

Downsizing is never an enjoyable experience and it was no different for Abbey Sathe. “Opportunity always comes disguised as misfortune, or temporary defeat,” says Sathe, reciting a Napoleon Hill quote. It was Sathe’s “temporary loss” that brought him into the entrepreneurial world.

In 2006, when Sathe was vice president of Enterprise Data Management for a Sabre Holdings division, the news came that the company was being made private and downsizing was a part of the reorganization. A typical outplacement company has given me the services. It took me a few weeks to get an appointment, then I drove 45 miles and spent a while in the lobby before someone took me to a conference room and gave me a big talk about my life. They gave me a binder and the next day, they told me to come to a class. The first thing that came to my mind when I got out is that these people live in the Stone Age. The world has changed, it’s changed how we look at job search.


Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash

Sathe saw the market becoming primed for disruption. He thought it was like trying to find a needle in a haystack, trying to find a job online. It has been a full-time job per se. I had to go through a multitude of pages, and the sites didn’t have information. Every day, I had to do the same thing again and again. “It was then that he had the idea to build what he defines in the work space as an eHarmony. In 2006, Sathe created RiseSmart as a means to connect job seekers with employers. He has led the organization into becoming one of the world’s fastest growing outplacement firms. Dutch human resource management company, Randstad Holding NV, purchased it for $100 million at the end of 2015.

It’s no fun becoming an entrepreneur. Sathe likens his experience with being on a rollercoaster. He says there have been a number of “ah-ha” moments, but it wasn’t until the company secured its first round of Series A funding that he felt a profitable venture was on its way. RiseSmart had raised a total of $27 million in venture capital before its sale last year.

As far as advice goes for people thinking of stepping into entrepreneurship, Sathe passes along a quote from Wayne Gretzky, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” Sathe adds, “I would say you don’t get these chances often, to come out of your comfort zone and get challenged. A lot depends if you want to go on the offense and take up the challenge or not. Also appetite for risk and personal circumstance, of course, is there but I would highly recommend people to get a taste of entrepreneurship.”

  1. Providing at-home senior-care after leaving NFL

“I’ve never given him a second thought,” says Tafa Jefferson, referring to his decision to join the entrepreneurial world. Jefferson was able to follow his dream after playing football at college and then with the Chicago Bears professionally, due to an injury that he suffered with the Bears. “I always thought that I would end up becoming an entrepreneur, whether I played in the NFL for one or ten years. Getting injured just exacerbated the inevitable when I did.

Jefferson suffered an injury which would prohibit him from returning to the NFL. With football no longer a choice, he was faced with a decision that many of us faced — trying to get back into the workforce or pursue entrepreneurship. The new franchisor has opted for the latter.

  1. Finding the right career for yourself

You are certainly at a crossroads when you lose your job and think about starting a company. You may opt to either re-enter the job market or take yourself out. There are many dangers involved with both of these but the secret to your entrepreneurial success may be your new found independence. While not guaranteed, you’re not getting the burden of your current job to prevent you from chasing your goals.

In a final note, it’s not for everybody to run your own company. I’ve run a few, not all of which have been good, but I’ll guarantee there’s no other route I’d prefer.

So, what is your story about entrepreneurship?

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