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This is What Happens When You Start a Business After a Career Setback

Today is Labor Day in the States so I decided to do a bit less of it (for one day; okay, I took off the whole weekend). Larry Mager has been gracious enough to write today’s message. It goes well with the Labor Day theme. The link to Larry personal project, is at the end of the post in his bio. — The Wealthy (and relaxed) Accountant


When life hands you lemons, you’re supposed to make lemonade. Nobody knows that better than people who have suffered career setbacks and then gone on to start their own businesses. It may sound crazy, but getting demoted, failing to get a promotion, or being laid off can turn into one of the best things that has happened to you if you use the setback as an opportunity to take charge of your professional life and become your own boss. This is what happens when you do.

  1. You Look Forward Instead of Backward

People who suffer a setback and start a business have no choice but to look forward instead of backward. As Sallie Krawcheck explains, “There was a freedom in being forced to stand on my own two feet, even if it involved getting knocked off them first.”

The freedom of forging your own path, controlling your own destiny, and making your own success is what draws so many people who experience a career setback to start their own business.

Of course, your past is what makes you who you are today, but you cannot dwell on the past if you want to get ahead. You have to let go of your self-doubt and fear if you are going to make it as a new small business owner. One way to make sure you look forward is to go in a new direction with your business; try starting a business that aligns with your passion rather than one that aligns with your former career.

  1. You Can Pursue Your Passion

Many small business owners find that doing work they love is what gets them through the cash flow challenges, slow business days, and uncertainty that inevitably occurs in the early days of the business. If you have a hobby, such as woodworking or baking, try turning that into your new business. You already have experience with the work, and chances are, people already know you are good at it if you have shared your creations with them.

Or, turn a side job that you used to love, like dog walking, into a career. Dog walkers are in high demand as people with traditional jobs and families lack time to spend with their dogs. You’ll be able to set your own hours, take on as many clients as you want, and enjoy spending time in nature with the animals you love.

To transform your passion into a successful business, learn more about it and dive in. Make a loose business plan and start advertising and marketing on social media and local radio stations. Find others who share your passion via social media and LinkedIn and start networking harder than you did in your former career. Your enthusiasm will create positive customer experiences, and they will start spreading the word about you and your products or services.

  1. You Enjoy Independence and Flexibility

If you were miserable in your former career because of the static hours and strict processes and procedures, you will be much happier being your own boss. When you start a business, you need to be prepared to put in long hours, but you get to choose how you spend those hours and when you put in the time.

You will make the decisions, write the mission statement, and determine the policies and procedures. And, you will enjoy more flexibility as your business grows and becomes established. Eventually, you will be able to take time for yourself and your friends and family that you otherwise would not have had in your former career.

  1. You Can Take Advantage of Tax Perks

Entrepreneurs, small business owners, and freelancers can take advantage of some tax perks that people in traditional careers cannot. Check with your accountant to see which tax benefits you are eligible for, and keep in mind that specific startups qualify for some government incentives, too. You may be able to write off travel expenses, food expenses, food bills, car insurance, office supplies, and more. And, if you work from home, you can take advantage of the home office tax deduction.

If you suffer a career setback, turn your failure into opportunity by starting your own business so you can look forward instead of backward, pursue your passion, enjoy independence and flexibility, and take advantage of tax perks.

Image via Pixabay by Meditations

Larry is a mental fitness expert researching how brain exercises can help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.  He believes exercising the brain is just as important as exercising the body.  He enjoys writing about mental fitness games, puzzles, and other resources.  He created to help give people the mental workout they need to have a healthy brain.

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Sarah Li Cain

Monday 4th of September 2017

When I realized I could deduct mileage when I drove to business meetings, I seriously did a few fist pumps. My husband thought I was crazy. And great post. I think that career setbacks are only that if you let it set you back.

Keith Schroeder

Monday 4th of September 2017

Sarah, when I consult with business clients the number one issue is missed deductions. The IRS complains about cheating, but missed deductions probably grant the government more revenue than they should get under the tax code. Make sure you deduct the business meals along with those miles.