If you recently suffered a career setback or a layoff, you know all too well the stress and financial challenges that result from it. The impact of a layoff or career setback is overwhelming and results in a myriad of psychological and physical reactions including anxiety, shock, anger, frustration, loss of self-esteem, feelings of worthlessness, fatigue, headaches, weight loss or gain, upset stomach, and nausea. But, you can get through the initial challenges of a sudden career setback or layoff if you decide to turn it into a positive opportunity like the chance to start your own business and take back your life.
1. Take Care of Yourself First
Before you can start your own business and take back your life, you need to be in a positive place emotionally, physically, and financially. You need to make sure that you are coping with the layoff in healthy ways and avoiding destructive behaviors like binge drinking or abusing substances that can lead to addiction. Healthy coping mechanisms include relying on your support system of friends and family members, reducing stress by exercising and getting plenty of sleep, and taking a walk or hiking to relax in nature.
You also need to give yourself some time to process the impact of the layoff and determine what steps you need to take to get your career back on track by starting your own business. This is not a decision to be made on a whim, so it is beneficial for you to use your unemployment benefits or secure a temporary job so you do not have to worry about your finances while you are making major career and business decisions.
2. Use Your Connections
People are more connected today than ever before, so there is a good chance that you have the right connections to help you get your business off the ground. Utilize Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms to reach the connections that will help you most. Rather than reaching out to everyone, start small with the connections that you believe are most likely to respond and offer advice, seed money, or other kinds of help. Then, once you have a foundation of help in place, continue strengthening it with people who have a reason to connect with you.
3. Find a Good Accountant
When you start your own business, you have more control over your time, income, and taxes. You should find a good accountant who knows the ins and outs of small business tax law. When you are getting your new business up and running, you’ll be able to write off a great deal of expenses and income, and you’ll be more in control of your finances than when you were in your previous position. Your accountant can guide you through your new tax situation and make sure you are handling your taxes, payroll, and other financial obligations correctly.
4. Acquire Funding Wisely
The type of business you start will affect the amount of startup money you need to begin running it. The goal is that you break even with your initial investment after one year, but it is possible for successful businesses to be in debt for the first few years. That’s why it’s important for you to acquire funding wisely. Do not take loans with astronomical interest rates, and only take money from trusted friends and family members who understand you may not be in a position to reimburse them for quite some time.
Of course, if you don’t want to rely on financial help from friends and family members, you can apply for a small business loan or line of credit at a local bank, dip into your savings, use money from other investments, try crowdfunding, or use credit cards. Some of these funding methods are better for new business owners than others, and you need to consider your present financial state before putting your personal finances in jeopardy. It’s also important to keep in mind that credit card debt becomes costly very quickly and that borrowing against a 401(k) or similar plan puts your retirement at risk.
While a career setback or layoff has the potential to defeat you, don’t allow it to; instead, take charge of your career and life by starting your own business. If you take care of yourself first, use your connections, find a good accountant, and acquire funding wisely, you soon will be your own boss and taking charge of your career and your life.
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