top of page

Starting Over With A New Business Following a Career Setback

A career setback can feel devastating, but it might be the best thing that ever happened to you if you use the opportunity to start a new venture. Here’s how to do it.

Redefine. Your first step in getting started is to reframe your circumstances. According to experts cited by Forbes, failure is just a part of a successful journey. Adjust your outlook to align with successful business people who see “each setback [as] an invaluable learning opportunity.”

Reinvest. Viewing everything that you built as an asset and remembering value is vital. Even if you only laid a small amount of groundwork, you have something to build on for future ventures. Forbes notes, “The value you've created can be reinvested in your next launch, and what you've learned will help you make smarter decisions down the line.”

Resources. Take full inventory of your resources and utilize what you already have at your disposal. For example, if you’re starting your own business and you can work from a home office rather than rent out space, you’ll save money that can be put toward income-generating expenses later. Just be sure you’ve set up your home workspace for productivity. Angie’s List suggests accomplishing this by eliminating distracting elements, making use of natural light as much as possible, and investing in quality office furniture and equipment.

Taking stock of your resources should also include evaluating your network and contacts. According to experts at Harvard Business Review, it’s important not only to appraise your contacts in terms of reach but also quality. Interestingly, researchers found that “slight acquaintances are actually more helpful than close friends in steering you toward opportunities for new positions in other organizations.”

Reevaluate. In the course of assessing contacts, you should also seek feedback. Your friends, family, and mentors play a role in supporting you, and in doing so, they can give you constructive criticism and insight into how you can alter your approach in future ventures.

Refocus. Now is the time to evaluate what your specific goals will be. Decide what direction you will go, who your audience is and what needs are important to fill. Some experts advise gauging the gap between where you want to be and where you are. It may be time to get experience or training, change fields, or improve your professional network.

Reframe. Once you determine your next steps, it’s time to give your professional image a makeover to match, starting with your resume. According to Pongo, the resume format you choose should be based on the job you want. For example, if you’re drastically changing your career path, the combination resume style will link your past achievements to skills that will translate to your new line of work. If you’re looking for a new position within your same field, reverse chronological format will highlight your most recent successes. To accompany a portfolio of your creative work, like photography or writing, consider a functional template.

New directions. After surveying your circumstances, you may come to the conclusion it’s time to ditch the job hunt altogether. For many, that means investing their time, talent, and treasure into their own business. And who can blame them? Entrepreneurship is a way of life with many benefits:

* You work for yourself. You would be able to set your own schedule, choose your dress code, and establish the company culture you have always wanted. Furthermore, being in charge of how your business operates helps you become more independent.

* Good work breeds good growth. You are no longer at the mercy of someone else when it comes to career growth. You are in charge of your own destiny, and when you succeed, you can take full credit.

* You can still take time away. Running your own business is demanding, but one of the main benefits of a well-run operation is the ability to spend more quality time with your family or simply doing the other things that bring you joy. You may finally achieve the elusive work-life balance.

Time to kick-start. A hiccup in your career is really a new beginning. It’s time for a full inventory of your assets and to decide what course of action will be best for you. Examine whether you need to change directions and what steps will take you there. Most importantly, remember that starting over is your opportunity for starting anew.


bottom of page