October 11, 2012, 6:00 am

How Do You Go Back to Work When Being Self-Employed Flops?

by: MD    Category: Business
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What if you quit your job, tried to be an entrepreneur, and failed? What would you do? How would you handle going back to a “real job?”

One of my buddies returned to work after not making it on his own. After trying to be self-employed, he decided to go back to work. It didn’t work out for him at all. He saved up and planned his exit strategy pretty well. He had a plan for how he was going to make money. He was tired of being employed. He was done with cubicle nation. He wanted to make his own money. He left.

He quit his job and had all of the time in the world. He thought that he was going to form a huge business and take over the world.

Then he realized that being self-employed was a lot worse than working a real job. He had to set his own schedule and make his own money. Time limits were gone. No longer did he have a boss breathing down his neck with a looming deadline. He had more time than work.

Being self-employed isn’t easy. It’s far too tempting to sleep in and go out on a Monday night. After a few months, he barely made any progress with his business projects and had no money coming in. He needed money. He needed something to do all day. He quickly found a new job and left the self-employed world.

How do you go back into the workforce? How do you assimilate into a new workplace environment?

I asked around to gather some feedback about how one would go about re-entering the workforce.

First you have to find a job.

You have to decide what kind of jobs you want to apply for. Being out of a job, you might be a bit out of the loop.

You have to figure out your strategy. There are a few ways to get in from the outside:

  • Will you tap into your existing network?
  • Will you go back to your old job?
  • Will you ask your old boss for reference?
  • Will you use the same process you did for your last job?

Every strategy has a possibility of working. What it all comes down to in the end is how badly you want to get back to work. If you have bills to pay and want an income, you’ll likely take the first gig that comes your way. If your patient and have money saved, you can be a bit picky.

Be honest about your time.

When asked at the interview or when writing your resume, I think it makes sense to be honest about what you did with your time. Don’t try to extend a previous employment or make up a job.

I’m not an expert here so I would love to hear from someone here that would know the answer to this.

Should you put your self-employed experience on your resume?

I’m leaning towards being honest because it beats lying.

Keep your story straight.

The goal is to keep your story straight. Nobody likes a liar.

You have to ask yourself this one question:

Why am I going back to work?

If you’re going back because you have no money, then that’s cool. You can tell your new co-workers that you enjoyed being self-employed, but you just couldn’t keep up with the bills. There’s no shame in that.

Are you looking for a new challenge? Many entrepreneurs hold a job for a challenge. They want to work on huge projects within an organization. Most of us enjoy a solid challenge.

Did you just get lonely being by yourself all day? We all enjoy some company and folks to chat with.

Remember that you’re not the boss.

My friend was telling me how it’s tough at first to accept that you’re no longer in control. It’s humbling at first, but you have to live with this. You made the decision to go back to work. Your schedule is no longer flexible. Deadlines are firm.

You’re now a part of a team and that team has an established leader (boss). You’re a member of this team. You have outlined responsibilities to complete.

Keep that entrepreneurial spirit alive!

Just because you’re no longer fully self-employed it doesn’t mean that you should let that spirit die! One failure is not an ultimate destination.  You can still work on the next idea. It was just one idea that wasn’t right for you. You can always go back to being self-employed.

You can also continue to work on your projects in the evenings or during weekends. You’re still in control of your free time.

Have you had to go back to work? This is new territory for me and I would love to hear from you guys about entrepreneurs that have gone back to work.

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Having to go back to work is one of my biggest fears and greatest motivators. I’ve been very fortunate that my business has done well this year (knock on wood), but I think it’s largely because I am TERRIFIED of failing. I know I would survive if I had to go back to work, but I left because I hated every minute of my career. Going back would be so disheartening. I’d be really interested to hear stories from people who have gone back, just so I know what I’m in for if I ever have to.

First of all I want to say that no one should go far self employed without adequate research. It reduce chances of going back to work after being self employed. There is 50-50 chances to get success or failure in business, so time duration (struggling period in business) plays vital role.

How many years, month should we wait before to go back to work if are self employed?

Those are some good points Shawn. As for going back to work, I really can’t answer that question for you because it all depends on your finances and what sort of goals you accomplish. I couldn’t survive for long without a job/income. Others can go much longer without cash flow due to frugality and reduced expenses.

I think wanting to take on a challenge as an entrepreneur is a good asset to use in your favor. This shows ambition and confidence in your abilities, even if the company didn’t make it. Using what you learned from going out on your own can help you in the long run of your career.

[…] from The Financial Blogger presents How Do You Go Back to Work When Being Self-Employed Flops?, and says, “Nobody ever discusses the reverse. The idea of going back to […]

[…] The Financial Blogger: How Do You Go Back to Work When Being Self-Employed Flops? […]

[…] How Do You Go Back to Work When Being Self-Employed Flops? I think the key would be to highlight what you did while self-employed as job experience while also deeply understanding the reasons why you’d return to the workplace. For me, I’ll be the first to admit that the idea has crossed my mind, mostly because I miss coworkers. I’m a naturally social beast, and working alone every day is pretty challenging for me. (@ the financial blogger) […]

What if you’ve been self-employed for 20 years and you’d like to go back and try to work for someone else? That has been the challenging question for me. I think I am just tired of the work that I do and want/need change. I struggle with the idea of not being in control of my own work schedule and some of the “freedoms” that come with being self-employed. It really does have its advantages.

@Laura Can you try working a part-time job to slowly assimilate back into the workforce culture?

It’s definitely difficult to go back to work after being an entrepreneur. It feels like you tried but you failed. But I think, it’s really important to reassess goals, priorities and if the way to accomplish those goals is to work and be an entrepreneur on the side, so be it! 🙂

I opened up a daycare center in my home when my husband left me, after seven years of homeschooling my three kids. I always wanted to open up a small business as part of our schooling, but I didn’t expect it to be full-time! I also hoped to resume homeschooling, but my ex sued to prevent it. The business somehow supported us from the beginning. Though I brought in less, I kept more because of the tax deductions and lack of my own daycare costs. But after 5 years, the kids are more independent and I feel like my brain is shriveling up and I need more adult interaction. So I’m planning to go back to school for occupational therapy, which should keep some of the things I love about my job and provide the things that are lacking. I expect to work in a clinic for a couple of years to get some experience, then open up my own practice at home again. I do love not having a boss!

[…] @ The Financial Blogger writes How Do You Go Back to Work When Being Self-Employed Flops? – Nobody ever discusses the reverse. The idea of going back to […]

I dreaded driving downtown everyday to spend my day in a tiny cubicle dealing with issues and complaints. Sometimes I did get to work from home or travel for work and I did really enjoy that. But other days I would sit in my cubicle and dream about working for myself. I left my last corporate job 6 years ago and while money hasn’t always been constant from my freelance work, it is working out.

[…] @ The Financial Blogger writes How Do You Go Back to Work When Being Self-Employed Flops? – Nobody ever discusses the reverse. What if you fail as an […]

When asked about the reason for returning to work, the former entrepreneur can put it the way I have: “I have had an opportunity to see what business people go through, and I have a newfound respect for them. I love the production part of business, doing what I do. I just don’t particularly enjoy marketing and finance, and while I was ABLE to do those things during the time I was self employed, it didn’t take long to realize that those two parts took more of my time than I want to put into my day. ” I can work for myself, and I’m good at what I do. That’s were I want to spend my productive hours, that’s my strength. But given the choice between 8 to 10 hours of what I love doing, and four to five on what I love and four to five in what I hate, working for someone else looks good to me. If you’re running a business, kudos!