Many people start a business nowadays, following their life-long dream. But things don’t typically turn out well. The statistics show us that from every ten companies, just two will survive the first five years of existence. Of course everybody hopes to end up in the right group, prospering with their business. But most often than not, it just won’t happen….
Coming back from entrepreneurship to employment is one of the most difficult career transitions. Business people are used to carry out a variety of tasks, and prepare their own schedule. And they often work in pajamas :). What a stark contrast to the trends one can observe in mid-size and big corporations. The companies aim for specialization, leaving you with ever-lessening variety of duties, and ever-diminishing freedom of choice. The question is how to manage this difficult transition successfully. Since, and this is something you need to understand: if the business failed, you likely have no other option than returning to work!
Opt for small business, or leadership roles
Finding right answers requires right questions at the first place. You should understand why you had decided for starting a business years ago, and also why things didn’t work out as planned. The information will help you understand the next steps you should take.
If you stared the business because you wanted to be your own boss, you should look for leadership or consultancy positions. In those you’d have as much freedom as possible within the thin borders of employment. And if you aren’t qualified enough to one of those, there are still decent options, such as a traveling salesman for example. Sales representatives are pretty much independent in their choices and have very little control from the boss. If they bring in sales, nobody cares what they do. What’s more, former businessmen often posses decent sales skills–it would be impossible to make it in business without having them.
On the contrary, your lack of marketing and sales skills might result in a fail of your business. Or, perhaps, you lacked the discipline. Suddenly no one told you what to do, and so you did nothing all day long, hanging around in your pajamas. If it is a case, you should look for a role with clearly specified duties. Big corporation will be a good choice in this case.
You might s well quit the business yourself, since you lacked the social contacts from the workplace. I think it is self explanatory which job you should.
Explain everything on your cover letter
From my experience, employers are rather reluctant to hire former freelancers and entrepreneurs, especially if they didn’t have a job for more than three years. Therefor it is crucial to clearly explain (on your cover letter) why you opted for a change, and ensure the employer that you know what you are doing, and won’t leave the company to start another business in six months time (what you still can do, but employer should not have the idea).
Prepare for the new challenges
This transition is quite challenging, especially if you’d been your own boss for a long time. Waking up each morning and going to the same place, observing the dress code, the working hours, and the orders isn’t easy for a former entrepreneur. You should prepare yourself for these challenges upfront, writing them down on a piece of paper, and analyzing them in your mind.
If you find it hard emotionally, focus on the positives. Job security, steady salary each month, no need to take care of bookkeeping …. hmm, that’s about it :). But there are some positives, and maybe you can find even more than I could find. I wish you good luck in this difficult career transition!