Hello SOTGC community,
Earlier this year, I attended an event in southern California called “Rise of the Female Entrepreneur” as part of the Monty Summit. The event featured an esteemed panel of speakers including various female CEOs, co-founders, chief strategy officers and more in the tech sector, each with their own anecdotes and advice to share. The most common advice they shared? “Entrepreneurship isn’t a straight line.”
Perhaps at sometime or another, we’ve all heard that expression and it certainly rings true for those of us who own our own businesses. But it also rings true for those women who have jumped into the deep end of the entrepreneur pool only to decide after a period of time that maybe entrepreneurship wasn’t for them. What conference can they go to for advice? Who can they look up to to share that it’s OK to put entrepreneurship on hold if these women learned they needed additional experience in their industry before starting their own company? Maybe, cash flows dried up and making money once more to pay the bills was necessary. Maybe someone in their family fell ill and they needed less stress and more consistency.
So, the question becomes, how does a woman re-enter the work force after entrepreneurship? Where are the resources, advice and tips on gaining employment once more? What female managers or CEOs can these women look up to for connections and support as they—maybe you, maybe your best friend—transition from being their own boss back to reporting to a boss?
While I may not have all the answers, I do have some words of wisdom and advice to share to help get the ball rolling … words on re-entering the work force after entrepreneurship that I have heard beyond the walls of Monty Summit, though I will start with a key learning from there.
- “If you’re willing to risk it in the first place, YOU ARE EMPLOYABLE.” Liz Pearce, CEO of Liquid Planner. I had a close friend with her own company that was becoming more and more expensive to run. So, she wanted to get a job to help pay back some of her debt. And yet, she felt shame. What would they, the person interviewing her, think? If she had a hard time managing and running her own company, how can she contribute to theirs? If you have ever felt this way about re-entering the work force after entrepreneurship, this quote from Liz should be your mantra. If you had the vision, heart, guts and tenacity to take a chance and start your own endeavor in the first place, those very characteristics make you that much more employable.
- “Dive into your networks and ask for introductions and recommendations on LinkedIn.” These are words of wisdom from Expert Academic Advisor (and founder of Dream Life Design) Keisha Chandler. “Personal referrals are the key. If possible, get your contact to hand carry your one page resume to the hiring. Also, expand your circle of influence. Make new connections and do not under any circumstances use the canned message that LinkedIn provides. Tailor it and make it enticing, warm and professional. Lastly, please take a decent headshot!”
- “Giving your business the time and testing it needs to develop into a well-structured, fulfilling and profitable entity while you learn, grow, prepare yourself and take care of yourself through the corporate workforce is the best gift you can give both yourself and your business baby in the long-term.” Andrea Jayne, founder of A Jayne Writes says, “After four years of early morning, late night and long weekend side hustling as a freelance writer for magazines, nonprofits and small businesses alongside my full-time career managing nonprofit marketing and communications, I realized I wanted to do something more personal and powerful with my craft. I developed A. Jayne Writes to support other young women in getting clear on the patterns, strengths and nuances in their stories and confidently leveraging those to land where they desire and deserve to be professionally. My initial suite of services included resume, cover letter, promotion proposal, personal statement and professional bio strategy and production. Demand from college girlfriends and other peers rose steadily in response to my email and social media marketing efforts and after eight months in business my client queue had grown to about three months long. I was sure that if I kept doing what I was doing, the clients would keep rolling in and I began planning to leave my full-time job to leap into the glamorous world of self-employment I’d followed on various blogs and Instagram accounts for years. But when I jumped ship from my job six months later—without fully testing the ‘one-to-one’ business model—for a business based around those services, I quickly found that it was hugely difficult to sustain. Plus, I’d already become accustomed to a certain lifestyle that my 9 to 5 career had afforded me and wasn’t willing to sacrifice that while I tried to make it work. Fortunately, my previous employer allowed me to return to the same position while my business grows and forms organically—rather than in a rush or from a place of lack, just trying to make ends meet. Since returning to the corporate world, my perspective on career and business is so much clearer and healthier.” In essence, some people may see their businesses explode overnight, some may take much longer to scale. Don’t compare YOUR journey with that of someone else’s. Trust in the timing of it all!
Of course, these are just some initial tips to connect you back to your confidence and help you step in the right direction towards employment. Maybe one day, you’ll re-enter the entrepreneurship pool. Maybe you’ll be happily ever after as an employee. In the end, I truly believe that so long as you listen to your inner voice, you follow work that truly lights you up and you grow personally and professionally, that’s all that matters—not your job title.
Have a tip of your own you’d like to share with regard to this topic? Help the SOTGC community by posting it below!