Although we might fear the word “failure,” it is something we all experience at some point in our careers. It can even become a catalyst to launch our biggest successes in the business world. Many of the world’s leading entrepreneurs have been fired from jobs or suffered humiliating defeats, only to rise above these problems to own successful businesses.
If you’ve been struggling to plan your next move after a career setback, it might be an ideal time to learn how to start your own business. History has seen several successful entrepreneurs emerge from what many people would consider to be a career “failure.”
Take Oprah, for instance. A Baltimore TV producer fired Oprah Winfrey from the evening news because she was “was unfit for television news.” Luckily, that moment led to Oprah being offered a daytime television show instead – which ended up sparking Oprah’s future career and her media empire.
Before becoming a successful author, J.K. Rowling was fired from her job as a secretary. The reasons? Because she was constantly distracted, daydreaming, and even spent work hours writing stories about a boy wizard. After losing her job, she tried to get her stories published – only to be rejected by many publishers who didn’t think her writings were worth publishing. Of course, Rowling eventually turned those daydreams and stories into her beloved Harry Potter novels. Today, she is the wealthiest woman in the United Kingdom – even richer than the queen.
Steve Jobs described his very public firing from Apple, the company he founded, as devastating. “I was out. Very publicly out,” he said in a Stanford University speech. The event led to what he described as a “midlife crisis” where he struggled to determine what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. Luckily, Jobs was able to find focus, and continued to have successful business endeavors after getting publicly fired. Eventually, he worked through the humiliation and pain and was ultimately able to return to his previous position as CEO of Apple.
There are lots of reasons why you might want to consider starting your own business during or after a career setback. If these true stories of resilience from some of the world’s leading entrepreneurs have you inspired, read on for some tips on how to successfully take the leap and start your own business after a career pitfall:
- Make flexibility work for you. Amidst all the downsides of getting fired, there is at least one small perk: newfound – and often unexpected – flexibility. You’ll have more time and more freedom in your day to dedicate yourself to your passions, your dreams, and self improvement. Plan wisely and be productive.
- Overcome Rejection. The thing all successful entrepreneurs have in common is that they don’t consider rejection to be a “failure.” Instead, they view it as a challenge – and one they can overcome with some resilience.
- Find resilience. Within us, we each have the strength to persevere. No matter how bad things get, know that you can triumph over whatever challenge(s) you are facing. It can help to find a business mentor, to get advice from a business coach, or to look at your idols and analyze how they might have overcome their own challenges.
- Figure out your niche. Whether it’s real estate, finance, tech solutions, retail, or even the coffee shop you’ve always wanted to open, figure out what speaks to you and your talents the most.
According to Fast Company, sometimes when we hit our personal lowest points in our careers, it can often be the turning point for our biggest personal successes. Perhaps this is why Vogue editor, Anna Wintour, once recommended that everyone get fired at some point in their careers. Having been fired from a previous job herself, Wintour revealed that she believes it’s a great learning experience. Rather than holding us back from our dreams, the experience of “failure” or having a “setback” can actually create both personal and professional growth.
Getting fired isn’t the end of the world, and it certainly doesn’t have to be the end of your career. In fact, sometimes it can even be a good thing – especially if you are fired from a job you hate. Next time you find yourself feeling like you’ve been kicked to the curb, look for an opportunity to turn it into a positive and make it work in your advantage. It could end up becoming one of the best things that have happened for your career.
About the author:
After being laid off from my teaching job several years ago, Larry Mager is now running his own tutoring business and making progress with his mental fitness website, Readybrain.net.