Getting laid off can be devastating, particularly when it’s unexpected. Losing your salary, your career identity, and professional sense of purpose can create anxiety and overwhelm.
While being laid off can bring on feelings of self doubt, financial uncertainty, and disconnection, working for yourself allows for flexibility, control and fulfillment.
Starting your own business is a huge step. It requires the type of confidence you may not feel after losing your job. But with the right support and encouragement from family, friends and groups like the Pepperlane community, taking that step can be easier than you thought.
Many women have entrepreneurial ideas swimming around in their minds, but they are so caught up in the responsibilities of work and family, they don’t have the chance to take it seriously. Until they find themselves out of a job because their company downsizes, there’s a shift in the economy, or their position is relocated overseas. We wanted to share the stories of five women who chose or were forced to use losing their job as a catalyst for starting their own business.
Some of the women we spoke to were really shaken by losing the stability and security they thought their jobs provided. Others just hadn’t considered themselves entrepreneurs, simply because they never took the time to really explore that possibility. The women in these stories bounced back, ready to follow their entrepreneurial dreams and rely on the person they know best—themselves.
Stability in Brick and Mortar
“We made it happen, and it worked.” - Christina Ciampa
Christina Ciampa had dealt with some adversity in her life. But no matter what she encountered she found her way up and out. One thing that helped her was reading books with refreshing perspectives and voices different from hers.
The first time Christina was laid off, 10 years ago, she was left spinning. She had no emergency savings and no idea where to find support or resources. So when she got laid off again in 2019 by a different company, she was more prepared.
Christina's entrepreneurial wheels had been spinning before she lost her job. Her husband had bought her this book, “The Feminist Bookstore Movement”, which fueled a fire inside her to start her own bookstore. So when she lost her job, she wallowed briefly then started putting her business plan together to bring her dream to life.
Christina created All She Wrote Books—an intersectional, inclusive feminist and queer bookstore. She started with 25 of her own books on a little cart she’d bring to yoga studios and breweries. Thanks to the enthusiasm of the community, some good press, and her strong will and determination, Christina now has a brick and mortar bookstore, in Somerville, MA. All She Wrote Books, is offering browsing appointments and curbside pickup, and online orders.
A Neatly Wrapped Layoff Opportunity
“Starting my own business after being laid off helped me regain my confidence and sense of self. Which helped me in my career and as a mother.” - Anna Ballard
Pepperlane’s own Anna Ballard was shocked by her lay off in 2019 from her four- year position as Senior Director of Marketing. She started her job search the next day. But that process left her feeling even more alone and not valuable.
Anna says “Then it hit me like a bolt of lightning: I needed to start my own business! It was something I had always wanted to do but never had the time or guts because I was employed. My dream had been to start a gift wrapping service and suddenly I found myself without a job right before the holidays.”
Starting that business was a turning point for Anna. Her true sense of self returned as she reconnected to her creativity, something she had lost along the way in the corporate world. Her kids noticed and were thrilled by the shift in their mom’s energy.
And so did employers...Anna regained her confidence through her business and that led her to apply for a role at Pepperlane. She believes she got the job over hundreds of other candidates because of her connection to the mission of supporting moms building businesses. Read Anna’s full story here.
Building Confidence Through Knowledge
“I hope my story will help other women to be positive and keep moving forward. Always remember that every situation has lessons for us to learn.” - Chin-Sim Kang
Pepperlaner, Chin-Sim Kang was laid off four times in her years as an IT engineer. The first time was the most devastating. She was newly married and concerned that they might lose their house.
“I was so afraid, not knowing what was going to happen,” Chin-Sim said.
Each time she was laid off she took the opportunity to educate herself. She took a class in Entrepreneurship, even though she hadn’t thought of herself as a business person. She took other courses in the healing modalities like meditation, essential oils, and a course called “Awakening the Divine You,” which was the beginning of her spiritual training journey.
After her fourth layoff in the IT industry, Chin-Sim made the move and started her own business, Drops to Wellness, using aromatherapy and gentle massage in her healing practice. She’s now the only Certified Raindrop Technique Specialist in New Hampshire.
A Shove In The Right Direction
“Nobody thinks it’s reasonable to quit their job. Being laid off gave me an involuntary shove.” - Jess Miller
Pepperlaner, Jess Miller had spent her career successfully climbing the corporate ladder. Then, while she was on medical leave, her position was eliminated. She was shocked initially, concerned by the loss of her corporate salary that her family relied on.
But Jess had been feeding her curiosity about coaching for almost 20 years, reading books and taking classes. She hadn’t seen herself as an entrepreneur, so quitting her job to be a full-time coach had previously seemed unrealistic.
In 2016, she had gotten certified as a coach and started a little coaching side hustle. When her company offered her a severance package she took it and headed in a new direction.
Even though she had no idea how to run a business, she kept learning what she needed to become a successful coach. Now she’s the CEO of her coaching company, Brand New You. Jess helps her clients lead their best life, own their own time, find vehicles to make significant income, and to grow in ways they never thought they could.
Helping Businesses from Home Base
“I got pushed into full-time entrepreneurship.” - Victoria Downes
Victoria Downes is a woman on a mission to create an impact in her community. After 14 years of working in HR, she took a position as the human resources manager for Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign.
When that came to its end, the pandemic had hit hard. With the sudden and increasing uncertainty of the world, she knew her family needed her at home. Her initial hesitance was in letting go of the security a regular, steady paycheck can provide.
While working in HR, she had also been working part-time, running her VA business, The Village Creative. Victoria realized that she spent a lot of her time unofficially coaching her clients on their business strategy. So she decided to get certified as a coach, work from home and earn what she deserved for her business guidance, support and experience.
So many women have success stories of being laid off and using the opportunity to play bigger and create profitability from their passion. It can be just the opportunity you need to follow your dreams and work for yourself doing something you love. If you believe in yourself, you can work for yourself.
Pepperlane boasts many Members who went on to create their own successful businesses after being laid off. To connect with these inspiring women, and let them help you achieve your vision of success, try Pepperlane for free today!