From Layoff to Startup: How to Become an Entrepreneur

03 Jun 2016

Jordan Kasteler

Jordan Kasteler is a freelance marketing consultant and entrepreneur, passionately innovating the status quo. He has a history of entrepreneurship co-founding and serving positions in such companies as BlueGlass Interactive, an Internet marketing agency, and SteelCast, a tech incubator housing several other self-started companies. His work experience includes in-house SEO at, marketing strategy at PETA and agency-level SEO. Jordan is also an international conference speaker, blogger and book author of "A to Z: Social Media Marketing."

There is no set template to starting a business. Each model is different, as is each market, each product and each individual entrepreneur. Although planning is crucial in order for your ventures to be successful, there will always be unexpected variables in your journey.

No matter what kinds of unique twists and turns are on your path to entrepreneurship, there are a few important steps to success that you can count on. If you’ve just been laid off and plan to take the entrepreneurial plunge, here are five steps that can serve as a general guide on how to become an entrepreneur:

Save while you’re employed

Obviously, the sharp sting of a layoff is a little more tolerable if you have a savings account. When you have enough money to survive for a year while building your business, life is far more manageable. A budding entrepreneur who’s able to put food on the table and pay the bills can make business decisions out of prudence and strategy rather than desperation. While this step is not always a prerequisite for entrepreneurship, it certainly makes things easier in the beginning.

Cultivate an entrepreneurial state of mind

So much of starting a business depends on your state of mind. Without character traits such as confidence, positivity, passion and grit, even the best business ideas in the world can (and often do!) fail. Attend seminars, read self-help books and surround yourself with people that possess these traits. Above all else, avoid toxic people, and bootstrap since day one. Services like Venmo, Square Cash and Google Wallet can be cheaper than PayPal.

Get mentored

Finding a mentor is important for practically any vocation or role, regardless of industry. Diligent teenagers glean valuable lessons from mentorship, as do college students, young adults and seasoned professionals. Perhaps no other calling benefits from mentoring like the life of an entrepreneur. According to John Bertino of The Agency Guy:

“Entrepreneurship is a mental battlefield, a game of strategy, and a life of calculated risks. If you’re just starting out in the chaotic waters of business building, no one needs the benefits of a mentor more than you. He or she will be someone you can turn to when you’re torn in a business dilemma, when you’re unsure of how to handle unforeseen obstacles, or when you just need a sounding board to vent to.”

Not sure where to find a mentor? Don’t worry. They’re not has hard to find as you may think!

Identify a gap to fill

If you don’t already know what problem your business is going to solve or what gap it’s going to fill, now is the time to identify that. You’re going to build your business around the solutions to what’s missing in the marketplace. Leaders innovate, so don’t be afraid to do so even if it costs you your job.

Act, learn and build

When you’re just starting out and you’re ready to take some action, don’t move at an unrealistic speed or bite off more than you can chew. First, start with a small and manageable step. (Act). Next, take a moment to see what you can glean from that small step. (Learn). Are you confident that you’re on the right path? Or do you need to back up and go in a slightly different direction? Your mentor will help you answer such questions. Then take another small, manageable step. (Build). Keep repeating this process for as long as it takes to become profitable and sustainable. Be careful of legal ramifications, as a hasty choice at the beginning can really cause a world of hurt later.

You can do this!

If you’re intimidated by the entrepreneurial mountain in front of you, that just means you’re intelligent enough to realize that starting a business is not a cakewalk. Take a deep breath, find a mentor, get your mindset right and take small steps. Before long, your grit and hard work will pay off, and one day, somebody will look to you as his or her mentor!

How to Become an Entrepreneur

(How to become an entrepreneur)

If you have recently been laid off and are planning to take the leap into the entrepreneurial life, allow the above steps to be your guide.

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