Rebirth after Redundancy

As many people may well be facing this in the coming months, I thought it might be helpful to share some thoughts of my own experience on here. I was made redundant early in 2011, from my role in commercial property and after a time, set up Spotless Interiors.

These are a few points I found helpful or discovered along the way and may be useful when giving even the tiniest thought to your own venture (even if you do not know what that might be). I should point out that starting a business was not on my ‘to do’ list when I lost my job. At no point in my career, to that point, had I a desire to work for myself. However, sometimes life takes you on a path you never envisaged but seems to be the right one.

  1. Wallow. Most people need time to and indeed benefit from. Ultimately redundancy is an expression that you are no longer wanted. You have been chosen to go. Yes, it is the role that has gone but it is a nevertheless personal and often emotional rejection. Along with the financial worries that come from being out of work, this is a trying time to get your head around. It is difficult to move on if you are in the early stage of negativity. So wallow (but not for long).
  2. Experience is not everything. When you decide to pull yourself up to face the issue and you wonder if you should look to create something, rather than find something, look at more. Your attributes are not just the role you have had for the last 10 years. They are not just your degree subject. They are much more. Those attributes can translate into a multitude of other areas. It is in part the ‘transferable skills’ point. I find it helpful to use the old pen and paper and draw diagrams. Look at the jobs you have had, the qualifications obtained, skills used and the things you can do or like to do. Be honest and don’t put yourself down. What do you like to do, what dreams do you have? Are you creative, do you like being outside, are you methodical, are you interested in people? These are all points not often found on CV’s but they are important in finding your path.
  3. Research and resource. Once you have an idea-research. Who else does it, how do they work? Is there a market? How can you stand out? I don’t think a formal business plan is helpful this early but just jotting ideas. Look around. What might help you? Who can provide guidance? I was fortunate enough to attend a course on starting your own business, run by the very knowledgable Belinda Coaten. It was invaluable. At that point I had very little ‘plan’ but I had the offer of a free course and nothing to lose. I learnt so much from those few days. It fired me up to pursue what had begun as a fanciful idea with no real structure.
  4. Use your circle. Even if you have no idea how it will work or indeed if it will, talk to those closest to you. You may find they are supportive or they may consider your plan foolish (I had a bit of both) but you never know who they know or the unknown skills or connections they possess. From close friends we had a website built, a logo designed, marketing material given. Without which things would have been very different. They will also be the most important tool in progressing and marketing your service/product. You do not need to spend a fortune on a leaflet drop, getting higher in the google search, etc. You need your close friends and family to be willing to listen and share.
  5. Be financially realistic. This will not develop overnight. You will undoubtedly have bills to pay. Take another job for a time if you can-whatever that is. I worked daytime in domestic conveyancing and evening trying to plan and develop the business. Not easy but necessary. When there was sufficient work to warrant leaving, I did. Also, do not set your expectations too high. Do not expect too soon to be in premises, with your name at the door, uniform, beautiful office, whatever it is. Financially this can be risky. Can you work from the garage, dining table, do you really need a uniform/van? Can you manage in other ways until the time is financially right to upgrade? I have met people running businesses with turnovers in excess of £1m, from a spare bedroom.
  6. Look up. This sounds strange but has become important. I’ve been fortunate enough to undertake some coaching with the talented Katy Walton. I realised how much I missed by looking down so much as I walked home one day and so then took in the sky and the trees. This is a bit of a metaphor and also probably a little too spiritual for many. However the essense is to look around, take time for you and watch and listen. My best ideas come to me when I stop. A run, walk, bath, whatever it is. Stop. Be inspired. See something random that sparks a different idea. Think. You will not fix the situation you are in by constantly running.

These are some of my thoughts on how to deal with a situation that can change everything. Some of these ideas will also apply if you are looking for a role, rather than making one. I hope they may help someone but I would be interested to hear how others have found ways of dealing with redundancy.

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