Mourning a job loss? Try franchising for a new lease on life.

If you find yourself confused about what path to take after a job loss, you’re not alone. Do you recognize yourself in the story that follows?

At a crossroads

You’re at a crossroads, somewhere between the ages of 40 and 60. You have lost your job, you’re unemployed, and you are torn between getting a new job and starting over, or finding a great franchise opportunity and going into business for yourself. You are stressed out over this decision and haven’t been able to commit to one option or the other. Your spouse thinks that you should take a job, with benefits. You need to support your family, but you have a feeling that this is your big chance to make your American dream come true. What to do?

Managing an unexpected job loss can be difficult until you can fully commit to a new path. Do you really want to go back into the same corporate world that just kicked you out? Were you a leader who put blood, sweat, and tears into helping your organization grow? Do you now feel that no one really cares or values your contribution any longer? As Frank Borman, a retired NASA astronaut who was once president of an airline (now defunct), once said, “We are only as good as our last flight.” In other words, the corporate world wants to know, “What have you done for me lately?” The fact is, you can love a job … but it won’t love you back.

Choosing a path

Alright, so you’re out now, and it’s time to make the best of this opportunity to do something you have always dreamed about. You’re now a “free agent” and you need to think like one. There’s not really any such thing as job security in today’s world and turnover within organizations is inevitable. Perhaps it’s time to reinvent yourself and shift your thinking from job security to “work continuity.” Perhaps it’s time to consider owning a franchise.

This will be a major life decision–one that will be hard to make. But if you have some severance pay, time is on your side. Should you take a few weeks off, collect your thoughts, do some Internet research, talk to your friends, and then decide what to do? No. Your well-meaning friends will most likely have a variety of differing opinions about what you should do. You’ll probably hear some “get rich quick” ideas. And whatever’s right for a friend won’t necessarily be right for you.

So you visit the outplacement center, update your resume, and start sending it out to companies. Competition is fierce. There are a lot of young up-and-comers who can and will do what you do, and for less money. You may have a feeling that somewhere out there is the right job, you just need to widen your search and give it more time. You may then discover that you’ll have to relocate your family for the right job, which of course adds to your stress.

While you really want to find a job, you now realize you need to open yourself to more options. Being your own boss sounds like a great idea. If you don’t want to recreate the wheel, franchising is the way to go. But you realize there are 4,000+ franchise companies that you could research. And that seems overwhelming!

So you meet with a franchise consultant, who wants to help you find your perfect fit. She starts talking you through the process of narrowing down the playing field. But you keep other irons in the fire, hoping a job will come through at the last minute. You are still scared of the unknown. The “what ifs” get the better of you.

Which persona will suit you?

Keep in mind: job loss = freedom found! It’s a great opportunity. Within franchising, there are many options. Keep things in perspective. Don’t waste time and burn through your available capital while being frozen in place and unable to make a decision. Consider these options and think about which person you’d rather be:

Negative Nelly / Nathan

  • I can take a job with a lower salary so I can avoid relocating. Our lifestyle will change and the kids may have to pay for college themselves, but we can make it.
  • My spouse will have to take a job to cover the health insurance.
  • We can downsize the house and find something less expensive.
  • We’ll need to live on less.
  • Forget about retirement–it’s not going to happen.

Positive Polly / Peter

  • It’s time to buckle down and focus. I’ve either got to spend all my time looking for a job or all my time looking for a business to buy.
  • I’m out of severance pay but I can use my retirement money to buy a business, and with hard work, we can get into a better financial situation.
  • I will find a high quality, service-providing franchise business that requires a relatively low investment and doesn’t involve expensive equipment. Then I’ll start generating revenue as soon as possible.
  • With hard work, I’ll grow my business, build up its value, and turn it into an asset that can be sold to support my retirement.

Moral of the story

Bouncing back from a job loss is not easy, but when the window of opportunity opens, it’s best to be ready to step through it. When the money is runs out,  your options will be fewer. Seize the day and find a qualified franchise consultant to help you narrow in on opportunities that suit your skills, talents, preferences, desires, and goals. Good luck!