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How to market yourself as an employee after being an entrepreneur?

Updated: Apr 3

The term “Life happens” is literally what it means. Life happens! The decision from being a business owner to an employee is sometimes necessary to pivot and re-group. You now have to search for a job and be on the other side of the panel, being interviewed. Contrary to most perceptions, it may be a happy situation, you may want to go back to just doing what you love, and this is what you want. And it could also go the opposite way, where it isn’t a happy situation, and it’s hard fitting back into the mold of the workforce. Re-entering the job force can be tough to navigate, but the best thing about this is, you have a ton of skills from being a business owner.

As a business owner, you have worn many different hats, some you may not be the greatest at, but you have the skills and knowledge to do it. Don’t be afraid of re-entering job-market, because you bring a plethora of skills and talents to the employer.

Choose one role to specialize in (Identify what you want to do…)

Quite often entrepreneurs have many roles: Boss, Communications, Finance, IT or marketing specialist – you had to know everything. Do an inventory of what you did, put it on paper, excel, whatever, what was in the sweet spot, and areas that if you had to, you could probably knock it out the park, with a bit of practice or training. Figure out which one stood out for you or adds the most value and use the rest to compliment you.

For instance, "in my business I did a marketing campaign, with complex sales funnels, that generated over 200 leads, with a 70% conversion rate."

The key skill focus you demonstrated in this case, copy writing, but the key highlight, you also did social media content creation, demonstrated marketing skills, and sales lead generation.

It’s important to not get bogged down with everything that you can possibly do, but to narrow down the what the job is looking for and build around that.

Take the time to prepare your resume

Showcase your accomplishments and professional skills. Some of the common characteristics of entrepreneurs include drive, flexibility, passion, resilience. As an owner, you have made a business operational and wore many or all hats, the CEO, the communication and marketing specialist, the sales specialist, the bookkeeper, the human resources, the social media manager, the logistics coordinator etc.

Take the time to think about your business and what you DID, who you managed, who you built relationships with and HOW. Showcase who you were as a brand. remember it doesn’t change because you are no longer running the business.

Work on your mindset (Most important)

If the reasons why left your business aren't happy reasons, before going to an interview, work on your mindset. Be very clear with yourself as to why you are re-entering the workforce and be confident. Sometimes if the business was unsuccessful it takes a toll on your mindset when you now have to switch gears. A lot of times when you went into business you wanted to do more of “the THING” you love – making crafts, baking, whatever. What you got included that plus everything else, including having to manage yourself, a team, your finances etc.

So, when you prepare for interviews, it is a good idea to think about what the person on the other side would need to know. In addition to standard questions, be ready for questions such as:

  • Why did you decide to apply for this job?

  • Are you planning to start another business?

  • Do you feel you have the skills make this company successful?

With these questions, the intent is to provide insight to the hiring manager on your motivation. Your focus is to convince the employer that you are committed and in it for the long haul and that you are bringing your wealth of experience to apply it to the organization.

Find a network

We often feel we are alone in our experiences. The reality is other entrepreneurs re-entering the workforce who may have had similar experiences. Look at forums, read posts. Once you find that “thing” you are good at, prep your resume, work on your mindset, and find a network of like mind, all that’s left is to land the job. You got this!


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