Many entrepreneurs start a business as a part-time venture, which they run after work and on the weekends.
Imagine being thrust from full-time work into full-time entrepreneurship… with no experience.
After the layoff from the engineering job, I felt stunned and scared. I did not have a financial cushion of savings– I had been paying off credit card debt from furnishing a modest room-for-rent and buying the professional tops and pants for my office job to replace my tshirts-every-day collegiate wardrobe.
None of that mattered. Either I found a way to make a living, or I would have to pack up the car and drive back to Indiana to live with my parents.
My former employer held an “interviewing skills” daylong seminar for the group of us, and then we were forgotten. Engineering jobs were scarce during that economic downturn.
My then-boyfriend Bert and I sat down. Living in the Los Angeles area was not cheap, and every day without pay was putting me deeper in the hole. What could I do?
He hit on the idea of taking my computer skills from my engineering job and branching into teaching people about computers.
Luckily for me, one of his good friends (Mario) owned a professional computer training company, and while he was not in need of trainers, he pointed me toward the training professionals networking group called TASC (Trainer’s Association of Southern California).
Computer training firms were abundant in those years, as the workforce was shifting from nimble-fingered secretaries rapidly filling out triplicate forms on typewriters, to technical employees hunting and pecking on desktop computer keyboards to write their own memos.
And employers were desperate to get their employees more productive– the secretaries had been laid off in masses, so there was no turning back.
Two weeks later, with newly-printed business cards in hand, I showed up at the TASC meeting and gave my first 30-second “elevator pitch” highlighting my skills and what type of position I was looking for. I handed out business cards and received promises of incoming phone calls.
Back at home, the silence was deafening.
(to be continued…)
–Lynn Selwa, “The Rocket Science Coach” ™