Get All Access for $5/mo

Failing as an Entrepreneur Won't Make You a Failure But It Might Make You Appreciate Having a Job Entrepreneurship is not the only dream available.

By Mike Wood Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Sam Edwards | Getty Images

There comes a time for many when being an entrepreneur just doesn't work out. It becomes a choice of feeding your family or pursuing your dream. I'm here to tell you that family should always win. So, what do you do when it's time to return to the workforce after being an entrepreneur?

First, there is nothing wrong with returning to the workforce. Eight out of 10 businesses fail within the first 18 months. Even if your business didn't fail, sometimes being an entrepreneur just isn't what you expected. Long hours, drained bank accounts and overseeing an entire operation are some of the drawbacks that many people thought they could live with. That's just the life of an entrepreneur. Turns out, not many of us can deal with it.

Related: Not Every Entrepreneur Thinks You Should Quit Your Job

Giving up on entrepreneurship should not be seen as a failure. In fact, some people decide to return to the workforce despite being successful entrepreneurs. No matter what the reason behind your return, here are a few tips to help you through the process.

Forget entrepreneurship, and pursue your dream job.

I believe success involves achieving your dream. That doesn't mean you have to run your own business in order to achieve your employment dream. Instead of pursuing an entrepreneurial dream, pursue your dream career.

"You likely started out feeling that you could be anyone and do and have anything you wanted," writes the authors of The Job Book. "After a few setbacks ... you lost interest. Perhaps you eventually narrowed down your options in life."

This makes perfect sense. When we were younger, we dreamed about what we wanted to be when we grew up -- police officer, superhero, etc. None of us said, "hey, I want to be an entrepreneur," as none of us really knew what that meant. So, now that we are beyond that, it's time to revisit our dream job -- the one that brings out the best in us.

You can pursue your dream job while still paying the bills. We no longer live in an era where you are stuck in a dead-end job with no room to grow outside of that profession. Many people build their business while working a full-time job. You can do the same with your dream career.

Want to be a lawyer? There are plenty of night and weekend law schools you can attend while working to support your family. Want to be the next great chef? You don't have to travel to Europe to do it, and some places will even pay you while you attend school.

Point is, you don't have to settle for a job just because you are giving up being an entrepreneur. Pursue your dream job, and you will get just as much satisfaction as an entrepreneur, without the headaches of running your own business.

Related: Why You Shouldn't Be an Entrepreneur

You define success, not society.

Many people feel they are unsuccessful if they give up their entrepreneurial dream. This should never be the case.

According to Richard Branson, being successful can take place with everything you do, regardless if you are an entrepreneur or employee. "My definition of success," asks Branson? "The more you're actively and practically engaged, the more successful you will feel."

Again, this makes sense. As long as you are actively and practically engaged, you will feel successful. You can be successful as an employee just like you can as an entrepreneur. Success is feeling good about what you do. It's not all about money or what other people say.

Think of it like this. Some people are successful and poor. Take those who engage in social responsibility. They volunteer their time, live in harsh conditions (for the most part), and don't get a huge paycheck to go buy the next model Tesla. However, if you ask them, they are successful because they have accomplished what they set out to accomplish.

Speaking of Tesla, take Elon Musk as an example. Yes, he is rich, but money does not define success in his opinion. He set out a long time ago to accomplish many things. He is currently working on space exploration with SpaceX, which is one of the main disruptions he wants to make with the world on his way to feeling successful.

Some of the best advice I have ever read about defining success came from Melanie Spring in an Entrepreneur article. "Just like your business vision, figure out what you want to accomplish in life," Spring said in an article that helps to define success. "Pretend you're at the end of your life and you are looking back. Ask yourself where you went, what you did, where you lived, who was in your life, what did you do for others and what your life felt like. Think about how you want to be remembered and write it all down."

Seems like a lot, but "looking backwards" is a good starting point to write down what you feel will make you successful. The next part is going and getting it.

Related: Why an Entrepreneurial Mindset Is Actually a Bad Thing

Summing it up.

Not everyone can be an entrepreneur, but that doesn't mean those people are unsuccessful. Success is defined differently, and you need to define yours instead of allowing others to do it for you.

If you are returning to the workforce after giving entrepreneurship a try, just know you are not alone. Others have done it before you, and many more will do it after you. Never stop dreaming. Just focus on your dream job and what will make you happy in life.

Mike Wood

Online marketer, Wikipedia expert

Mike Wood is an online marketer, author and Wikipedia expert. He is the founder of, an online marketing agency that specializes in content writing, brand management and professional Wikipedia editing. He is a regular contributor to many online publications where he writes about business and marketing. Wood is the host of the Marketing Impact podcast and author of the book, Wikipedia As A Marketing Tool

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Business News

How Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang Transformed a Graphics Card Company Into an AI Giant: 'One of the Most Remarkable Business Pivots in History'

Here's how Nvidia pivoted its business to explore an emerging technology a decade in advance.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Business News

Want to Start a Business? Skip the MBA, Says Bestselling Author

Entrepreneur Josh Kaufman says that the average person with an idea can go from working a job to earning $10,000 a month running their own business — no MBA required.

Starting a Business

How to Find the Right Programmers: A Brief Guideline for Startup Founders

For startup founders under a plethora of challenges like timing, investors and changing market demand, it is extremely hard to hire programmers who can deliver.


Why Hearing a 'No' is the Best 'Yes' for an Entrepreneur

Throughout the years, I have discovered that rejection is an inevitable part of entrepreneurship, and learning to embrace it is crucial for achieving success.