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How One Man Turned a Layoff Into a Successful Business A full-time job at a prospering company does not equate to job security, as one entrepreneur learned after getting laid off.

By Ben Simkin Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Many people dream of working for themselves. The thought of becoming financially self-reliant and escaping the corporate hierarchy can be very appealing. But being a business owner isn't easy, and many people let fears and uncertainties hold them back.

Everyone has to make a living, and most people take the traditional route because working for a large company with an established market presence can appear to be the most secure and reliable option available. When this stability falls through, some people panic; others see it as an opportunity. Jon Rush is one of those opportunists.

Today, Jon Rush is a successful business owner, but this wasn't always the case. At one point, he worked as a Sprint Nextel salesman. But after a decade of stable income and job security, Rush was informed that his employer was going in a new direction and that they would not be renewing his contract.

Related: 50 Tips for Starting Your Own Company

While some people may have panicked, Rush used this opportunity to start a unique business. He now owns C7 Device Recycle, a startup that buys and refurbishes pre-owned smartphones, and sells them at a fraction of the cost. His story highlights many important strategies that aspiring business owners can use to become self-employed.

Utilize existing knowledge to pursue new opportunities.

After being let go by his long-time employer, Rush began lending his industry expertise to former Sprint customers. He would accept old phones in exchange for his services and would then refurbish and resell them online. While many people may dream of pursuing a career based off their passion or area of expertise, it can be hard to find a starting point. By taking small steps to build a steady stream of clients and revenue, it is much easier to grow into a self-sufficient entrepreneur.

Related: 3 Reasons No Money is No Barrier to Starting Your Business

Network with others, and take chances.

After generating income from selling refurbished phones on eBay, Rush was contacted by an IT recycling company. Upon their recommendation, he placed a bid on a bulk order of phones. Though his bid was low, he was successful. Establishing oneself as a notable presence in a given industry can present networking opportunities. And while some prospective entrepreneurs may be hesitant to take financial risks, this is necessary in order to grow a part-time freelance operation into a fully-functional business.

Related: A Simple 6-Step Process to Starting a Small Business

Capitalize on prevailing business trends.

C7 Device Recycle has become a trusted resource for many individuals, organizations and companies. Taking advantage of the immense popularity of mobile devices and the growing emphasis placed on environmentalism, Rush's business has enjoyed a large amount of popularity. In order to become a successful entrepreneur, a person must utilize their strengths. However, they must also consider what potential customers are looking for. By presenting a service that is in high demand, anyone can improve their chances of success.

Pursue business ownership in a strategic manner.

It can be difficult to abandon the security of a traditional job to pursue an independent business endeavor. Like many people, Rush found himself chasing his dream not out of choice but out of necessity. Even the most stable company can let employees go with little warning. While going into business independently may seem difficult, a focused plan makes it much easier. Fears and uncertainties can be circumvented by approaching entrepreneurship tactically and strategically.

Ben Simkin

Founder of BusinessNET

Ben Simkin is the founder of BusinessNET, a leading Online Marketing Firm that to-date has increased clients' sales by over $1.45 billion. BusinessNET provide end-to-end marketing and sales services to established companies worldwide.

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