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Laid Off? Find Your Next Big Opportunity

Learn from 2 entrepreneurs who found upside in the downturn.

This story appears in the June 2009 issue of Start Up.

Entrepreneur: Matt Sarrel, 39

Approximately 91% of respondents (nearly 300 small- owners) would be open to potentially advising new entrepreneurs starting a business; 8% of respondents indicated that a layoff by another organization had played into their own decision to start a business. (Source: SurePayroll)
Laid off from his job as technical director at PC Magazine in 2003
New business: Sarrel Group, a -based technology product test lab, and editorial services and consulting firm
2009 projected growth: 50 percent to 100 percent

Words of wisdom:
  • Emulate your previous company's success and improve upon their mistakes. "If you can do everything they did right and two things they did wrong better, you're as good as they were. And you can charge a lot less, because you're not a huge, multinational company."
  • Look back on your whole career and think about who's good, who tells the truth and who you'd want to work with again, then go find them. Sarrel gets a lot of help from freelancers-many of those freelancers worked under him previously and got laid off, too.

Entrepreneur: Amy Romano, 40
Laid off from her job as a corporate PR, and communications manager/director in 2007
New business: Amy&Company LLC, a Chandler, Ariz.-based strategic and tactical PR firm that provides brand and marketing communications services to primarily small and midsize companies
2009 projected service billings: $200,000 to $225,000

Words of wisdom:

  • "Commit to it. Just because you didn't pick the timing doesn't mean it isn't the , so embrace the opportunity."
  • "Whatever you do, believe it's a business-your business-not just time-filler projects until your next 'real job' comes along."

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