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Old Tricks, New Job Shorten the road to success by using skills learned during your days as an employee.

By Nichole L. Torres

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You may have hated spending your days slaving away in a cubicle, but your employee days aren't all bad. You can use the expertise you gained working for someone else to start your own business, just as Lara Chabina-Crowe, founder of Global PM Group, did.

Chabina-Crowe had more than 20 years of travel industry experience when in 2004 she started Boca Raton, Florida-based Projects by Lara, providing project management services to tourism and airline companies. Soon she had a bevy of project managers working with her, and as her company's focus expanded, she rebranded as Global PM Group in 2007. "I was lucky because [while I was with my previous employer], I was exposed to all the airlines within its network, so my name got out there," says Chabina-Crowe, 39. "I definitely tapped into the contacts I had within the airline industry." She has since pushed sales to about $300,000.

Utilizing contacts from your previous job can smooth the transition to starting your own business within the same industry, says Jerry Acuff, CEO of sales consulting firm Delta Point and author of The Relationship Edge. Maintain those valuable connections with your old industry colleagues as you continue to form new relationships in your business. Says Acuff, "You can build your business with people who know you and know what you're capable of doing."

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