From Retrenchment to Entrepreneurship

From Retrenchment to Entrepreneurship


Being retrenched is one of the best things that can happen to you.  It simply depends on how you look at it. Many look at it as a disaster while some quietly breathe a sigh of relief because this is their chance to finally do something else.  Many companies have downsized in the recent past and continue to do so. These are fairly huge organisations so the number of people that have found themselves without jobs are many.  Not everybody is going to find another job or for that matter wants to. You may have found yourself in this situation.  I talked to several people in our entrepreneurship class who have gone through this, and many of them say that when it first happens you do not know what to do.  Especially if you did not expect or did not already have a side hustle.  You are simply frozen at first.  From my conversations with several people these are the common things that actually helped them move from the place of retrenchment to entrepreneurship.

  • If you’ve gone through this, it is OK to take a moment to feel bad. It is loss after all. Many have said that they go through the motions of wondering if it was something they did or didn’t do.  Spend time talking to those who have gone through similar experiences and then you will see that you are not alone with what you will feel.  All sorts of fears will be going through your head.  Loss of identity, money, what other people think and even just not having a place to wake up to and go every day. Acknowledging these feeling is helpful so give yourself time and space to do it. You don’t have to make a decision and/or know the next steps today. Do not go shopping when you are feeling like this.  You will be trying to get a temporary ‘feel good’ in the midst of the depression. You also don’t want to try and put pressure on your new business to make you feel good hence the importance of grieving. Also put a time limit to the grieve e.g. you’ll give yourself a week or two then work on this next season of your life.
  • You are not your job title. Loss of identity is one of those things that you will go through. Especially if you want to venture into a business you have to break free from your job title.  Just because you were a lawyer does not necessarily mean you start a law firm.  Try and describe yourself without your job title. Entrepreneurship needs your skills and your experience not your qualifications and your title (Click to Tweet this thought). I have been in business ten years and not once has anybody asked me for my degree certificates. Yes, you could have worked as a lawyer but your skills could be negotiating, communicating, teamwork, problem solving, analytical etc. These will help you identify what business opportunity you could venture into and you will not limit yourself to your immediate profession.
  • Look at this as an opportunity to discover your passion.  I know in the midst of wondering where the next shilling is coming from it is hard to start thinking about passion.  Even if it is thirty minutes a day force yourself to do it.  There’s a gentleman currently in our entrepreneurship program who has decided that following his passion is going to be the lesson he will take from his retrenchment experience.  Working, making a living, succeeding is hard either way you look at it.  You might as well do it in an area that you are passionate about. If you were working in customer service and absolutely dreaded going to work every day in the morning, then you know that is not the job for you.  Passion is important because it keeps you going even when things are tough as it is in any business. However, don’t over analyse it.  If it’s something you reasonably like doing you can start there.  Some people know their passion outright while others like me stumble into it while doing something else.
  • Adopt the attitude of a student.  As far as business goes you are in kindergarten and life as an entrepreneur will be drastically different from when you were employed. The way you deal with money, people, challenges, opportunities, time will be different. You will need to think very differently. It will be a complete mindset shift and that cannot be understated.  Do your research.  Go and have coffee with people who have been there and done that.  Maybe someone who is in a similar business that you want to start. This will be far better use of your time than trying to draft a guess work business plan. Go and talk to your target audience.  Will they buy what you want to sell or are you the only one in the world who would do it. Take a course to upgrade your business skills.
  • We underestimate the power of just starting. Get onto the bus and the journey will unfold.  You don’t have to have everything one hundred percent right but do something. See that potential client, a mentor, the research, write that proposal.  Starting is a confidence booster (Click to Tweet this thought). When you do one thing you get motivated to do the next.  Don’t worry how you will get a hundred clients, focus on the one who may be knocking on your door.  Giving them the service. It will teach you what you need to know to get ten clients.

Preparation always meets opportunity.  Even though things may look bleak it really is an opportunity for you to prepare for the next phase.  Don’t waste it by not taking the opportunity or learning the lesson you need to learn to move forward.

Waceke runs a program on Entrepreneurship for details email Waceke on or Facebook/Centonomy or go to


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