Would I be able to find a job based on the skills I learned being an "entrepreneur" if my startup doesn't succeed?

My "pay the bills" job is a Financial Analyst, but my passion for the past 5+ years has been my startup. I've learned so many different skills running my own business from project management, SEO, sales, advertising, growth strategies, programming, localization, etc. but if my startup fails would companies hire / be interested in me for the knowledge I've acquired? I feel I am very knowledgeable in all different aspects of online startups, and can be very helpful to other companies; however, I also get the feeling that businesses would see my failure in my startup as a flaw.


Just because your startup didn’t or won’t succeed doesn’t mean it was a failure or you are. In the start up lifestyle you get to learn things that other individuals at larger corporations don’t. You understand what it is like to raise money, work with little to no money, and really pour your soul in to your company. If your startup comes to an end, many companies would love to hire someone with your passion and who is willing to do the small stuff to get to the top. Entrepreneurs think differently than others so it is great to have that point of view in any office setting. I don’t think you should have a problem finding another job in the start up world or continuing as a financial analyst but many companies would love to have you on their team to bring a different dynamic to their company. If you want to discuss anything further feel free to set up a call with me ☺

Answered 8 years ago

I have been where you are. I've had a "pay the bills" job but felt more alive when I was doing my own thing. Initially, when I launched my coaching business, it fell flat. Disappointed and embarrassed and having exhausted my reserves, I went back into traditional employment. When life brought me back around to coaching, I was scared to death to try again.

What I learned however was the key to my success was in my failure. So I dared to look. And I dared to ask myself the hard questions. In my case, it was not having established a pool to draw clients from.

So I focused my efforts on building my reputation as a coach and getting in front of people whom my message resonated with.

Before you throw in the towel, I encourage you to dig a little deeper. If you need some help with digging and an objective set of eyes, contact me.

Regardless, lose that feeling! Your skills are completely transferable and can help you to gauge if the job is a good fit or not. Simply highlight the skills you've gained on your resume and your job interview that would make you an asset to that company. The right one will not hesitate to scoop you right up!

Answered 8 years ago

I've seen varying opinions on this. My take is that as long as the startup experience compliments your skill set it makes sense for you to tie that into a job hunt. Being a Founder/CEO of a startup alone doesn't buy you much, but being able to show successful business development, creating marketing initiatives, overseeing product development, project management and more will be beneficial. You'll have to tailor it toward the job you want. Overall, my entrepreneurial experience has opened more doors than it closed. I'd imagine you'll have a similar experience.

Feel free to reach out with any questions.

Answered 8 years ago

Having started several companies in my time, as founder or cofounder, some of which failed, I find it depends on a number of factors in addition to the above.

The one constant is you have gained valuable insight into other arena that you otherwise wouldn't have got had you not tried to grow the startup. This means you'll be able to communicate effectively with parties in those fields better than any other financial analyst.

Your ability to find a job based on your newly acquired skills depend, just like anything else, on the market for them. Your understanding of growth strategies may help with various marketing and managerial roles, analysis in pre-sales processes, customer insight and crucially, end-to-end customer journeys (quote to fulfilment and beyond). This can mean you more effectively communicate and work with those traditionally specialist fields.

After 5+ years, I'd argue a failure may be OK depending on it's growth profile. If it was 1 or 2 then it is often seen as a folly and perhaps to be expected, since most startups fail in that period if they're going to. Also, if it didn't ever make a lot of cash with no attempt at growth, it is also seen as a folly. If it made you lots of money, but the market turned under you, then I think it can be explained.

The question then becomes how much does the company value the new you?

Let me know if you want more information on anything covered here.

Answered 8 years ago

Most startups if businesses see your failure as a flaw then you probably don't want to be working for them as well. There was a reason Facebook's internal mantra use to be Build Fast and Break Things (until they scaled). At the end of the day your failures are what will really define you. How do you bounce back? What did you learn? I believe you would be able to find a job easily. However, the question, a person on a marketing, sales, pm team may really wonder is why you leave your passion of being an entrepreneur to sit at someone else's desk other than to collect a check? It has nothing to do with failure and everything to do with are you really passionate.

Answered 8 years ago

As a four-time entrepreneur, three of which were new startups, I can relate to your dilemma. If you can answer the question about why you are no longer involved with the startup in a way that is positive and makes sense, it's probable you will not be penalized. It's also possible to list your skills on a Resume or LinkedIn Profile in such a way as to focus more on highlighting your skills while focusing less on the companies you worked for or owned. Look up the career definitions of the skills you've acquired and decide whether you meet the professional expectations of those skills, if so, then list the skill and give specific examples of how those skills were used. Remember these things during the interview process as well. Besides applying for positions at well-established companies, consider applying at startups seeking the kind of talent and skills you've acquired and developed - they may be more likely to understand your career track.
As others have noted upon answering your question, I also find that the entrepreneurial experience opens more doors than it closes.
If you would like to set up a call with me to discuss startup opportunity sources, or wording of your Resume/LinkedIn profiles, or other follow-up questions, I am available.

Answered 8 years ago

I totally recognize myself in your description. You can read the article I've written on Linkedin

People learn from mistakes + building a company teaches so much that only fools will treat it as a negative on your CV.
And you don't want to work for / with fools, do you ;) ?

Good luck,

Answered 8 years ago

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