Executive Careers Blog

The Downside To Ditching Your Job Search To Start A Business

Help Wanted

In my last post, I outlined several advantages to starting your own business in lieu of a job search. But it’s not easy to start a business, and there are disadvantages to taking time off your search to try entrepreneurship.

Every entrepreneur has to master a variety of important skills but they may not be the skill set that helps you stay current in your field.

Sales, marketing, PR, and accounting are just some of the things an entrepreneur must do, in addition to whatever technical skill is the focus of the business. An accountant client of mine thought that starting his own firm was for him till he realized he’d likely do more sales and other business-building activities and less actual accounting as he built his practice. (He opted for traditional employment.)

Your message to the market gets diluted.

If you’re thinking you can do both the business and the job search, will friends and family know to tell you about a great job or about a great prospective client? What will you pitch to a company that could be a great employer and client – your resume or your business? You need to know how to talk about yourself and how to divide your market targets.

If you decide to go back to traditional job search, prospective employers may be suspect of your time in entrepreneurship.

They may think you really want to start a business and are just looking at a job as a stop gap. They may think you can’t work for anyone else since being your own boss. They may think you are a dilettante or a quitter as you go from employee to business owner back to employee.

Starting a business can be a great alternative or complement to the job search.

But there are significant costs in time, energy and focus. While both entail selling yourself, networking, and identifying your market value, these are separate pursuits and require separate strategies.

For the many people who do balance both successfully, there can be a great payoff but not without risks.

More Executive Strategies on CNBC.com:

Caroline Ceniza-Levine is a career coach, writer, speaker, Gen Y expert and co-founder of SixFigureStart (www.sixfigurestart.com), a career coaching firm comprised of former Fortune 500 recruiters. Formerly in corporate HR and retained search, Caroline most recently headed University Relations for Time Inc and has also recruited for Accenture, Citibank, Disney ABC, and others. Caroline is Adjunct Assistant Professor of Professional Development at Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs and posts at CNBC Executive Careers and Vault.com.

Comments?  Send them to executivecareers@cnbc.com