Should I Use My 401(k) to Find a Job or Start a Business?

Jul 22, 2020 | 0 comments

While in the middle of a pandemic and especially if you’ve been furloughed or lost your job, you may have started to weigh all your options for income streams, reviewing your current reserves and assets. Before the pandemic, the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) found that people out of work in January 2020 were most likely to find a job in either 4-6 weeks, or after more than three months. For January 2020, 35.1% of job seekers were unemployed for less than five weeks, while an almost equal percentage of people were unemployed for 15 weeks or more. That was before COVID-19.
As with anything, considering all your options and your “life factors”, (married, children, etc.), there are (3) common questions people have when considering starting their own business or creating a side-gig:
1. How much money will I need to start?
2. Will I be able to work full-time AND create my own business or side-gig?
3. How do I go from just an idea to creating a company?

Using a grass-roots discovery approach, you can make money doing and selling
anything, (check out your attic or garage for your own inventory list to sell online). The
word “Discovery” involves asking questions of yourself and evaluating all aspects and
job duties involved:

  • Is this an idea that is “calling you”? Meaning, do you have a burning desire to
    start something on your own and believe you can do it? Warning: When you
    own your own business, your beliefs will be questioned by yourself and others.
  • Know your strengths. Evaluating the job duties is not about “if you think you can
    do them” and it feels like you’re checking off a box, but “are they duties you will
    enjoy doing and are they aligned with what you do very well already”?
  • Do you have a core support system behind you? It’s hard enough to start your own business, let alone if you don’t have family or friends to provide emotional and sometimes financial support when the challenges come.

There are many businesses or side-gigs that you can start with no or very little
investment, (under $2,500):
A YouTube Channel
A Blog supporting Affiliates (Joint Venture selling others’ products/services)
Cleaning
Airbnb a room in your home
Vending Machines
Amazon Online
Painting
Pet Services
Consulting – Create a specialty, utilize your existing industry knowledge to bridge
business gaps.
A 501(c)3 – Although considered a “non-profit”, you can work your way into a paying role within a social-justice cause of your own organization by accessing crowdfunding.

When considering any type of business, you should write out all the different roles and
responsibilities included in that business and evaluate what duties you will need to
outsource. For example, if you wanted to start a cleaning business, you’ll need to
market your business, which means writing ad copy, knowing where to post your ads;
keeping track of your marketing efforts to determine if/how your advertising dollars are working for you; you’ll need to be available to answer the calls from people responding to your ads, (prospective customers probably won’t leave a message, they’ll call your
competition).
With all the above considered, the only question left is “What are you willing to give up to start your own business and side gig”? I’ll leave you with a quote from Thoreau that has become the deciding question for anything I’m wanting to do:

“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.”

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