Would you ever go back to a regular job? See why some business owners said yes


Have you ever considered giving up your business for a “regular” job? With all markets, there are ups and downs. Slow times are inevitable, and when they creep up, you may start to question the path of being a business owner. We all do it. Questions like, “Would a ‘regular’ full-time job provide more security?” or “Could I work for someone else again?” start to pop into your mind. So what is the tipping point for business owners?

Because self-employed individuals are all at different stages of life, each person has different circumstances, responsibilities and financial situations to weigh.  Thus, there are many varied factors that would influence a person’s choice to leave the realm of self-employment. Maybe it’s family, retirement choices, healthcare options—all of these play into the decision to stay or go.

We studied a small sample of responses from business owners who were asked if they would ever go back to a “regular” job and found some interesting results.

study 1

1. “Yes, if it was necessary.”

Deep down, all business owners know if it came down to a desperate financial situation, he/she would do whatever it takes to survive—even if it meant taking on a “regular” job.  When the business and the bank account show signs of ultimate demise, it’s time to look for something new.

Yvette Scheiber of YRS Advisors, Inc. said,

Of course, I would do whatever was necessary if it meant the difference between shelter, food and clothing vs. nothing.”

But many entrepreneurs also feel a strong sense of dedication and said a dire financial situation would be a powerful motivator to keep the business afloat.

I won’t say NEVER because Yvette makes an excellent point – I would choose working for someone else over being destitute. That said, the thought of working for someone else again is so unappealing that it motivates me to do what I have to do in my business to keep me from needing to make that choice,” said Melanie Yost, a self-employed Business Coach.

2. “I’d take on part-time work.”

Before taking a full leap back into a new job, some business owners supplement their income by taking on a part-time job—especially during slow times. This balance of “regular” work and keeping the business operational can sometimes be enough to get through the dry spells and can also give the freedom to focus only on the parts of your business you enjoy.

Marie Leslie, a Marketing Consultant said, “I recently accepted a part-time position with a local company that is very much aligned with what I do in my business. The steady paycheck has allowed me to give up parts of my business I didn’t like and spend more time focusing on some of the more creative aspects without worrying about income.”

3. “I might go back…”

The category of undecided individuals had concerns about going back to the world of non-self employment for a variety of reasons. Some felt they were too old to be an appealing interview candidate. Some felt disadvantaged by their time as a business owner—that it would appear difficult to switch out of the role of CEO and back into employee mode.

“If a “regular job” could be found that pays a living wage, has medical insurance, paid vacation, pension benefits and doesn’t expect you to live at the office for 60-70 hours a week, I may be interested,” said Patrick Ingegno, a credit and collection management Consultant.

 4. “No, I’d never go back.”

The majority of business owners gave a resounding “No!” to the question of ever working for someone other than themselves. The freedom, self-direction, and ability to blaze their own paths were benefits they couldn’t bear to think of parting with.

Sherry Gray, a freelance writer said, I can’t see myself working a “real” job again, and I don’t think I’ll have to. I’ve lost a client or a regular gig a few times, but I always seem to have offers.”

Overall, it sounds like the consensus for self-employed people is that once you’re in, you never look back. In order to leave the world of being your own boss, the benefits would have to be extremely high or the low would have to be an extreme low. The natural ebbs and flows of business over time can sometimes make the world of PTO, pensions, and benefits seem lucrative—but ultimately, they are motivations to re-boot or re-direct the course of the business and make it stronger than ever.

Now it’s your turn: What would it take for you to leave your business? Have you ever considered it? 


Photo credit: vidalia_11

Kaleigh Moore

Kaleigh Moore is no stranger to small business. She's the Founder of Lumen -- a business that offers copywriting, social media services, and graphic design. When she's not contributing to the EnMast blog, you'll find her running or at the movies (because the running helps manage the movie snack consumption.) Connect with Kaleigh on Twitter, LinkedIn, or read her blog.


  1. Angie Phillips says:

    Really good subject and probably a constant thought on many ‘self employed’ people minds… Ive certainly considered it.

    • Kaleigh Friend says:

      It’s always there in the back of my mind!

      • I remember when I realized that the thought wasn’t really there any more.

        For a long time I would glance at job postings and think, “If I could just get a job, that would be great!” Then I just stopped looking one day. I think the commitment that came from giving up that “dream” and instead living the “dream” I was in made a huge difference.

        I recently heard a quote, “Creativity follows commitment” and I think that’s really true in this case. Knowing I wasn’t going back (to a regular job) helped me to be more committed to my business and I got more creative about how to make it work.

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