Making the Switch from Employee to Entrepreneur

Becoming an Independent Consultant After Losing a Job

Mitch Paioff was laid off when the dot com bubble burst. He didn't waste any time in setting up his own consulting company, and he's now very active in helping others to build their own consulting practices.

Mitch Paioff runs works for himself as an independent consultant and is based in Littleton, Colorado.

He used to work for a software company.

We asked him to discuss his transition from employee to entrepreneur.

Mitch, thanks for joining us for this entrepreneur interview. So, what type of firm were you working at when you were let go?

I was working as an applications consultant for a small software company. I was fired because I complained about not getting a raise or a performance review after working there for a year-and-a-half. I left in May, 2001.

Tell us about the company you started. What is it and what do you do there?

I instantly became an independent computer consultant, and have been independent since 2001. I now make more money and have more time off than I ever could have as an employee of a corporation.

Earlier this year (2008), I began writing Getting Started as an Independent Computer Consultant, a 153-page book that I self-published.

In this book, I show technology professionals how to start, promote, and manage their own successful consulting businesses. Included with the book is a 75-minute DVD featuring me. I take the viewer on a personal journey through the do's and don'ts and what-to-lookout-for world of independent consulting. For more information on my book, go to:

So, in addition to being an independent consultant, I am now an author and publisher.

Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur instead of simply looking for another job?

Back in 2001, there were no technology jobs. That was right after the "tech bubble" burst. Besides, I was 49 years old.

Did you buy the business or start your business from scratch?

I started both businesses from scratch. That is what worked for me. I have never bought a business, but I did sell a part-time income practice back in 1996.

How did you decide what kind of business to go into?

I was already a consultant, and I knew I could make it on my own (and do a better job). As far as publishing, that was the third book I had written and self-published.

Owning a business is very different from working as an employee. What are some of the biggest differences you've noticed?

Differences? More money and more time off now. And the prestige of being a published author. I don't miss being an employee of somebody else's company.

What advice would you give to somebody who is leaving the life of working for a company to go out on their own?

Buy my book.

Anything else you'd care to share with us regarding the transition from being laid off to starting a business?

It's not for everybody. A lot of the consultants that I have mentored over the years have gone back to being employees.

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We hope you enjoyed this entrepreneur interview with Mitch Paioff. If it helps you better understand what it takes to go from employee to entrepreneur, then we've done what we hoped to do. We welcome your comments, tips and advice below. Thanks!

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