How to Recover After a Small Business Failure

Guest post by Carla Lopez. 

Carla Lopez kept her entrepreneurial spirit even after retiring a couple of years ago. She created for retirees who still desire to work and achieve – a site that offers business resources for people in their golden years.  

When it comes to running a small business, sometimes you feel the risk, not the reward. It’s unfortunate but common; about a fourth of small businesses fail in the first year, and only a third make it to year ten. 

Hushup X Hustle helps women figure out how to move on from disappointments and create a better tomorrow. In that spirit, we’ve come up with this guide for how to take care of yourself after your small business closes: 

Press Reset

Getting bangs after a break up might be a cliche at this point, but there’s a reason we do it. Major changes – hair cuts, new clothes, redecorating – are symbolically powerful. They help us press the reset button and mentally enter a new stage in life. 

This is just as necessary after a business failure as after any heartbreak, so embrace it. Dye your hair that color you’ve been thinking about, redecorate and cleanse your office, go on a spur-of-the-moment road trip. Do something to draw a line between this time and the last – a new era has arrived. 

Amp-Up Self Care 

Another common side effect of grief is that it harms our ability to take good care of ourselves. This is a vicious cycle that just ends in us feeling worse and worse with time. You can’t force yourself not to grieve your lost company (and you shouldn’t try!) but you can force yourself to take a shower and eat right

In fact, you should head off declining self-care at the pass by finding ways to incorporate extra self-care right now. For example, you can look into trying out a brain-boosting supplement that will help you get into the right headspace for moving forward or indulging in a weekly soothing bath with a favorite bath bomb. 

Let Yourself Grieve 

Like we said above, you can’t control your emotions, and trying to force them away or shove them down is likely to have the opposite effect. Instead, create room to experience the grief you’re feeling. 

If you have a lot of trouble letting yourself sit in unpleasant emotions, here’s a trick: Schedule a specific time, as in, literally put it on your calendar, “Tuesday, 3pm-4pm: Grieve.” For that hour (or however much time you set aside) you can meditate, listen to sad music, journal, whatever you need to do to work through that feeling. Afterward, indulge in some of that self-care we talked about earlier. Remember: Feeling the pain is the first step toward healing and moving on.

Look Forward 

Sitting in your grief allows you to move past it. Once you feel ready, you should start thinking about what your next steps will be. After all, one of the silver linings to an ending is the chance to choose where you go next. 

Maybe you’ll decide to start another new business, armed with the experience and knowledge you’ve gained. If you’re leaning this route, take some time to actively reflect on your first business, what went wrong, and how you would face those problems in the future. This isn’t bulletproof – there are always new obstacles. However, you do have the advantage of knowing what some obstacles might look like. 

Perhaps you’ll decide business ownership wasn’t right for you, and you’d prefer to go back to working for someone else. That’s fine! When you work for another company, you get to leave your job at the office and live in your downtime. After all, there’s no rule that says life’s most satisfying moments have to happen on the clock. Plus, going back to traditional employment doesn’t close the door to another shot at business ownership down the line.

There is no right or wrong answer here – simply focus on what you’ve learned and what you want for your career and life right now. Remember that the end of a road is not the end of the journey. Care for yourself and look toward the future, and who knows what paths you’ll find. 



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