Use Your Tech Layoff as Fuel. Start Your Own Business.

Artificial intelligence can be great. Amazing, even. Good or bad, it is definitely life changing. AI was originally designed to allow computer systems the ability to perform normal human tasks. By using voice and image search, along with NLP (natural language processing), ML (machine learning), algorithms, and statistical analysis, these machines are considered ANI (artificial narrow intelligence). This “weak AI” can focus on narrow tasks with a limited range of abilities.

We are well on our way to AGI, artificial general intelligence, and potentially, although hopefully just theoretically, ASI – artificial super intelligence. With AGI, the technology would be on the same level as us humans. Once technology surpasses human intelligence, it is considered ASI, which is super freaky. Not only would the AI be able to complete tasks and communicate, they would also be capable of developing emotions and maintaining relationships. 

So do we hate AI now?

I don’t know… do we?! AI is great when your hands are full in the kitchen and you want to set a timer, but when it comes to your livelihood and AI taking over your actual job, it becomes seriously problematic. 

Over the past few weeks, the tech industry has laid off over 200,000 individuals. Remember Sandy from customer service? Cut. We’ve got chatbots now. How about Lucas from marketing… The guy that handled all of the retargeting ads? Well, AI can recommend products instead. We used to rely on strategists to segment audiences. Now we have AI to create those targeted campaigns. 

The human touch used to be what made businesses good businesses. It’s the little things. But now tech has become so tech-y that there’s even “sentiment analysis” – also referred to as emotion AI – which uses ML to grab data on how customers perceive their brand. So basically it’s a robot assessing how another robot (chatbot) worked with a client. No, no, no! 

What is this world coming to?

So, let’s do a headcount. We’ve got Amazon, Meta, Apple, Microsoft, Google…. These are many of the big tech players. According to this layoff tracker, there are 269 tech companies that have had major layoffs in 2023. Layoff percentages range from 0-100%. Some layoffs don’t seem too cutthroat with a number like 2%, but then you realize it’s IBM with 3,900 workers now with no job. 

Vacasa, where are your 1,300 employees going to go? PayPal, what about your 2,000? These people have families. Homes. Mouths to feed! A freakin’ robot doesn’t even have a mouth! 

Tech and its resiliency

Silicon Valley: I don’t get you. You’ve gotten through so many hard times… Even the dot-com bust. I mean the only thing worse than that in the late 90’s was the scary skinny eyebrows everyone was rocking. But seriously –  No matter the economic challenge, it seems like you make it to the other side, simply because you’re such a giant.

But if you can handle the rapid rise in valuations due to crazy stacked investments, only to bubble, why can’t you handle employing real humans? I mean seriously, can you not afford to pay your contractors, or full time employees, the salaries they deserve? And work hard for? 

People pride themselves on their work. They want to do a good job. It gives them purpose. So, why take that from them? And give it to a robot? Does the robot need a roof over their head? Does AI need new shoes? What about pay for childcare? We all know how insanely expensive that can be.

Show tech who’s boss

What’s that saying again? Don’t get mad… get even? Yep, that’s it. Getting upset that you’re laid off is completely normal and understandable – but you don’t want to let it get the best of you. Don’t let the big players win! Instead… show them who’s boss. How? Become your own boss.

Why become your own boss

When you’re your own boss, you define your scope of work. You set your hours. You choose how long you want your vacation to Thailand to be. You’ll have complete autonomy – freedom that isn’t possible when you’re working for someone else – let alone a tech giant.

Is working 24/7 for a company that doesn’t necessarily have your back, only to offer you free lunch and a gym pass, really worth it? Life is what you make it. When you work for yourself, you can have flexible work. You’re able to co-work in Buenos Aires. Your commute can consist of rolling out of bed to working at the kitchen table. You can have your cute little toddler running around you, if you so desire. 

How to become your own boss 

First, you’ll need to figure out what you really want to be doing. If you were recently laid off due to the tech layoffs, it’s likely you were working as a designer, consultant, contractor, strategist, engineer… or maybe something different! Either way, decide if you want to maintain your role, or try something new.

Once you have defined your work, you’ll need to find clients. Opportunities exist everywhere… they are truly endless. Put feelers out to your circle, let your peers know you’re open to new gigs. LinkedIn is a great place to spread the word, as are networking events to help get your new business off the ground. 

As you gain more work opportunities, you may even need to expand and hire someone to work for you.

How to start your own business

First, you’ll need to register your business. The requirements will vary by state and entity. If you’re opting to work as a sole proprietor, and plan on conducting your business using just your legal name, you may not even need to register at all. Keep in mind, even if you’re not technically required to register your business, it can still be beneficial when it comes to legal and tax benefits, as well as liability protection. 

Second, you’ll want a bank account. The main benefit of having a business account is that your personal and work-related funds will remain separate. Mixing both assets can impact your legal liability. So if you were to face a lawsuit, for example, your personal funds could be affected. Another great perk about business banking are the tax advantages that come along with it. 

Business insurance for new businesses

Business insurance is definitely something to consider. In short, insurance is “protection against possible events or outcomes”. While it may seem broad, there really is insurance for just about anything. Freelancer insurance and independent contractor insurance are great to look into when you’re just starting out as a self-employed business owner.

Where to start? General liability covers many of the random things that could go wrong when you own your own business – like third-party bodily injury, property damage, and claims against libel, slander, false advertising, and copyright infringement. 

Professional liability is also a nice choice. Also known as errors & omissions, or E&O insurance, this policy protects you against claims regarding failure to deliver promised goods or services, negligence, and professional errors.

Another popular coverage for those just starting out is business property insurance, which protects your work gear, equipment, and supplies in the event they require replacement or repair costs due to fire, theft, or natural disaster.

Looking to save? BOP insurance, short for business owner’s policy, combines both general liability and business property insurance into a convenient package – at a lesser price than purchasing each policy separately. BOPs are awesome because there are a ton of endorsements (add-ons) that can be tacked onto the package at an affordable rate. 

Additional insurance policies you may want to consider are workers’ compensation, cyber insurance, commercial auto, and umbrella insurance. 

So how much is business insurance, really?

I’m not really into sensationalism, but let’s reverse that question. How much is an insurance claim, really? Like… without insurance paying for it? It can add up, that’s for sure.

The smaller your operation, the less expensive your insurance will typically be. The lower-risk your industry, the more affordable your policy will typically be. Let’s say you’re a consultant. Your general liability could be as little as $25/month. Not bad! Property insurance? The average cost is $33/month. Professional liability will cost a bit more, hovering around $75/month.

Check out this business insurance cost guide for your enjoyment. 

The moral of the story 

Don’t give up, and don’t let layoffs get the best of you! Channel the mixed up emotions and spin it off into your own deal. Invest in your future, because if you don’t, who will! 

Don’t be afraid to do your own thing. In fact, get excited! Go spread those wings, and do big things!! Google will cry about it later, missing out on your awesome skills! 

Ready to start your biz? Grab a free business insurance quote. Nice n’ easy.