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Quitters Are Turning Around And Starting

Dan Nielsen The Record-Eagle, Traverse City, Mich.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) A new survey suggests a third of Americans who quit their jobs in the last six months did so to launch their own business.

Traverse City

The pandemic put a lot of people out of work, some temporarily and some permanently.

National media has reported extensively on the large numbers of people whose professional lives have changed drastically during the pandemic and related economic slowdown. Some were forced into change.

Others took the opportunity to rethink their life goals and balance.

The follow-through on 2020's soul searching is still in progress. According to the U.S. Labor Department, 4 million people resigned their jobs just during April 2021.

Various paths Americans hit by the pandemic have taken include: * Waiting it out and returning to work as usual. * Going back to school. * Taking early retirement. * Moving to a different employer. * Switching to an entirely new career. * Starting their own business.

Many people apparently did some deep soul searching while working at home, relaxing at home or worrying at home. Some were able to find more satisfying jobs than they used to have. Some found higher pay. Some decided it was time to drop out of the workforce. Some took stock of their lives and decided to train in a totally new field of endeavor. And some decided to take the plunge into entrepreneurship.

Digital.com, an independent review website for small business online tools, products and services, last week released results of a late-July online survey of 1,250 people that suggests a third of Americans who quit their jobs in the last six months did so to launch their own business.

Entrepreneurship and small business are major drivers of the national economy. They're also an overwhelmingly huge part of the local business scene.

Small businesses account for 99.6 percent of business entities in Michigan, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy. The office states there were 886,567 small businesses in Michigan in 2020. Those businesses employed 1.9 million people, 49 percent of the state's private workforce.

Grand Traverse, Benzie, Antrim and Leelanau counties in 2020 were in Michigan's top tier for rate of self-employment, 11.8 to 18.8 percent, according to the office of advocacy.

If locals follow the trend the Digital.com survey found, there could now be quite a few more self-employed people in northwest Lower Michigan.

"The pandemic forced us to quickly adapt to new technology as well as virtual work and social activities," Dennis Consorte, startup consultant and small business expert, said in a release from Digital.com. "Perhaps the most impactful change is that many people are rethinking their career paths and reimagining what it means to achieve financial freedom and break the cycle of living paycheck-to-paycheck."

But lower wage earners, people who earn $50,000 or less, accounted for only 27 percent of new entrepreneurs identified by the survey.

Respondents who were earning $150,000 or more a year were much more likely to quit their current jobs to start their own business.

Forty-four percent of surveyed workers quit their jobs because they wanted better wages and benefits, 42 percent said they wanted to focus on their health, and 41 percent expressed desire for a more rewarding career.

The most popular industries for new business owners who responded to the survey were information technology, retail and personal care services.

The pandemic lockdown acted as a catalyst for this surge toward entrepreneurship. About 60 percent of respondents said they hadn't thought about starting their own business before coronavirus spread across the globe.

So, yes, millions of Americans quit their jobs in the last few months. But quite a few of them quit so they could start. ___ Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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