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Unemployment and Starting Your Own Business

Question: I am currently collecting unemployment and am not having success finding work for which I am qualified. Can I still collect unemployment if I redirect my efforts to starting my own business and looking for clients instead of an employer? - Frederico

Answer from Pam Hester, Worksystems
 
To receive benefits, you must be able and available to work and actively seeking a job. In many states, you must also accept a job if it is offered to you. This means that, in general, you cannot receive unemployment benefits for starting a business.  
 
However some states (Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Pennsylvania) have "Self-Employment Assistance" programs.
 
To qualify, you must be:
  1. eligible to receive unemployment insurance benefits;
  2. permanently laid off from a previous job;
  3. likely to exhaust benefits; and
  4. participating full-time in self-employment activities. Each state has its own requirements.  
To find out if you qualify, contact your state's unemployment office.
 
 

Learn How to Open Your Own Business


To open your own business, the first thing you need to do is look closely at what is involved and decide if this is right for you.
  1. Research. Find out everything you can about the type of business you would like to own. Learn all you can about your products, customers and competition.Find out if the product or service you want to sell has a market. A business can only be successful if people want what it is selling. Read books and articles about your business, talk with people in your community, and visit your potential competition.
  2. Decide if you have enough money to start the business. If you don't have enough cash to carry you through the first six months, your chances are not good.
  3. Set your goals. What do you want from your business? How will you know when you’ve succeeded? Knowing your goals affects all of the other decisions you'll have to make.
Get started!
After you’ve done your research, looked closely at your money, and set your goals, it’s time to get busy.
  1. Write a business plan. This is the best way to attract investors and lenders for your business. A good business plan also helps you keep detailed records of your vision and goals. Here are a few things to keep in mind when writing your business plan:
    • Focus and be clear about what your product or service is
    • Understand and clearly explain who your target customers are
    • Be clear about your goals and how you measure success. Explain your income and growth targets.
  2. Create a marketing plan. This is your key to attracting new customers. Map out how you want to get new customers to use your product or service and how you'll keep them coming back.
  3. You can't do it all by yourself. The more people you have helping you with the "little things," the more time you can spend growing your business. Don't be afraid to ask for help and advice from friends and family. 
To learn more about starting your own business, visit The Beehive’s Entrepreneur Center
 
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