Recognizing Opportunities

January 2015

464846821“Are you kidding…I’m laid off from a company after nine years, where many don’t last but a few?! But I just won a coveted in-house design award for my work…competing against the woman who axed me!”

That’s what went through my head when I lost my job. Millions of others had similar thoughts during the Great Recession. We panicked at the poor job prospects in a shrinking economy and of more immediate needs, like how I, as a single parent, would bridge the financial gap from the fallout of loss of employment. (Okay…I took a few weeks off and leaned on my unemployment benefits just long enough to stop my head from spinning.) I’m betting that salary and age were factors in my little-results-search, but I was not ready to walk away from my passion and the only way I knew to support my family—communicating as a designer and functioning as a business person.

This is the part where I mention recognizing the silver lining to job loss. In addition to my full-time job of looking for a full-time job, I created a business plan and website for a prospective retail venture, and made connections for business advice from the Center for Women in Enterprise (CWE) in Worcester, MA, and the experts at Clark University’s SBA office. (Hopefully, in your lifetime, you have learned how to ask for help…it’s out there.) That retail venture never came to fruition, as another opportunity soon bubbled to the top.

If you are fortunate, you have encountered thoughtful, positive friends in your life that can lift you up with encouragement, and an excitement to share your vision. I certainly have! Custom content publishing company Twirling Tiger Press began at a lunch with a friend who mentioned a digital magazine would be going out for bid.

“I can do this,” I told my friend.

He warned there would be stiff competition for the prized contract. This won’t be easy.

“I can do this,” I repeated—as much to myself as to him. I saw the opportunity!

I invited a friend and former colleague in San Diego, Anne Saita, to partner with me and on September 24, 2013, we officially launched Twirling Tiger Press, Inc. after winning that digital magazine contract. We’ve grown our company in a short period of time, building on our reputation for excellence, leveraging our vast experience in creative print, digital and Web design and absorbing every resource (especially the CWE) that we could find on business development and marketing.

The Tigers have recently signed another long-term contract with our client and are positioning ourselves for other promising opportunities—for us and for those we help provide income. Without losing my job, I may never have discovered the joys, and, oddly, job security of starting a new business. Sometimes opportunities are obvious; the most rewarding, however, of our big breaks are often born from adversity and take time to appreciate.