Yes you can. Get it, boss!
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5 min read
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A criminal record can make it difficult to get hired, find housing, and do many other basic tasks. But can it stop you from starting your own business? The short answer is no, it can't stop you.
Former criminals can benefit from starting a business in several important ways:
Self-control. Instead of waiting for someone else to offer you a job, you can create something for yourself. It's a challenge that you have set yourself that can focus and keep you on the right track. Independence and freedom. Many people start a business because it gives them independence and freedom. They can make their own decisions and set their own rules instead of following someone else. Avoidance of employment problems. Many ex-opponents find it difficult to get hired because of their criminal past. When starting a business from scratch, there is no need to go through the interview process. You will work for yourself. Hello boss.
Of course, there are some issues and unique challenges that Ex-Cons face when trying to start a business:
Felons and certain positions. For starters, criminals are sometimes limited in the types of positions they can hold. For example, you may not be able to start a business or earn a position in the legal or medical field. These restrictions are often in place to protect the public from potentially unscrupulous service providers. However, there are many other options to choose from. Licensing and Registration. Depending on the type of business you want to start, you may need to purchase a license or an operating permit. Depending on the requirements, these documents can open the door for a personal background check. Your criminal record can make it harder to get the papers and permits you need to operate. Criminal records can also affect your ability to travel and affect your visa or visa waiver applications. If your business depends on your ability to travel to other countries, you may need to find someone to handle these responsibilities. Also, as an ex fraudster, you may have trouble finding the funding you need to start your business. Banks that grant loans typically do background checks on borrowers. If you have a criminal history, you may have trouble getting loan approval. There can also be problems finding an angel investor or VC willing to contribute based on your past. Likewise, you may find it harder than usual to find a partner willing to build a business with you. You may have to spend a long time looking for someone more open-minded, or you may have to do it on your own.
Related: Why Resilience Is The First Step To Growth
Play with your strengths
In fact, when starting a business as someone with a criminal record, there are some things that can work in your favor once you know how to use them. For starters, you may be able to qualify for a scholarship or educational program specifically designed for entrepreneurs with a criminal history. For example, there is Inmates to Entrepreneurs, an organization that provides grants, resources, and other forms of support to ex-criminals who want to change their lives. Companies like SCORE provide free business advice and training to a wide variety of aspiring business owners regardless of their background.
Traditionally, having a criminal record is a “bad thing” for your reputation and public image. However, you may be able to rate it as positive for the company. For example, if you advertise that this company is hiring ex-prisoners to help them start a new life, you may attract more customers to patronize and support the company as an organization. This is especially true if you are reinvesting part of your profits in criminal reform programs and other purposes that help people with criminal records.
In addition, some experience and skills can be acquired in prison that can help you become a better entrepreneur. For example, if you are used to a harsh and competitive environment, as a leader you are a more ruthless strategist. And if you're used to the insecurity and lack of safety nets in a prison setting, the stress and ambiguity of entrepreneurship can seem tame in comparison.
Related: Ex-convicts make the best entrepreneurs. Here are 3 reasons why.
So is it possible for a former criminal to start a successful business? Yes, it is. Countless ex-cons have founded successful companies under her leadership. There are several obstacles that you must overcome and there is certainly no guarantee of success. However, if you employ the right strategies and compensate for your weaknesses, you can increase the likelihood of achieving your goals.