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Launching a Business While Searching for Work

Until March, I had been the head of an upstart television production company based at a major Hollywood studio. Coming out of the gate swinging, I sold some passion projects and people were taking notice of my production capabilities. My career was where I had wanted it to be; when I lost the job earlier this year, I was certainly scared of the financial implications but also felt like a weight had been lifted. As an old boss used to say, “It’s not a problem, it’s an opportunity.” Being in that job brought to the surface the entrepreneurial spirit I knew I had.

While I look for work, I am simultaneously building a company based on an idea a buddy of mine and I had about two years ago. This new venture has afforded me the opportunity to test my business acumen as well as creativity. I wanted to establish an online community for the employable that could create opportunities, connections with others going through a shared experience, and create dialogue to turn our collective situation around…and www.jobblehead.com was born (we will launch in a few weeks).

While I continue to pound the pavement in an effort to generate an income while I build Jobblehead, it comes as no surprise that the opportunities out there are slim. Ideally, I’d like to segue into another business to take advantage of my skills working with content creators in a collaborative environment. I spend lots of time researching companies, sending emails to executives I admire (in an attempt to get on their radar), joining online groups, as well as trying to connect with hiring managers directly. Each morning I wake up to about 13 emails hoping that perhaps one or two of my inquiries will result in a meeting — but alas they’re mostly spam.

This recession has taken its toll on the country, displacing families, depleting 401k’s, etc. But I keep in mind that this is the land of opportunity, yet simultaneously understand that the days of climbing a corporate ladder to get my gold watch at the end of 20 years of loyalty are no more. I take comfort knowing I’m not alone in this struggle, but I do my best to remain focused on the task at hand with a positive outlook.

Brad Bertner was vice president of television development at Hotplate Productions, a television production company. He was laid off in March 2009, after more than a year with the company. Previously, Mr. Bertner, 34, held a similar position at 3 Arts Entertainment. He graduated from Syracuse University with an Information Management & Technology degree in 1997. He lives in Los Angeles.

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