Ask Dr. Job’s chief contributor, Sandra Pesmen, is a member of the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame and author of “DR. JOB’s Complete Career Guide.”

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You can have 'good failure'

Q. I have a great idea for a business that I believe can become successful for me and also be good for my community. But I'm afraid to quit my job, sink all my savings into it, and go for it. In addition to losing everything, I'm really afraid of the stigma of being a "loser" if it doesn't work. So how about that?

Ans. Don't quit your day job until you have the business at least up and started on weekends and evenings. Find a support system among trusted friends and family who can help while you keep that weekly paycheck coming in. Also, before you leave any company that provides insurance, be sure you have another way to get those needs met. But also consider Richard Keith Latman's contention that failure can become a good thing. In his new book The Good Fail: Entrepreneurial Lessons from the Rise and Fall of Microworkz, he outlines the way his own first company failed very publicly and he went on to start 11 more successful companies. Latman explains that a "good fail" is a failure that has a learning value greater than the offset collateral damage. It is a failure that one is unlikely to repeat, but that helps to positively shape the person's managerial style and business acumen leading to new ideas about customers, innovations, and business plans. Don't just worry about failure, he advises. Worry about success. And make sure all the ducks are in a row before you jump into the water. But if at all possible, you should try and take the jump safely.

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