My husband was a real estate appraiser, and the way the industry went working for someone in a company became an extinct animal, so most appraisers were forced to open their own company and work solo. That meant opening an LLC, payroll, and dealing with taxes. There is no employer match when you are it.
My husband did pretty well initially until the financial bubble on Wall Street burst, followed by the housing industry. There were so many changes that came about in it's wake that real estate appraising became a very tough business to survive in. It also became a proverbial witch hunt. Some bad appraisers were made a public example - soon all of them began to fear for their freedom given the microscope they all found themselves scrutinized by the Fed's and the FDIC. Eventually jobs became scarce, and those being offered were now only available by 3rd party endorser's to "keep things honest" and they also took a cut of the pay. Jobs began to pay less (even difficult one's) and the amount of time it took to ensure all the I's were dotted and all the T's were crossed made the pay far below minimum wage. Some companies began a policy of paying 3 months out - so you had to actually load the front end of the pipe so to speak before paying jobs began spilling out the other end. Soon appraisers were unable to make a descent living, and many were leaving the industry in droves - but that didn't mean available jobs were any more plentiful. Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac soon had a monopoly.
My husband had been a real estate appraiser for over 20 years at this time, and well into his late 40's. I at the time was on medical disability retirement for a chronic illness and hadn't worked (nursing, or anywhere - other than staying alive) in nearly 10 years.
We began to have to use our credit cards to live on, and we went into even more debt then we had been (and no retirement saved). Things looked very bleak ...
We had some hard choices to make. I wasn't well by any means, but had to return to work as a nurse full time or we were screwed - good and proper.
My husband had to return to college at almost age 50. We went into even more debt due to student loans (my income was enough that 3 people wouldn't go hungry, but we weren't living wonderful either. It also ensured my husband didn't qualify for financial aid - which only pays 70% of all schooling combined anyway - not like when I went to college, graduating in 1993. We didn't even have computers then for God's sake - this was a whole new educational system).
My husband did a fast track COTA course while returning to restaurant work part-time, and had a very busy 23 months. The end result was he had a AD and a new career to get used to at 51 years old, and we were another $25,000.00 in debt.
So, before you consider what is ahead of you in your possible present course of action, think about the financial cycles - there have been bubbles enough bursting all along for those in a bad enough position to witness them. Will there be another one? You betcha. Will you be in a strong enough financial position to endure it and weather the next storm? Only time will tell.
Nursing isn't all you've experienced in the past 4 years. Think of nursing like a big diamond - there are many facets to nursing, and I bet there is one you may like - or at least one you can live with.
I despised bedside nursing for the simple fact that every place I worked put me personally in danger, as well as the patients, with unsafe staffing ratios. Plus, it was exhausting work for someone who didn't realize they had an autoimmune illness yet. However, I returned to nursing as a telephone triage nurse and now work from home. It works for me. I didn't like nursing either before I got sick, but I can honestly say I don't dislike it any more. My present job turned out to be exactly what I needed to work full time as an RN, even with a chronic illness.
Maybe you have the panache to open a business and do really well, but consider long time contender's in the financial business game have closed their doors forever in the tsunami of the last financial meltdown, which even now still continues to reverberate shock waves through the United States. Healthcare - particularly nursing, is one of the few careers that is built to weather the storm.
On one hand you only live once, therefore you will never know what you can accomplish unless you try. If opening a coffee shop is your dream - really your dream, then how can I tell you not to roll the dice and give it your best shot? But if it is something you have come upon with as an alternative career choice recently then I do encourage you to proceed with caution and really consider all choices before you take the Nestea plunge (yeah, I'm showing my age again - sorry about that).
That's our family's tale of financial woe, and it wasn't an easy story to tell by any means. I really do hope you come out on top instead, but please give your next move very careful consideration.