"You have to position yourself as someone who's right for that job without dwelling on what went wrong with your business," Locke advised.
"If business was not a success, it's best not to get into the specifics," agreed Atlanta-based job hunting coach Miriam Salpeter of Keppie Careers. "Focus on the future and how you perfectly suit the organization's current needs."
You also can play the "I'm looking for bigger challenges and better resources" card, said Seattle-based interview coach Lewis Lin. In other words, emphasize the advantages of working for a more established firm.
What about interviewers who can't imagine why anyone would trade being their own boss for being a corporate cog?
"Don't refute their utopian view," Lin said. "Quickly acknowledge the benefits, but then highlight why the position you are applying for is better for you."
Of course, some jobs and fields value entrepreneurial experience more than others. Choose wisely and you'll have an easier time explaining why you're the best person for the job.
"Another startup or a relatively new company may welcome you with open arms," Locke said.
Same goes for larger organizations looking to hire a sales manager or business development director.
No matter how badly you need income, be sure you consider a company's culture before accepting an offer.
"Someone who's an entrepreneur may not like an environment that's more rigid and structured," Locke said.
James Clark, whose home inspection business dried up in 2008, can attest to that. Next to the steady paycheck, the thing he likes best about his current job as a full-time inspector for the city of Seattle is the freedom.
"I'm very autonomous," he said. "It's almost like working for myself -- without having to do all the taxes and paperwork."
For Lewis, the dog food manufacturer, the structure of being at someone else's office by 9 a.m. each day has been an unexpected boon.
"I'm really liking it," she said. "The academic focus of the full-time job feeds another side of me. And being around fellow office workers is wonderful. It was the best move I could have made."
This work is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.
Michelle Goodman is a freelance journalist and former cubicle dweller. She is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide: Practical Career Advice for Women Who Think Outside the Cube". For more information, see Anti9to5Guide.com.