15 March 2009

Make (It) Work: Entrepreneurs in the Mini Depression

The NYTimes has covered it, scores of web sites are promoting it, and a growing number of employed people are doing it: scaling back and starting up.

We're not all born entrepreneurs. That's a good thing because new businesses frequently fail. A stable society relies on most people preferring to join a group than start a group. But in an unstable society, when work groups are disbanded (another way to describe a lay-off), people move to a new preference: covering the rent.

So, we're developing an economy that includes folks without jobs offering services and products to the folks with jobs. Will the start-ups generate enough income to replace the lost paychecks? Or, as some optimists claim, to re-start the economy? I'm betting that most will happily return to the security of employment when that is possible. But they'll have fond memories of working all hours, chasing contracts, and seeing their effort translate directly to dollars. OK, so, maybe the fondness doesn't emerge immediately.

The other thing that doesn't emerge immediately is confidence. The transition from other-employment to self-employment can take months to develop. First, you have to shift your thinking from "where can I get a job" to "where can I get work?" Second, you have to scale back from "how much money do I like to make" to "how much do I really need to bring in?"

After you gain proof that you can make the money you need, you can begin enjoying the freedom of working for yourself. That's where I am. But a little worry can creep in. I commented to a colleague doing the same thing I am, "we're in the honeymoon phase, you know, and next year might not feel so good."

She was sanguine. "Yeah, everyone knows honeymoons are overrated...but they still go on them."

© 2009 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (www.marybold.com, www.boldproductions.com, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as professional, legal, financial, or medical advice. Or education advice. Or marital advice. Or even a tip.

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