The statistic was plastered all over the news recently. Candidates for jobs outnumber the positions available by six to one.
We’re right where our corporate masters want us. Scratching and clawing for what few jobs still exist in this country or terrified that our current employment will vanish any day now.
So we keep our mouths shut, put our heads down, and work endless hours of unpaid overtime in the vain hope of staving off the pink slip. The only guarantee in today’s workplace, however, is that jobs in businesses of all sizes are flooding out of this country, never to return.
Have we had enough of this nonsense?
It’s way past time to start thinking of ourselves as self-employed no matter what title or position we hold at present. Instilling that entrepreneurial mindset in the working public is the mission of Gil Effron, the New York-based founder of ThinkSelfEmployed.com.
Effron, whose 30-year business background includes advertising-marketing and consulting, recently published a booklet packed with outstanding advice for the jobless, and even for those who still have a job. And none of it involves looking for another position with a different employer.
Instead, Effron’s 12-page tome explains in plain English what it takes to be self-employed successfully. It is blissfully frank, upbeat, and devoid of all the off-putting business jargon and puffery that permeate most discussions of entrepreneurism.
Effron outlines what he calls seven key indicators that a person has what it takes to be self-employed. These include passion, determination, self-discipline, faith, willingness to talk to lots of people (networking), admitting that we don’t know what we don’t know, and willingness to move out of our comfort zone. Then he offers an expanded explanation for each of these indicators, reassuring readers that each can be learned, and that none of us will be proficient in all of them. Until, of course, we start putting them into practice.
“The only way you can fail is when you stop trying…when you give up,” Effron writes about determination, the second indicator. “I don’t know any business owner who got it right the first time. If it doesn’t work, they try a different approach.”
Then there is his practical definition of faith, indicator No. 4. “Having faith isn’t the same as ‘hoping’ that things will work out. It is doing all that needs to be done and then believing good things will happen.”
One key indicator of success that he doesn’t include is creativity. The successfully self-employed dare to think in unusual ways. In a phone interview, Effron cited his personal knowledge of two partners who started importing leather handbags from Korea and selling them to stores. Then they were inspired to set up shop at flea markets, and started making more over one weekend than they made all month selling to retailers.
“If you don’t think you’ll be at your current job forever, start thinking now about being an entrepreneur,” he advised the still employed. There are big advantages to learning the fundamentals of self-employment without the pressure of having to replace lost income right away.
He also cautioned that most people who decide to start their own business begin in the wrong place, such as ordering business cards or starting a website. They really need to go through three basic steps. First: a frank analysis of their own skills and abilities. Second: planning what they intend to sell and who they intend to sell it to. And third: talking to lots of people to gauge real-world interest in their business idea.
Effron predicted the U.S. economy will bounce back, but not to the same levels as before. The likelihood of workers getting their old jobs back — at their old levels of pay – is slim to none, especially for those in their 40s and 50s.
There’s no time like the present to transition from unemployed or about to be unemployed to being the boss.
(Cross-posted at The North Star National)