Have you been downsized, right-sized, experienced a layoff, or simply seen your employment vanish over the last year of the recession? You're certainly not alone. While many business owners are moaning and groaning about the economy, the effect it is having on the economy, and touting that now is a terrible time to start/be in business, the truth of the matter is that a recession can be an ideal time to start a business.
Whether you own your own business or work for someone else you must first recession proof your mind if you want to be successful. Hanging out your own shingle doesn't make you immune to your mindset and beliefs about what is and is not possible in this (or any) economy.
That being said, if you have always wanted to go into business for yourself, have a great idea, or simply want to take back control of your earning power, becoming a recession inspired entrepreneur can be just the ticket. As my accountant often says to me "If you can succeed in this business climate, you have a great foundation to succeed over the long haul." That's because in these times you need to be mindful of expenses, price your services right (in a sustainable way), and be exceptionally creative to generate income. This is a good test of your your moxy and mindset because difficult times become an even more intense mirror back unto our own self.
This CNN commentary tells the story of Madame Alexander, an innovator in the doll industry, who scraped together what she could in the early 1900's (despite no help from the banks who determined she was a bad risk) to top the list of the most popular toys of the past 100 years in a recent Forbes magazine article.
The lesson being made is that there are millions of jobs that have been lost since the economic mess started and many of those aren't coming back. Peter Bregman goes on to say:
Looking for a job might make you feel better, but it won't pay your mortgage. Don't waste your time looking for a job that isn't there.
There is another way. It's the great opportunity of our time. For many people, it's the only one. And it might actually make you happier than you were at the old job.
Start a business.
Elana Centor posed the question "Who in Their Right Mind Would Start a Business in This Economy?" a while back. Turns out the answer is: Many of Us.
Turns out recessions are actually a great time to start a business. People who have been laid off feel like they have nothing to lose so they are more inclined to take a risk and pursue something they always wanted to do. Then there is just the reality that chances are many of the people who have been laid off will probably not find the kind of job they want so they have to create their own. It's the old necessity is the mother of invention concept.
The people who will come through this recession to thrive are those who are willing to innovate. The innovation word gets passed around like a cocktail napkin yet it is this very creativity that our society and economy relies on. Otherwise none of us would be sitting in various venues (cafes, airports, homes, on the run) reading blogs, right? We'd be calling each other on landlines leaving little post-it messages "while you were out" and wondering in vain what other people are thinking, writing and experiencing.
There are other reasons why starting a business during a recession is a good idea. Ashley at Wide Open Wallet shares several reasons why now is a good time. One of those reasons is that everything is on sale and now is a good time to buy:
3. Sales: In a recession everything goes on sale. You can get a lot of your supplies at a discount because companies are begging for revenue. Lower start up costs make it easier to get into the business you’ve been dreaming about. And help keep your overhead down (See #1).
She goes on to list famous companies that started during economic downturns some which may surprise you.
Entrepreneur magazine lists these 10 reasons to start a business in a recession which are also excellent food for thought.
All the encouragement and "I'll show them" attitude in the world however is no substitute for actually immersing yourself in starting a business. If all you've known is working for someone else, going out on your own is an eye-opening experience. Don't take the magnitude of it likely and don't let the magnitude of it leave you paralyzed. There is a subtle ying and yang that needs to happen between being grounded in the facts (for instance, your financial statements don't lie) and propelled by the possibilities (vision and inspiration to set you apart and keep you going).
If you need some help or simply some inspiration from women who have succeeded at taking the plunge consider tapping into the following resources and books:
- The Boss of You: Everything a Woman Needs to Know to Start, Run, and Maintain Her Own Business by Lauren Bacon and Emira Mears
- My So-Called Freelance Life and The Anti-9-to-5 Guide by Michelle Goodman
- Escape from Cubicle Nation (the blog and the book)
- The Self-Employment Blog
What has been your experience in this recession? Would you/are you starting up a business? What resources have you found helpful? Would love to hear from you in the comments...
Paula Gregorowicz, owner of The Paula G. Company, offers life coaching for women to help you gain the clarity, confidence, and courage you need to have success on your own terms. Get the free eCourse "5 Steps to Turn Fear Into Freedom" at her website
Get the latest word on personal finances from an LGBT perspective and Paula's practical coach approach to the topic at Queercents http://www.queercents.com.
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