I recently watched a 60 Minutes episode in which they profiled several highly educated, highly experienced people who were struggling to find employment. One man a former corporate manager had not worked in more than two years and had resorted to working for a local lawn care business.
The problem is not just the economy (clearly the guy who owns the lawn care business in doing great). The fundamental problem is that the process required for personal success has changed. But the way most people think has not. Go to school, get a good education, get a good job, then retire was yesterday’s formula for personal success. But when times change (and they have) being a master of what worked yesterday is not only useless it’s actually dangerous.
Why Start Your Own Business
Yesterday you could come up a few stations in life if you bought into another persons dream. You could work on Henry Ford’s assembly line, and work your way into middle management. A select few even made it into upper level management. For nearly 100 years this worked like a charm and allowed America to build the largest middle class in the world.
Today, however, fulfilling another persons dream doesn’t work so well. If you go to work for a big company in the back of your mind ( actually it’s probably front and center) you’re always worried that while you’re working your 60 or 70 hours a week, doing everything and more of what the boss expects of you is the company planing to down size.
Yesterdays economy valued a worker mentality, today’s economy rewards an entrepreneurial mind set. Yesterday rewarded you for landing a job at a big company, today you’re better off starting your own small business – and since the big company you worked for wants to outsource your job they’ll pay your small company to do it.
Here’s the thing – why didn’t the guy in the 60 Minutes piece just go to Sears (see there’s still a need for big companies) spend $200 on a lawnmower, hand out a few flyers and keep 100% of the profit from the lawns he was cutting. Because yesterday he was trained to think like worker, and not an entrepreneur.
What would you do if you found out today that the company you worked for has gone belly up? Or your division is no longer needed. Worse yet your entire industry is going the way of the dinosaurs. Or the government has regulated your employer out of business. What would choose to do? Would you look for another job at another big company?
What if the endless buffet of jobs was closed down and you had no choice… oh no what if you had to start your own business? What would it be?
I want you do yourself a huge favor, guit your job today. You don’t have to phiscallly quit (although I’ve done that), but you can mentaly quit. You can start your own business in what ever spare time you might have. That way when that day comes you’re prepared. Pick yourself to do something that you enjoy, that’s important to you, or that the world could really use.
Can’t think of a business to start, don’t worry… just steal someone else’s idea. Simply identify something that’s working for someone in another town, another state, another part of the world – and do that. Don’t worry about it, once you get started your original plan will morph anyway. You’ll put your unique spin on it and it’ll be the same thing only different.
And don’t be overly concerned with the idea of sticking with one plan. Smart business people eb and flow. They commit to a process not a plan. In fact changing the plan is part of the plan.
Most people have been conditioned to think that starting your own business is risky. It can be. But it’s no more risky than working for the company. Just ask one of the hundreds of thousands of jobless people who formally worked for ‘the man’.
If you’re willing to do this you’ll soon find that you’ve actually got what it takes to make it on your own. It’ll be hard at first, but you’ll find people who are willing to pay you a fairly for really good service, you’ll find companies willing to partner with you, and you’ll learn to look for problems in need of solutions. Most importantly you’ll have a real opportunity to stop making things and make a lasting contribution.
Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away
Now it looks as though they’re here to stay
Oh, I believe in yesterday
I love that song by the Beatles. But I know that today, believing in yesterday is the fastest way to nowhere.