Time and again I hear from friends and clients, “I want to start my own business, but the economy is just so bad right now I think I should just stay where I’m at and keep doing what I’m doing.” Their voices are usually tinged with sadness and resignation.
Their words and their feelings upset me. I began to ask myself “Should the economy stop people from starting their own business?”
My gut said, “No.”
First, even though the news reports how bad the economy is, not all sectors of the economy are in a downturn.
Look around your neighborhood. In my neck of the woods the economy doesn’t seem to be hurting the restaurant business. Every night, every restaurant parking lot is packed. There are even people waiting outside on a Tuesday evening.
A National Restaurant Association news release indicates that 2011 will post record sales for the industry and a USA Today article stated that “the food services industry added 25,000 jobs last month.” Small businesses (and that includes including bars, cafes and restaurants) have generated 64% of the net job growth over the last 15 years according to the SBA.
Second, I know that if you watch the news and hang around people who are not self-employed all day then you will be convinced that you should be happy to have a job and to not risk the (perceived) security to start your own business. But, if you limit your exposure to negative news reports and get out, meet new people and start hanging out with people who have started their own business and are working for themselves, you will begin to see a whole new picture. If you’re not sure where to start finding people to hangout with in your neighborhood, try hanging out with the many interesting and inspiring entrepreneurs who use social media like Twitter. (If you’re not sure who to start following, follow me, @SandyDFromNJ, and then Tweet me and I’ll point you in the right direction.)
To continue answering the question “Should the economy stop people from starting their own business?” here are a few more things to consider:
- Over the last 100 years there have been many companies started during an economic downturn and today many of them are household names: GE, IBM, Disney, Microsoft and Apple. To read more about these companies check out this AOL Small Business article: Top Companies Started During a Recession
- Thinking that your job is secure and you’ll work there until you retire is an old reality. Thousands of jobs are being eliminated every day as companies downsize. A Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that people will change jobs at least 11 times before they are 44-years-old and a Wall Street Journal article reports that only 10.3% of Americans have held the same job for 20 years or more.
- It takes a tremendous amount of discipline, year after year, to save enough money while working as an employee earning an average income to become a millionaire. Being an entrepreneur takes a lot of discipline and hard work, too, more than being an employee, but the rewards are potentially greater. Check out The Forbes List of the Richest People In America where the minimum net worth is one-billion-dollars, and you’ll find plenty of entrepreneurs.
- Creating your own job, your own business gives you a sense of freedom and independence. Even the US Department of Labor recognizes the benefits of entrepreneurship for all people in this article Entrepreneurship: A Flexible Route to Economic Independence for People with Disabilities
Check back later this week for Part Two of Should the Economy Stop You From Starting Your Own Business? where I’ll introduce you to four women who have started their own businesses within the last 18-months despite the economy. All four are doing their own thing, in their own way and helping others along the way.
PS If you want to read a related article, check out Jonathan Fields’, Recession Proof Jobs, Santa Claus And The Easter Bunny