When put to the test, people are endlessly adaptive, inventive, cunning and resilient. These are some of the qualities that have helped us survive eons of changing, challenging conditions to emerge as the dominant species on the planet.
We share many of these qualities with other creatures. I recently read about a chimp in an outdoor zoo that doesn’t like being gawked at, so overnight he gathers piles of rocks and places them, strategically, around his pen to hurl at visitors when they arrive. Luckily, chimps only know how to throw underhand.
There’s an extra quality that humans have. Call it savvy. If the chimp had it, he might build a pile of rocks big enough to climb out of his predicament. Which brings me to the predicament we all find ourselves in, one way or another: the recession.
According to a New York Times article, economists who have tracked trends in previous recessions found that when the economy turns down and jobs disappear, more entrepreneurial businesses spring up. In other words, when people are forced to stop working for someone else, they figure out how to make money for themselves.
The ability to reinvent ourselves is in each of us. It’s part of human nature. But why wait until you are forced to dig deep before you find the motivation to become an entrepreneur? Why not be proactive? Why not gather some rocks ahead of time and work toward building a castle where you can live happily ever after?
You are probably familiar with the expression “The best time to look for a job is when you already have one.” Well, that’s also a good time to launch your own business. When there’s no pressure. But if you are out of a job, don’t despair. It’s always a good time to become an entrepreneur.
The Internet has created countless opportunities for “virtual” businesses, particularly over the last five years with so many people shopping, meeting and communicating online – the mass embrace of Web 2.0 social media. There are literally millions of business opportunities online if you know where to look and how to develop them…or if you simply connect with someone who can show you the ropes.
The Internet has become a multi-purpose business tool that brings individual entrepreneurs together with entire common-interest communities to provide vast resources for business leads and clients, connections to partners, suppliers, product delivery systems, support networks and on-demand, quality training from successful professionals. Why go through the pains of starting a brick-and-mortar business, complete with overhead costs, employee headaches, etc.? You can find a way to turn your passion into a business – without searching for a job that ultimately may or may not do it for you – by using the power of the Internet and social media.
Don’t worry if you can’t identify a passion as the basis for your business. There are so many options out there. And you can let your entrepreneurial drive be your passion.
I’ve talked with so many people who have lost a job (unfortunately), and one of the most frequent comments I hear from them is that when you lose a job you also lose a ready-made social network. To prevent isolation from setting in, one of the ways people stay connected with the world and with each other is through the Internet. What I have discovered (and helped to create) is a network of committed entrepreneurs. Each of them knows that by helping him or herself they help each other.
Before the recession affects us any more than it already has, let savvy, rather than necessity, be the mother of invention. Let’s see how many small businesses that we, as entrepreneurs, can build, and how quickly we can climb out of this predicament.