The Economic Message of the Century: Bail Yourself Out
Yesterday, I posted an in depth analysis of how the Emergency (which really isn't an emergency) Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 is affecting "real" small businesses. After yesterday's failed vote on the Act, and after listening to President Bush speak a few minutes ago, the post is even more relevant today. Together, the Act, the vote and the President's morning message point inevitably to one conclusion: you can and should bail yourself out.
Neither you nor I can expect the federal government alone to protect and defend our economic interests. That's true now, just as it has always been. Each one of us must climb his or her own group of stairs, pause at the top and begin to fly under the power of our own economic potential. Here's why you are your own best bail out plan, and what you can do now to start soaring.
1. Don't Panic.
Wall Street is panicking. President Bush is panicking. Maybe even some of your friends and family members are panicking. Don't follow suit. If you have to retreat from the television pundits, debates and talking heads to keep your cool, then do that. Take a deep breath, call on your faith, assess your personal situation and potential and take reasoned, determined steps to move forward in your own life.
More than ever, this reasoned assessment must include starting a business of your own.
2. Start a Business Today.
In a segment on this morning's CNN program, the reporter cited a statistic that, between 1974 and 2007, the average income for American males declined 12%. No man, whether or not he has a family, can look at that statistic and bet his entire financial future on a traditional career path.
You have to have a business of your own.
I don't care if you start by selling old books out of your attic on ebay, and make a $2 profit. You have to start somewhere. Look around, there are tons of options. Farrah Gray started selling painted rocks to school friends when he was six years old. Today, he's a successful entrepreneur. And look at Oprah.
You can create your own brand of success, and you don't have to sell rocks. And you don't have to become mega-wealthy like Oprah to have more than enough financial resources to care for yourself and leave a legacy for your family. Why?
Because you have technology. If you don't have access to the Internet in your home, then your neighbor does, or your local library does. And yes, you may just have to take the bus there after you get off work. Remember, you are your own bail out plan. No one is going to do it for you. Use technology to use social media of all kinds to connect with others. You'll be amazed at the business opportunities that will come your way.
Want more options? Go down the street and offer to mow someone's lawn. Run errands for busy executives. Get a retail sales certificate from your state, buy some bagged potato chips from a wholesaler and sell them to executives downtown. These particular options may not be realistic options for you, but that's no reason not to examine your life and create some options that do work for you.
Think. Think about what is at your disposal. Think about friends and family members who will help and encourage you. And don't tell me you have no options. Farrah started with rocks, and no matter where you are, you can always find some of those.
3. Train Your Children to Be Entrepreneurs.
Part of responsible parenting today includes training your children to be entrepreneurs. Of course, we must also teach them to do well in school, graduate, go to college and get a job. But that's only the beginning. They have to know what to do if they lose that job, that is, if they are lucky enough to have one. Make it so that, when your child loses a job, she can come home, open up her laptop, check her shopping cart and make a plan to expand her own empire.
Does your tween have a cell phone of her own? A computer? A text messaging device? Make it a condition of continued use that she pay for it herself. If that doesn't encourage her to adopt an entrepreneurial spirit, nothing will. Believe me, she'll be selling homemade lip balm in no time.
Encourage your teen children to offer babysitting services more frequently and explain to them that the money goes in savings or to pay down any family household debt if that's an area of challenge for your family. The family that grinds together binds together. Train your children to use their skills, talents and areas of expertise to serve others in exchange for a fair sum of money. And then train them to be frugal with every penny so that, even if the financial world is collapsing, the adverse effects on them are minimal.
I'm not talking about becoming a loose canon here, and jumping at the first multi-level marketing opportunity you can find. I'm talking about investing your time and energy in something that you own. I'm talking about owning a brand of your own.
Every American simply must make it a point to have a stream of income that he or she controls. And we must wean ourselves off of using OPM to make ends meet. If we don't do that, we'll be at the mercy of the shifting sands of an world economy that is, frankly, not shifting in America's favor these days.
Regardless of whether a bailout law passes, the handwriting is on the wall. Don't panic. Start a business today. Teach your children to start businesses. This is the ultimate bail out plan, the one that you implement on your own terms. The one you control. The one you love. The one no one can take away from you.
What do you think?
I quit my very well paying job in a Fortune 500 company over a decade ago because working with large companies taught me that business ownership is the key to economic independence for all Americans. Thanks to technology, it's more accessible than ever. But you have to stop buying into the panic on CNN and everywhere else. We all know how bad it is.
Turn the television off and start bailing. I did it and let me tell you, my journey has been anything but a piece of cake. If I can do it, so can you. So, are you ready? I've got my bucket and I'm right here with you. Let's roll up our sleeves and start bailing together!
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