"General Motors Co. next month will lay off 104 workers at its Flint Engine Plant as the company sends engine work for the Buick Encore to Korea." Detroit News, March 7, 2013
This may just seem like a headline in a newspaper to you, but imagine if you were one of those 104 people living in Flint, Michigan who happened to be reading the Detroit News that morning and knew your job was about to be outsourced? What thoughts would run through your head?
"How will we be able to afford this mortgage?"
"Are we going to have to move my wife and kids into my parents' home?"
"Is this layoff permanent or temporary?"
"My skills aren't of use any place else other than here in Flint...what the hell am I supposed to do... move?!"
This is a very real scenario for not just those living in Flint, Michigan, but in cities all across America people have had to face this new reality...a reality of a shrinking labor force. As in all recessions, low skilled manufacturing jobs begin to shrink in demand faster than any others as they are outsourced to other countries and/or diminished by technological advancement. I understand the patriotic sentiment to hire domestic workers, but when that patriotism comes at a 300% premium to labor which can be purchased overseas, the reality is many employers will choose to not be patriotic.
So as the demand for low skilled manufacturing jobs decreases, and the demand for high skilled jobs increases, what should an employee such as one of the 104 laid off in the Flint, Michigan plan to do? These workers who only possess the skills to work on an assembly line or perhaps have a skilled trade that is specific to manufacturing engines, just like workers laid off across the country, have only three choices they can pursue and those choices are the following:
1. Move - Find another area where their skills are in demand.
2. Pursue Education -Get additional education to acquire more skills that match those skills locally that are in demand.
3. Become an Entrepreneur - Start your own business to use the skills you have acquired to service the needs of your community.
Solution #3 - Become an Entrepreneur
This is by far my favorite solution. No matter how little money an individual has, as long as you have your mind you have the ability to generate ideas. As long as you can create an idea you can create business. Being a good entrepreneur doesn't totally depend upon money in your bank account. It depends solely upon your ability to know your passion and purpose, create a vision of where you want your purpose to lead you, collect the resources to make your vision come to fruition, and assembling/executing a plan of action to make it happen. Here are some basic steps to becoming an entrepreneur:
1. Knowing Your Passion/Purpose - The two most precious days of your life are the day you were born and the day you know why you were born. If you can determine your reason for being here you have determined your purpose. If you start a business based on your purpose you will have the motivation to continue to build that business despite the challenges because of your passion.
2. Creating A Vision - It has been said that "where there is no vision the people will perish". Once you have discovered what you are passionate about, you must now develop a very explicit vision for the future. That vision should include exactly where you want to be 5, 10 and 20 years from now.
3. Collecting Resources - There are many important resources which will be needed to acquire your vision for a new business. While the most important resources are time and money, many times people forget about people and knowledge. Here are some considerations to keep in mind as you prepare to start your business.
a. People - Write down the names of 10 people you can talk to who can assist you in creating your business. Set a timeline to reach out to them within the next 30 days and take them out for a cup of coffee (not Starbucks as you are on a budget and need to save your money). I know we have all become familiar with social media connections, but nothing works better than a face to face meeting.
b. Knowledge - Nothing is more critical than understanding all aspects of starting your business. Lucky for you there are many resources available to help get you started. When I started my financial planning company I went to Amazon.com and purchased books on "How to Start A Financial Planning Company." Many of the books on these sites can be purchased for as little as ONE CENT (plus shipping) so there is really no excuse for saying that you can't afford them (there is always the library if you really are strapped for cash). I suggest you purchase 5 books to read over the next two months that cover the following areas:
i. Two "How To" books that will help you create your business.
ii. One personal finance book that will give you the nuts and bolts to managing your money in hard times.
iii. One business finance book that will give you the nuts and bolts to running a business.
iv. One "self help" book that will motivate you to have a positive mindset as you go through the ups and downs of starting a business.
4. A Plan of Action - Now you must put the first three steps to action! When will you purchase the books that you need to research? When will you set up meetings with those people who can help you start your business? For each step mentioned above, establish a plan of action with dates and times when you will accomplish each task.
While there is no doubt that the government can do more to assist those who are confronted with poverty, we cannot wait upon the government to do something. There are no helpless people in America unless they decide for themselves they are helpless. If you are one of those who has lost a job you may have a hard road ahead but it isn't hopeless. Whether you choose to relocate, further your education, or start your business, the country needs an "all hands on deck" approach to this economic recovery; you need this approach to benefit yourself and your loved ones.
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