This is a guest article by author D. Alan Johnson. His latest book Secrets of Buying and Selling Used Equipment has just been published and is a must have for anyone contemplating starting up in business buying and selling large equipment, boats, and aircraft – Simon

Unemployment and underemployment are raging across the United States. People are clamoring for the Federal Government to “do something to create jobs.” But the government can’t create jobs, only people can.

Most people look for jobs with big companies so they can collect the big paychecks and enjoy a generous benefits package along with the security. But those jobs are going away. More and more companies are outsourcing work that used to be well paid internal positions.

In my profession, many if not most, corporations no longer keep pilots on the payroll. They would rather pay a daily fee to the pilot for flying their corporate jet. So, they fire their pilots, and then hire them for $500 to $900 per day. This sounds like a lot of money, but they save money by freeing the company from paying for health insurance, 401K, liability, and training costs. It also gets rid of some manager and accountant that kept track of those pilots.

This same process is happening with staff writers, maintenance, truck drivers, accountants, and IT managers. So now, these professionals are faced with joining a management company or becoming their own micro-business. Sadly many choose a third option: collecting long term unemployment.

We Americans have become passive risk avoiders. In our desire for security we have forgotten how humans live “in the wild.” On my visit to Yellowstone this fall, there were strict regulations against feeding the wildlife. Park rangers know that if the bison and bear get used to free food, they will have a hard time when the tourists leave.

Humans are no different. We need to constantly exercise those self-sufficiency muscles that were given us by our ancestors. Even though our long term goal may be a job with Mega Corp, Inc., we need to be out in the economy making our own way. This will better prepare us for that job, and it will pay the rent and the grocery bills until Mega Corp calls.

How does one get out in the economy? I say start your own Micro-Business.

I’ve had so many of my unemployed friends ask me, “What type of business should I start?” I don’t know what would work for you. But I do know that humans are inventive. Sometimes it takes a shortfall of cash to awaken that creative gene.

Unemployed accountants can do books for small businesses, unemployed writers can re-write company websites, salesmen can sell.

So don’t be afraid. Get out and start your own micro-business. Start a one person operation with little or no money invested. But you will have to invest lots of ingenuity and hard work.

An unemployed man came knocking on my door several years ago. He was dressed poorly, almost in rags. He told me that he was a recovering alcoholic and that he had just started a lawn mowing business. “I would like to mow your yard, sir. I charge $15.”

“Okay,” I said.

“Do you have a lawn mower?” he asked. I was stunned.

“You don’t have a mower?”

“No sir. I’ll need to borrow yours.” I laughed for a long time, pleased with this man’s audacity.

“Yeah, it’s in the back shed.” Well he mowed my lawn and did a good job. Then he asked if he could rent my mower for other jobs in the neighborhood. Each day, this guy went from door to door getting jobs, then came back to my house and pushed my mower to each different yard. He paid me five dollars per job.

In less than a month, the guy had paid me enough to buy myself a new mower, better than before. The man worked his way up to some nicer clothes and his own mower. I soon moved to another city and lost track of this man. But what a lesson he taught me!

If a recovering alcoholic dressed in rags and without a dime can start his own business, so can you. Use your imagination. Are you a good handyman? Do you know plumbing or wiring? Go out and sell your services. I’ve known ex-bankers who put together borrowers and lenders for a consulting fee. Others buy stuff at garage sales and sell it on e-bay.

I know one woman who was divorced and about to lose her home to foreclosure. For just a few dollars, she made a deal with a florist to buy all the flowers that were too old for him to sell retail. She arranged the flowers in small bouquets, and then went out and sold them on the street corner to men driving home from work.

“Take your wife some flowers. Surprise her tonight!” she would call out. In just a month she made enough to cover her back house payments. She had to stop for the winter, because it got too cold, but she says she’ll be back.

Stop at almost any warehouse and offer to clean up and sweep, and some owner will jump at your offer. If you are mechanically inclined, go to any operator of machinery and offer to clean his machines and do preventive maintenance.

You have to get out of your house and look for work. Stop being passive, thinking that sending out resumes will get you a job. Reach down deep and reawaken those instincts that help us survive in the “wild”.

D. Alan Johnson

Author of Secrets of Buying and Selling Used Equipment

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