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Young Entrepeneurs Inventing Jobs

New college grads and young Americans finding no jobs—and making their own.

Participants in a Startup Weekend work in groups to create a new business on Saturday evening in New York, June 12, 2010. (AP /Elizabeth Fuller)

It’s been a hell of a time to be coming out of school, looking for work. Only one if four college grads this year who applied for a job had one lined up on graduation day.

A fierce economic bust has burned up a lot of first hopes. But youth is resilient – not to say desperate – and a determined stripe of young Americans are simply making their own jobs. They are cleaning gutters, writing software, baking cookies, starting companies.

The roll-your-own road to work is not easy, but with alternatives scarce, many are trying.

We speak with young Americans creating their own jobs.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests:

Scott Gerber, 27, founder and CEO of Gerber Enterprises.  His new company is “Sizzle It!” which makes short promotional videos. He’s also founder of the Young Entrepreneur Council. His new book is “Never Get a “Real” Job: How to Dump Your Boss, Build a Business & Never Go Broke.”

Morgan First, 27, founder of Motion Affair Planner (MAP) Boston, a local city guide and planner, of Second Glass, a wine events company that uses mobile and web technology to help people try new wines, remember what they’re drinking and share that info with friends.

Alicia Ambler, 27, launched her “Rosie’s Best” brand of organic baked goods on the online marketplace Etsy. It’s made and packaged in her home kitchen. Her blog is “Culinary Bliss.”

Corey Griffin, 21, is co-owner, with his father, of Basic Green Cleaning Services.

An excerpt from Scott Gerber’s “Never Get a ‘Real’ Job”:

“Scott, when are you going to get a real job?”

With those words, my mother had decided to bring up the question for what seemed like the millionth time—a question that had become the dreaded, bane-of-my-existence conversation starter, one that felt like root canal surgery without the Novocain every time I heard it. Even though I had fought hard to win this discussion countless times before, she simply wouldn’t let the topic die.

Being one year out of an expensive university without a “real” job to show for it gave my steady-paycheck, benefits-loving, schoolteacher mother heart palpitations. Granted, I wasn’t making much money at the time—but I certainly wasn’t living on the streets begging for change, either. My start-up company was generating a modest income—comparable to most entry-level positions—and was enabling me to feed myself, pay my rent, and socialize like any other normal twenty-something-year-old. And although I was busting my ass, hustling my way into pitch meetings with Fortune 500 companies, every time I heard my name in the same sentence with the phrase “real” job—which, according to my mother, meant one with a specific title in which I worked for someone else—well, it was almost as if none of my hard work mattered.

Fear of deviation from the straight-arrow path drove my mother to constantly ask this question of me. And the only way she could calm her fears was to try to scare the hell out of me and to point out why my life choices were unequivocally flawed.

“One day you’re going to have a family. How are you going to support them? You’ll want a nice house. You’ll have to pay a mortgage,” she cautioned frequently.

The tone of this discussion changed regularly, usually shifting between loud and louder. However, the main points were always consistent:

“What are you doing with your life?”

“Why did I send you to college?”

“How do you plan to make a living?”

Frustrated and standing my ground, we’d begin the big debate.

“I know what I’m doing,” I would reply. “Just because I don’t work 9-to-5 like you doesn’t mean I’m not making a living.”

She’d respond with an apples-to-oranges comparison. “Your friends are all moving forward in their lives. They all have good jobs and are building their careers. I don’t understand why you can’t do the same.”

I’d throw in some sharp-tongued sarcastic comment criticizing her values.

“You taught me to be a leader, not a follower. Didn’t you? Or was that only meant to be applied to every other aspect of my life?”

My mother would inevitably try to end the debate with an existential-sounding proverb of her own design meant to illuminate my foolish train of thought.

“You don’t want to wake up one day and see that life has passed you by, do you?”

But it never ended there.

This argument was a test of wills; it could go on for five minutes, or five hours. But after all of the pointless back-and-forth banter and skyrocketing blood pressure, the exchange only resulted in a stalemate—and fueled similar debates later.

There is a good reason that becoming an entrepreneur feels so natural to so many of us. Whether they realize it or not—and as I pointed out to my mother during these trying discussions—our parents and our teachers encouraged us to be that way. Years of lauding and back-patting ingrained in us the notion that we could conquer the world. Ironically, what our mentors neglected to teach us was how to actually live that lifestyle. And the thought of us not getting a job terrifies them. Why? Because our parents learned from our grandparents that a job—preferably a “safe” one, with benefits and a pension—was necessary for survival.

But while our parents and teachers may have felt comforted by this security, rarely was it what they actually wanted from their careers. Naturally, they wanted us to pursue our dreams at all costs—sometimes even to the point of risking poverty to put us through college. The problem is that they didn’t know truly how to help us get there; and if they didn’t know how to survive as entrepreneurs themselves, then how could they teach us to avoid getting a “real” job? They couldn’t; so we didn’t learn. And our education system doesn’t fill in that gap. In fact, it’s meant to teach us to be employees. So when we graduate, we’re made to believe that our choices are to get a “real” job—or to hit the highway.

Rather than chalk my mother’s encouragement up as another bedtime story, I chose the highway—and set out to learn the practical skills and tricks necessary to become what she dreamed I would be. These are the lessons I will now teach you.

Who needs the 9-to-5?
T
he mere thought of living the conventional 9-to-5 life plan—creating wealth for “The Man” instead of for myself—made me want to reach simultaneously for a bottle of Xanax and vodka. Cubicle farms, incompetent bosses, strict dress codes, and inane corporate acronyms crammed into a potentially 50- to 60-hour workweek that was out of my control—in exchange for a paycheck that barely covered expenses—it all sounded like torture. And it wasn’t for me. So I simply made up my mind that I was never going to get a “real” job. I’d find a way to make it on my own and create a life of my own design.

I just needed to figure out how the hell to do that.

I took a trip to the local bookstore during my sophomore year of college to find some material written by entrepreneurial peers who could offer me practical insights. After hours upon hours of reading book jackets and tables of contents, the sheer volume of redundant business-plan books and mundane start-up how-to guides overwhelmed me. There were countless books promising quick fixes and instant millions. There were dense dissertations packed with MBA jargon from hoity-toity academic theorists; more than a fair share of war story autobiographies from famous rock star entrepreneurs; and boatloads of overly glamorized soft covers that made entrepreneurship sound as if readers were guaranteed success if they just “set their minds to it.”

There wasn’t, however, a single, practical book written by a twenty-something-year-old with whom I could identify. Not one book in the entire store by a down-to-earth, Generation Y business owner who had turned the nothing they started with into something they wanted.

I didn’t want to learn to incorporate a business or write a business plan; this was hardly insider information, and could be found almost anywhere online anyway. I wanted solid, real-life advice from a peer who understood where I was and what I needed to do to build a business—not just a theoretical plan on paper. With the hope that my assumptions were wrong—and the feeling that I had to buy something to get myself on track—I purchased a few titles.

Sadly, I wasn’t wrong. And I ended up $75.65 poorer as a result.

Most of the books I bought were repetitive and wholly unrealistic for aspiring entrepreneurs. I began to wonder if any of these so-called business experts had ever even met a college student, recent grad, or young person looking to start his or her own business before. Ask friends and family for start-up capital? The author might as well have said, “Good luck, but if daddy doesn’t have deep pockets, don’t even bother. Get a ‘real’ job, punk.” Apply for bank loans and credit lines to gain access to operating capital? Sure, because so many of us have outstanding credit and have already paid off all of our debts and student loans. Yeah, right.

I might not have had a pot to piss in, but I sure as hell wasn’t about to quit because some blowhard authors had penned one-size-fits-all approaches to starting a business in exchange for an advance check from a publisher and an expert credential to headline their blogs.

No matter. Nothing was going to stop me from fulfilling the promise I had made to myself—not even being clueless about how to start a business.

With barely a dollar to my name and no resources to guide me, I did what I thought any half-cocked, passionate, ambitious, impulse-driven know-it-all would do: I got started and figured it out for myself. Crazy? Perhaps. But in the end, my decision and subsequent hard work paid off tenfold. Sure, there were nights I went hungry and days I nearly starved. But as the months and years passed, I found ways to feed myself quite well—all without a suitable guidebook. Fortunately, you won’t have to face the same situation; it’s a problem I’ve now remedied for you with Never Get a “Real” Job.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • http://www.etsy.com/shop/ummzak Nakia

    I had to drop out of college because I ran out of cash. But between my writing and my body products business on Etsy, I’m making more than if I had gotten some miserable retail or food service job.

  • Pancake Rankin

    Contractors always undercut stable employment with benefits. I do not blame “new grads” (not exactly the profile you present) being entrepreneurial but we have to realize that as long as we go “free market” (never happened) that any time one person gets a position one or more others will be displaced. New kinds of peanut butter and windex do not expand the market. Jim Wright (just before he was forced out of Congress in the 80s)warned Reagan, “You can’t have an economy by washing eachother’s car and delivering pizza to eachother.” And that is geometrically true of Internet marketing, especially publishing. If anything makes financial bubbles it is fetishized commerce. Velocity (properly, alacrity) alone will not employ people, and frivolous activities never fulfill real material human needs. Young entrepreneurs , through no fault of their own, are wasting energy (the exhaustible kind, and their own) and materials in an effort to solve their individual problems. The institutions of our society are dysfunctional if they cannot reduce the chaotic accelerating exploitation rampant today and use our contributions to meet general needs. The pointless schooling discussed yesterday and Bank of America’s offshore tax and utiliy lien factories are both excellent bad examples. These unemployed youths have watched the Facebook (promotional) movie one time too many. Zuckerburg is a privileged character with elite connections like Bill Gates. (I inherited 10 million from my grandpa. Why can’t you do that?) That idiot in Florida shooting at the school board was correct that we live in a rigged game. Like 1990s Soviet Russia it is now imploding. No one is going to sell their gold jewelry to buy your homemade organic egg rolls. (I’m not anyway.)

  • cory

    Some of us (myself included) do not have the talent or desire to be entrepeneurs. Is there a place for us in a free market world other than standing in line at a soup kitchen?

    Leftfield, Wisconsin

  • nick from Mass

    I don’t know….

    This sounds more like an excuse for no jobs available.

    “Look Mom! We don’t need jobs, we can create them myself!”

    The system is now rigged where no matter what you – by yourself or for an employer – that only the upper levels benefits.

    We have become a nation of serfs and princes.

  • http://rekording.blogspot.com Bob E. Kelly

    Rindge, NH

    As a person who gave up work I loved in favor of regular paychecks, I encourage the young to find work about which they are passionate. Although the old paradigm worked out for me, the kind of job that tempted me away from passion does not seem to exist anymore, the good, steady job with a living wage, great benefits and a retirement package.

    Find work you love and you will never work. You will make love to every working day, and your products will reflect your joy.

  • http://www.markpatterson.ca Mark Patterson – Canton Melbourne Quebec

    I agree however that winging it yourself is not for everyone – being a free agent makes it nearly impossible to budget anything, you’ll be busy one month and drifting (and worried) the next.

    But in the end you’ll be the master of your time and your career.

    Keep your relationships with all clients current and on good terms – one day one of them may hire you full-time – if you want it, and if they dare.

  • Sam Wilson

    Just wondering, how these young and bright potential entrepreneurs are going to get the investment tools they need, especially when no major banks are willing to take that risk.

    At the same time, now the option to fail and succeed is very risky, very very risky.

    Will be looking forward for this show.

    Sam Wilson
    Boston, MA

  • Gary C, Tyngsboro, MA

    Got laid off in 03 during the tech implosion here in MA, started my own small business producing small custom parts for the vintage car market and have never looked back, business grows 150% per year, so now freed from the cubicle forever!!!

    The traditional educational path towards a career path is now a thing of the past. For those parents looking to spend $25K+ a year for their kids to go to college full time, for jobs that aren’t either going to be there, or will force a major geographical move, its time to invest maybe 2-3 years of tuition instead into a small business for your kid to get into now, and build, it will have a far far better ROI than most post college jobs. So unless your kid is genius, its time to rethink where you put your money!

  • Jim from Kirby, VT

    Eliminate the excessive Defense budget and invest in America.

    I want to start a business that will hire employees with well paying jobs, but I can’t because we have not invested in our infrastructure.

    You have broadband, but I do not. My prospective business is web based, but I need telecommunications capacity. I cannot even listen to the Red Sox on the radio. Do it – cut the partisan pork.

  • Kristine

    I know lots of people of all ages who would like to start their own businesses but can’t because of the price of HEALTH CARE COSTS!!

    Everyone I know has to have at least a part time job to pay for health care.

    How can we ever be an entrepreneurial country until we get health care costs under control?

    Kristine Jelstrup
    Cambridge

  • http://www.anythinganywhere.com Bob Reis

    im a small entrepreneur almost 40 years. what the kids are up against now is an advanced stage of resource theft by what we call now the “super rich.” it is great to make one’s own path in life, if one sticks with it one can survive. but to ignore the class warfare of the rich against not the poor but the merely not-rich: the attempt by “the few” to abandon “the many” to their fates is the real problem facing the new crop of ordinary people. they expect most of us to die prematurely in a resource squeezed world. youth of the world unite! you have already lost most of what there is to lose!

  • http://www.ritterbin.com Mike Ritter

    I’m 30 and a professional photographer in Boston. I lost my job in 2005 and it turned out to be the kick I needed. I was a novice photographer shooting occasional events at night and weekends. Without a job and with the buffer of unemployment, I started shooting full time and and it’s been nearly 6 years now.

    My work has taken me to Peru, Guatemala, New Orleans, and Europe along with all over Boston. It’s truly gratifying work.

    Before the whole recession, I could feel like at times all the work necessary to running a business could be overwhelming. But, watching what has been happening for the last two years, I’ve learned to reap the benefits of working for myself and dealing with the uncertainties / frustrations in more mature ways. I can never lose this job! This year has been my best by far, and I look forward to growing my business along with my relationships around Boston and beyond.

  • Travis Tarpy

    Tom,
    I’m listening in while packing up my eBay products for shipment.
    Been at the eBay gig since starting college…graduating in May and don’t plan on walking away from this revenue stream.
    Great show.

  • Jim

    Financing is key. An adult can tap an equity line, but a kid coming out of school with loads of debt has no choice but work for the man…

  • Michelle George

    Central to the conversation is the fact that many in Gen Y have watched their parents in the baby boom generation find their personal identity in and give their lives to a company only to have their investment and good faith betrayed in some way. This may help explain the desire among Gen Y to own a business, have flexible work hours, or do something that has a higher purpose.

  • Ed Harrow

    This problem exists for the older among us. I started out on my own at 55 when my employer of 18 years cut nearly 25% of the company (including me, obviously) in 2002. Despite finding positions identical to mine in everything but technology, I couldn’t even get a response…

    I’ve been doing business as the Whitehall Learning Group, providing technical, hands-on, after-school and summer enrichment programs for kids. My programs include courses with a variety of robots, trebuchet, carpentry, flight, physics, etc. My customers are local Park and Rec Depts, Comm Ed, the Y, and home schoolers.

    I’m from Hopkinton.

  • Rich

    Tom’s guests are 100% right.

    Investing in Entrepreneurship is one of the most important things that the Obama administration can do.

    This country should be building business incubators in every community in America. With test kitchens and pro-typing facilities.

    Our 19th century education system should be completely revamped to teach entrepreneurship instead of how to be a good assembly line bolt turner (those jobs will be taken by the Chinese and robots) and obedient cubical drones.

    Anyone who has burning desire to be a wage slave is consigning themselves to 2nd class citizenship.

  • liz robson

    I dropped out of college in 2002, temped for a couple years to figure out what I wanted to do and ended up dog walking as a favor to a friend. 6 years later, I am self employed and very successful! I think the key is my commitment to my clients. You have to do more than is asked to be appreciated, people want more for their money these days!

  • http://cyberfumes.blogspot.com Dave Eger

    There is so much work to be done, and anyone who looks can see it. The problem is that the bankers who currently control the financing never look, because they’re too busy sitting in comfy chairs, drinking fancy scotch, thinking about how to spend their bonuses. I think it’s good that the world is falling apart, because it puts a fire under everyone’s feet to start looking for more effective things to do with their time, and also gives reason to be a little more skeptical of those who claim to have the answer.

  • Samuel Johnson

    I live near Harrisonburg, Virginia, and listen to WMRA.

    I helped start a farmers’ market in my locality 30 years ago. Since then, I have been self employed, raising and selling farm and garden products to sell at the farmers’ market and other venues, as well as doing some building construction for income. Such production does not necessarily need a lot of land.

    The market is now 30 years old and has recently expanded dramatically with products from entrepeneurs of all ages, selling things they have produced: baked goods, home-cooked and canned foods, art and craft products, etc. This includes a significant number of YOUNG producers!

    One of my former long-term young employees has moved to San Francisco after graduation from college. She has made her living nannying as well as starting her own food blog (using her rural and on-farm skills) called “paprikahead” and that has expanded recently into co-authoring a food/cook book (title “The Lost Art of Real Cooking”). The book is getting a lot of press and book sales are increasing. She is another example of a person using their interests, skills and life experience to create her own livlihood!

    Every person who does this is meeting their own need for livlihood and is one less person crowding the field looking for a job!

  • Delia Windwalker

    The drawbacks of being an entrepreneur begin with the lack of benefits. You only have income when you can get work and get paid… However having done my own thing in Landscape Gardening I am a huge advocate of making life work evolve from personal passions.

    Stonyfield Entrepreneurial Institute held every spring in New Hampshire is a very interesting venue for exploring this topic.

    Doing your own thing is NOT supported by our soc-economic system, especially the healthcare scene. HOWEVER, entrepreneurial self-employment can be the only way to manage family commitments, and make a living if you are stuck in a geographic area (with an underwater mortgage).

    Creativity is everywhere, funding is abysmally difficult to find!

    Wouldn’t this be a great way to invest in the future of our country… help on how to get the seed money, have benefits…

  • http://cyberfumes.blogspot.com Dave Eger

    Resumes are stupid.

  • Gary C, Tyngsboro, MA

    This is going to be an interesting program in some ways, but misleading in others.

    As folks consider alternative work, the reality check is:

    - The lifestyle change and “what it takes” to pay the bills seldoms squares with cashflow for perhaps several years.

    - There is no health care plan anywhere near affordable enough for alternative work

    - Very few young people understand how much they will need to SAVE to maybe retire someday. Its when you are young that money needs to be saved so in theory the power of compounding interest is at your side. If you try to start saving in your 40′s its too late!!

    My path to self employment was different, I established myself financially first, and planned to be culled as I approached the age of 40, which is something that is a fact of life now, if you have a career now, there is at least a 50% chance there will be a target on your back once you are over 40.

    Its nice folks can start a business, but 95% of these alternative “jobs” and businesses will almost never amount to anything more than a hobby that comes and goes. In order to achieve “success”, to pay yourself, you have a healthcare plan, to save enough for future retirement, to own a house, etc any small business has to be able to scale WAY up!!!! Young people seldom have the know-how, experience, financing, and the Type A personality guts to do what it takes to scale up.

    So, fun program, but mostly fantasy-land for most.

  • Samuel Johnson

    Entrepeneurship is not easy and may not earn a lot of money BUT IT IS BETTER THAN NO JOB AND YOU CAN PUT THAT BUSINESS YOU CREATED ON YOUR RESUME, RATHER THAN TRYING TO EXPLAIN WHY YOU HAVEN’T HAD A JOB FOR TWO YEARS!

  • Carlos

    DO IT WHILE YOUR YOUNG. It takes 5 yrs to make money (that is why most start up fails before that), 10 years to get somewhat stable. You need that 10 year buffer for the bumps in the road and to make all the mistakes that are unavoidable! Youth is key! (plus it doesn’t hurt to be nieve – taking that first step is the HARDEST PART OF STARTING!)

  • http://www.seasonsdesigngroup.com Bailey

    I’m 15 years in to my graphic design firm with no college education. I’m successful because of my big time competition, it forces me to treat people right and do a great job, all the time. I think entrepreneurship will force industry to do the best businesses can and charge fair prices again.

  • http://www.sportsmogul.com Clay Dreslough

    I’m 39. But I was a young entrepreneur 15 years ago.

    It’s taken 15 years to build my small computer game company to the point where I’m earning more than I did working for someone else.

    The hardest part isn’t building the product or the customer base. The hardest part is avoiding fines and staying out of jail. The U.S. tax system is not designed for small businesses. Payroll, worker’s comp, sales tax, etc. — it’s all EXTREMELY complicated.

    So, advice to young entrepreneurs:

    1) Hire a great accountant.

    2) Assume you will be spending 1/3 of your time (and each employee’s time) on paperwork.

    So, if you think your company needs 10 people to do what you want to do, you’ll actually need 15 to deal with all the red tape.

    Good luck!

  • John

    Isn’t there some title inflation? When did every small business owner become a CEO? Any junior executive officers under them?

  • Anthony

    Tom-
    This show should make the point I’ve been trying to make for everyone listening, and that is:

    Why in the world wouldn’t Obama, Emmanual, et al, have made the argument loud and clear while pushing for single payer health care: this country is brimming with entrepreneurial energy, it was built on this energy, and would reemerge strongly in the global economy and become again the leader in innovation if all those who desire to be in business for themselves didn’t have to fear the loss or unafordabiltity of health care? When I mention this to certain people, a light goes off in their head…where is the “positioning” skills of our public leaders? If you can make “death panels” stick, you should certainly be able to convince people that good public policy could set them free in their professional lives!

  • Carlos

    PS on year 12 of a $2mil/yr low tech business started out of my garage while employed FT in high tech.

  • http://a1clarinet.com Barry Binger

    Hi Tom,
    I’m not a recent colledge graduate. I’m 60 years old and have been selling clarinet/saxophone repair kits with instructions on eBay for 4 years. I recently started a website, a1clarinet.com. Parts are fairly cheap and labor is expensive – many music stores are unwilling to sell the parts that I sell cheaply. I’ve found my niche and making a living. I hope not to ever look for work again – it is very demeaning.
    Barry Binger

  • http://www.etsy.com/shop/storytellerjewelry Raelinda Woad

    Hey guys,
    I’ve run my own business for 20 years, making a living by making 1″ high books that have my own stories folded inside or (even better) the word ‘peace’ printed in many languages.
    I do sustain myself at this but there are many pro’s and con’s. Here are the main two:
    Pros: I’m my own boss.
    Cons: I’m the meanest boss in the world! I never give me a day off.

    Raelinda from Somerville
    PS: I’ll be showing my creations at the Harvard Square Holiday Fair this weekend in the basement of Zero Church st.

  • Spencer

    I’m 22 and graduating school this semester and I’ve seen so many friends leave school and not find work, beyond the local Target, or Barnes and Noble. Everyone I know has been panicking about finding work and questioning “what are you doing when you’re done with school?” and most people don’t have a response.

    I’m not going to wait for the economy to turn around and for an HR rep to hire me.

    I decided that I didn’t want to work for “The Man”, I wanted to be “The Man” and start a business that would help the area where I live (a food distribution service for farms and families) and after working in a farmer’s market, I fell in love with organics and feel a social and moral responsibility to help others eat well and make it readily accessible for all.

    I have no business experience, but, I’m ready to take on the world. And if I fail, I just work a day job like everyone else. There’s not much to lose.

  • John

    Green janitorial services, organic granola, wine websites, etc. are not enough to support a strong economy with jobs for most of the population.

  • http://www.MJOrganizers.com Jameel Webb-Davis

    With all the new small business owners, many of them have horrible bookkeeping and financial organizational skills. Basic stuff – tracking their income and expenses, filing tax forms, balancing their checking accounts – was not happening.

    I started a business four years ago helping small business owners organize their finances and do bookkeeping. However, a lot of clients are too embarrassed to ask for service. Many don’t like to pay a lot for it, and I spend a lot of time driving all over to work 4-8 hours a month per office for various clients.

    It’s tough, however, there’s a huge need.

    MJOrganizers.com

  • Ally

    I applaud the courage of these creative professionals, and as a young professional myself I wonder what kind of money does it take to get these things going. Also,
    I personally experienced a health issue 3 years ago that would’ve bankrupt me had I not had insurance. I can’t go without insurance for my prescriptions even now. It seems that those speaking on air are taking the lack of health insurance in stride, which works until something happens.

    Small business is important to our country, but without an option for insurance the gamble is larger than just financial. Is it possible that a small business health insurance co-op could be formed, where groups can pull together to obtain affordable insurance? Following ones dreams should not cost one’s potential health. It is a shame that Washington doesn’t do more for small businesses that need health insurance.

  • Jordan Davies

    Computer game programming is very useful for the young professional. My 17 year old son has a game business online and has about 10 employees. He is a senior in high school. He is a professional high level programmer.

  • Jordan Davies

    from Huntington Vermont, regarding my son’s game website, see above

  • Barry

    Whatever there is of wisdom here is in regard to the question Thoreau asked about what one really requires to live. But I hear this more as a capitulation to a failed economic system, and think the powers must be very happy with this capitulation. It puts the worker in a place of constant uncertainty and struggle and ever available for exploitation. It’s a steady march to the bottom for the worker, and no one is going to tell me that people scrambling in these ways are going to secure more time for themselves.

  • Camille Diaz

    My husband has been self-employed for five years. He has been successful enough that this year I left my job to join him at his. While the freedom is wonderful there are some major downfalls to running your own business. The taxes have almost buried us. This is the first year we are on top of them. Debt can also build up very quickly when starting and it take a long time to get out from underneath even a small amount of debt when you run your own business. Health care is very expensive particularly if you have children. We’re in our early 30s and we have not been able to save for retirement at all. I agree that we all need to find our own way and I think starting your own business is a great idea. However, I caution anyone planning to do it and suggest talking to some veteran business owners first.

    Broken Arrow, OK

  • http://cyberfumes.blogspot.com Dave Eger

    I think what we need is a cottage industrial complex.

  • Tom

    Who says that English majors no longer have a place in the job market?

    At the other end of the age spectrum and technically unemployable, a former castaway of AIG, after taking stock it was clear that the basic skills I learned in high school and college were those easiest to monetize. In sum after trying to fit with difficulty my profile to the marketplace, I created a job specifically tailored to my own idiosyncratic background.

    And so after trial and error, I have developed a long-term sustainable business working out of an office in my garden in the south of France servicing customers in Paris through a broadband connection as in financial writing and translating and investor relations. And contrary to what might be expected, operating in some ways as an online guerrilla warrior providing a high level of “customer care and hand holding”, I have been able to expand during the downturn, regularly picking up business and large customers from well-established and large companies. The only drawback is I no longer have anyone else to delegate work to even though ultimately making more money than when in the corporate world.

  • peter goldsmith

    Tom,

    I’ve been in business for myself since 1975. I’ve seen em come and i’ve seen some stay and some fail. No one has mentioned that some people are just not cut out for entepreneurship…. the stresses, the insecurity, the contract negotiations, the staffing, the accounting, all the pieces that are needed to make it work. It’s not just another kind of job. Some people should be in a job….like all the people I’m hiring.

  • http://cyberfumes.blogspot.com Dave Eger

    The System is so big and slow, it’s stacked against itself. The good news is it leaves plenty of room for new systems.

  • Barry

    Right on Bob. You nailed it.

  • David Lennon

    (From Franklin, MA)

    How do your guests feel about current tax policy? Is it good that the Bush tax cuts were extended? Will these new small business be hurt by increasing taxes on those making $1 million plus to reduce the deficit and pay for needed services?

  • David Henry

    All the guests are obviously high achievers. What about the people who don’t have the skills coming out of high school to do there own accounting? I do have a lot of faith in entreprenuers to come up with the new companies of the future, but I think these young people do need to worry about the politics Bob describes.

  • http://www.thebakeryatthefarmhousekitchen.com Emily Conn

    I work for myself! I am living my dream. I have a state certified home bakery. I bake one cake over 20 different flavors, depending on the season. The cake is based on The Original Almond Buttercrunch Cake. I use as many local ingredients including VT Cranberries, Vt Apples, Vt Honey, VT Eggs, VT Milk, VT Maple Syrup.

    I have been in business for 3 years now and it has been growing steadily each year. My husband is my 2nd pair of hands and now Head Baker!!

    I am building this business one cake at a time and just launched my website:
    http://www.thebakeryatthefarmhousekitchen.com

    The Bakery At The Farmhouse Kitchen – Burlington, VT
    “Home Of The Original Almond Buttercrunch Cake”

  • http://naftali.etsy.com janice

    I’m a baby boomer stay at home mom who has also started her own business 7 years ago. I don’t have the health care coverage issue as my husband has coverage. There’s a LOT of us crafters who are making a business on-line. I currently have three websites, a blog, I facebook, twitter, etc. I wouldn’t want to do it any other way!

  • Larry

    Yes, Bob did.

    Poor youth. Think that not worrying about politics will mean they can control their own lives.

    Sorry. First lesson you need to learn in life (many only learn it after decades) is that the corruption of our government determines the world you live in.

  • http://www.helpinghandsvetva.com Lori Pasternak, DVM

    Dr. Lori Pasternak is saving pet’s lives and shifting the paradigm of thinking about how to do business. Helping Hands is an affordable alternative for surgical and dental care for pets. Many pets are euthanized daily simply because people cannot afford the prohibitive high costs of surgical care for their pets. In Richmond, VA, people no longer have to choose between paying thier mortgage and saving their pet’s life. The prices are set low and are all inclusive (No estimates needed). Every price ends in five, so that $5 from every procedure goes into a “Good Citizen” account set up for those who cannot afford the already low prices. People who receive funding from this account are asked to repay it in volunteer time (One hour for every $10 received) to Helping Hands or any animal rescue group. Dr. Pasternak loves animals, loves surgery, and loves helping people get the care their much loved pets deserve. She has had lots of local media attention, won a local prestigious award for creativity in business and has recently been named one of Richmond’s Top 40 Under 40. Since opening Helping Hands, Dr. Pasternak has helped over 600 pets who would have been otherwise been euthanized, suffered, or gone without care. She is doing amazing things for Richmond and surrounding areas, as people have started traveling to have their pet cared for at her hospital from all over VA, Washington DC, NC, and SC, and more. Please visit her web site for more info http://www.helpinghandsvetva.com and see her following on Facebook where she shares educational photos and comments with her fans and clients. Lori needs your help, not financially, but in spreading the word of her mission. Each day someone in her region doesn’t know about her hospital, another pet is euthanized simply due to prohibitive high cost. Help stop this by helping spread the word of Helping Hands. And help teach people, that by using their talents to help others, makes this world a better place. Thank you kindly.

  • arthur

    There is a wealth of experienced 40-70 year olds who are available for the newbies to partner with, and who can bring there experience to balance the enthusiasm and energy of youth. These can make great partners for the entrepreneurial-inspired younger peop;e you are talking to–an example is the green-clean fellow who is partnered with his father.

  • http://www.parrottdesignstudio.com Sarah

    A topic near and dear to my heart. I live in Providence, RI, and I had a full-time non-profit job for 5 years that I got right out of college (I graduated in 2005 with a marketing degree). While I was working there I started my own design and letterpress studio (mostly working on wedding invitations) and worked at night and during the weekends. I used my income from my day job to help me start my studio, buy supplies and equipment over a three-year period. After working both jobs for those three years, I started making more money at my design studio, so I took the leap and quit my day job. I think there is no time like now to seize the opportunity to follow your dreams if you have the passion (and discipline) to be an entrepreneur! It is important for young entrepreneurs to reach out to others who are doing the same as you are so you may support each other, whether it is in your local community or online. I realize I am very fortunate to have a supportive husband and family, as well as a group of like-minded entrepreneurs. With regard to health insurance, which is a hot topic here, I am extremely fortunate that my husband has health insurance, however before I was married, I did go with out insurance after I quit my day job. I also think it is important to remember, I am not looking to make a million dollars, I want to pay my mortgage and to meet my basic needs and live a happy, fulfilling life doing what I love. And I am!

  • http://www.sportsmogul.com Clay Dreslough

    You can’t end this show without reminding young people to pay ALL of their taxes. I’m scared to death that the one-person painting company will end up with a tax bill of $50,000 in a couple years — a debt that can’t be discharged in bankruptcy. He’ll be left with a lifetime of debt, or a jail cell. Please, everyone, be careful!

  • http://www.conneticdance.com Carolyn Paine

    I have a different take on all this in some ways. I have been a profressional dancer (and actress) since graduating from college. I performed with choreographers in NYC and danced with various companies. But I found myself feeling unfilled artistically so in my mid-twenties I started CONNetic Dance, a contemporary ballet company in Hartford, CT. It was a big risk. Funding an arts organization can be near impossible. And unlike starting a business, you don’t have a product that you are sure to make money off of. And creating the works, finding dancers, and finding places to perform all are continual costs with not a lot of return. But despite all the struggles, I have managed to keep the company growing for it’s first couple of years. We have great, talented dancers who I love working with. And I love that I am giving all of them an unique forum to be part of the creative process and share their ideas, passion, and choreography in a collaborative way that many companies don’t encourage. We are about to open our first Nutcracker show this weekend-The Nutcracker Suite and Spicy at The Aetna Theatre at The Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford. Our production will hold true to the ideas that I started the company on-taking risks and pushing the envelope on ballet and dance. The Suite and Spicy show features a sense of humor and style that is appealing to the 20-something age group we in the company are all in-with an ugly Christmas sweater party scene, rock versions of Tchaikovsky’s score, and sexy pas de deuxs.
    It is never easy to step out of the box and do your own thing, but I wasn’t happy trying to fit in and just be a dancer. I wanted to make my own statement and do things my way. I think when you are younger, it is a great time to take those risks and go out on your own and start your own company or business. You have energy, you have youthful exuberance that over-powers fear, and most importantly-your ideas are fresh, untainted, and more inspired in whatever field they are in. I would not change what I have done starting CONNetic. And I am excited for this weekend’s Nutcracker performance as a wonderful moment of growth and accomplishment for our company and myself.

  • Barry

    “We can’t worry about politics”!!!!! As my friend says, you may not be interested in politics, but politics is interested in you! Good luck.

  • http://n/a cwin

    I would like to start a video/theater websight/channnel in the boston ariea. can offer large studio space and all the imagenation and comitment along with video cam and apple notbook you must have some skills and equipment to. looking for like minded creative deadicated people.
    cwintherapy@yahoo.com

  • http://corrystudio.com Kamille

    I’m an artist in Salt Lake. I have a small number of students who study with me. Some of them are on the fence about whether they should get a degree/job to fall back on, instead of committing to being an artist.

    Even though I have struggled financially for the last 20 years, this is what I say to them:

    I have more job security now, than a lot of people I know,
    who have been working for someone else. No one can fire me. No one can stop me from producing work. No on can tell me that I can’t get creative and develop a workshop if I need some income. No one can dictate how many students I can take on. And the best thing — there is no cap on how much $ I can make. I could triple my income next year.

    It’s not easy by any means – but I am in charge, and I love what I do. Wouldn’t trade it for a cushy corp. job.

  • http://cyberfumes.blogspot.com Dave Eger

    Larry, the thing is, the youth doesn’t care about politics or the corruption in it at all. The state used to punish people by banishing them from society. It has now come to the point that society is banishing the state, because the dissenters make more sense than the authority does.

  • L Armond

    Save Self as follows:Don’t Suffer Side Effect(Save on medical side effects as follows: For flue (ague) root vegetables – onions, potatoes; For Sinus Drainage: Goldenseal changes viscosity of sputum, if sinus drain at night causing caugh, get up take Goldenseal, sit up ½ hour and then go back to sleep. Will not wake up with sore throat, and sequelae. Irigois Caugh medicine for croop – Chop bag of onions, put in ricer or other squeeze mechanism to get juice. Recipe as follows: Half Pint Onion Juice, Quarter Pint (Or more?) Gin (half and half,really) Maybe some lemon and some honey if you have. Large jigger down at once, cough once and get on with your life) Learn to brace yourself and go barefoot and have smart feet.
    GO TO UNIVERSITY IN A CITY; Save all car expenses, insurance, upkeep, etc., rent when needed Major moola for education
    CIGARETTES: Pack a day is more than month of auto ins at certain prices, certain cities. They won’t do ads with this infor, at least in Virginia, that lives off cigarette taxes and doesn’t give free patches thru health dept like other states.
    THEY LIVE OFF THE GENERAL FUND. Not to be trusted.
    HAND WASH, Conc. French Laundry Powder, Plunger to push around, and rise, Extra shower rod over center of tub to hang laundry. Look for Italian impletments at Big Lots.

    Also, 50 ft of line in car, leather glove, sheets in plastic bag can give to someone at roadside and someone stronger than you. Remember the Potomac/14th St. Bridge Crash. OVERSIGHT needs for deicing on wings. Good Luck. FEATHER not Dot, but Dot just as good.

  • Elliott

    I worked as an artist raising a family and made much less than I do now, and had many stresses. I thought the grass was greener in a more stable job making twice as much with healthcare. Now, instead, I have more stress, and more debt. When I worked for myself, not knowing when or where I would get paid, I actually had more time and money making half as much. I was much better at using my funds, not taking on any debt (our biggest problem today), and I lived simpler. When you have a steady income, you think it is OK to have a steady payment for various things, it isn’t. Had I stayed an artist going in the direction I was going, I would probably be better off now, since I was better off due to the way I thought about things then. I’ve heard this from other artists as well.

  • Lynne

    I am 45 yrs old and lost my job back in June 2010. I want to not only start a business (I have a great idea) but I want to help keep other local, small businesses going. I am very careful where I spend my money and I try not to give my money to large corporations, yes, not all corporations are bad, but I think it’s time to support the little guy not just to give him/her a foothold, but to encourage and support the local community. I have had it with the continual undermining of the little guy, remember we can vote with our wallets. Go entrepreneurs!

  • Larry

    Dave

    They think that they can win in a game that is rigged (they seem to not understand that).

    Very few will. If the playing field were level many, many more would succeed.

  • http://AledaDigginsArt.com Aleda

    Let’s tie both hours’ On Point discussions together:
    Make kids of the super rich use a percentage of their inherited wealth fund the health care or other start up costs for a percentage of new entrepreneurs!

    (This would lend actual truth to conservatives’ faith-based argument that the rich need to keep all their income in the family because they are the ones who create jobs for the rest of us.)

  • http://cyberfumes.blogspot.com Dave Eger

    Oh I agree Larry. Trust me, the youth realize the game is rigged much more than I’ve seen the older generations realize it. Look who is supporting Wikileaks, and who is scared of it. There are just a lot of misleading messages out there that say that you win the game by being above the rest, but I agree with you that the real win strategy is to make everyone level, and realize that success is in surviving together, not in destroying each other.

    Also I’m watching This Is It right now. MJ knew what was up, even though he was in a position where he literally was on top of the world.

  • http://AledaDigginsArt.com Aleda

    Re: Anthony, RIGHT ON!!!

    Your words bear repeating:

    “Why in the world wouldn’t Obama, Emmanual, et al, have made the argument loud and clear while pushing for single payer health care: this country is brimming with entrepreneurial energy, it was built on this energy, and would reemerge strongly in the global economy and become again the leader in innovation if all those who desire to be in business for themselves didn’t have to fear the loss or unafordabiltity of health care? When I mention this to certain people, a light goes off in their head…where is the “positioning” skills of our public leaders? If you can make “death panels” stick, you should certainly be able to convince people that good public policy could set them free in their professional lives!”

    Well said, Anthony!!!!

  • http://cyberfumes.blogspot.com Dave Eger

    Aleda, I agree that the two hours tie together very well. The other option if the rich refuse to contribute back to those on whose backs their estates were built, is to encourage hyperinflation. If people lose faith in the monetary system (which isn’t too hard to do if you have seen Inside Job, or have been conscious for the past decade) then self employment will be the only option. Right now, the enforcing class still believes that the money of the rich is good. If the rich don’t prove that it is, then eventually the enforcers will realize that there is better things to do with their time, and won’t risk their lives for counterproductive efforts.

    I’m glad that Julian Assange is out there like a Robin Hood of information. The Sheriff of Nottingham can only last so much longer.

  • Gerald Fnord

    I’d be happier if more young, creative-minded, and hard-working, individuals spent their talents and energy in destroying the _need_ for jobs.

    It is my profound hope that someday soon we employed will be pitied as we pity the serfs of the Dark Ages for their state and their complicity in it.

  • http://www.careerfolk.com Donna Sweidan

    So much to say on this topic, excuse me as I wax lyrical! I am a Career Coach and this topic is central to ALL of my clients that I work with-In other words, this issue is not limited to new graduates. People are affected at every age. In fact, I am working with a number of boomers who have had no choice but to determine new ways to create work and new forms of revenue for themselves.
    In my business (and I too am self-employed, so I understand both the sacrifices and the benefits), I am witnessing firsthand the seismic impact shift of the economic changes. With the fundamental changes in this economy, I have seen an increase in the discussion on whether a college education is worth as much anymore. It certainly is saddling graduates with an inordinate amount of debt and no guarantee of a job. The US Education system is also not designed to encourage and nurture entrepreneurial thinking (Read Seth Godin’s Linchpin).

    I work with highly educated people of all ages, and the opportunities are very limited so my role has been gradually changing from helping people to find work to helping people think about how they can become self-sufficient and create their own work, or how to generate multiple streams of income. Income security is the new theme, and that is certainly not going to be found in “Job Security”. To this point,I have also been encouraging people to change their idea of what a career means. In our parents generation, the corporation looked after you career, and your ongoing professional development. No one can expect that anymore. Today’s global economy requires that every person thinks of themselves as their own boss, and they are in charge of managing their careers. Whether you are working for a company or for yourself, everyone needs to be actively managing their career.
    I am glad you brought up the importance of social media in your discussion, because without a doubt, social media & Web 2.0 has leveled the playing field and allows almost anyone, who develops the savvy to leverage these tools, to create a new income stream. What synchronicity that Mark Zuckerberg was just named person of the year by Time Magazine, because Facebook has been able to give people a voice- What about a place to build and brand a new business?
    To play devils advocate, I will quickly add that starting a new business, while it doesn’t need to cost a lot, there are costs, and lastly, it does take time and $$ to nurture a sustainable business. I have clients right now who need to start generating an income soon, and small business’s take time to grow. As exciting as it sounds, there is no silver bullet, and it doesn’t happen over night.
    Like anything that is going to succeed, it takes a great deal of passion, pure and unabated persistence, a broad knowledge and savvy, and a whole lot of support!
    So much more to say. Would love to be a part of a future conversation on this topic. Thank you!

  • http://www.markpatterson.ca Mark Patterson – Canton Melbourne Quebec

    I love these comments- whatya know ! A whole group of people who think like me !

  • hampton

    The system has always been rigged. What changes are the rules. So play by todays rules. You are a contractor with a skill set: selling to an employer or a client are basicly the same. Business is a contact.

  • http://www.erinanguish.com Erin Anguish

    Hello,

    Tried to call in this AM, but the lines were busy. I’m a 31-year old filmmaker who quit a lucrative full-time job in the summer of 2009 due to work-related stress. I thought I could take some (medically necessary) time off and then just jump right back into the pond. Unhappily, I was out of work for a year before I found some gainful employment.

    In the interim, I started my own video production company, ECA Productions. I do mostly weddings, but was able to land a corporate client as well, and that’s really helping to pay the bills. Yes, for a time I was forced to move back in with my parents, but the move was not a bad one, and I now have my own apartment just outside the city.

    I think it’s important, in this job market, to be able to take matters into you own hands when you need to, and I’ve met a lot of young photographers doing the same!

    Kudos for a great show.

    Erin

  • Joseph

    The idea that we can all create our own jobs and thrive is as fallacious as when we were told that the mass transport of manufacturing jobs overseas (facilitated by treaties such as NAFTA as well as federal tax policy) was no problem because the service economy would make up for it.

  • http://www.mikeylong.com Michael Long

    I’m on my fifth small business. I started a successful hauling company (paid better than minimum wage) in college. I went broke with a web dev company when I was twenty four. I created a Streaming Media Professional Services company when I was twenty six. I expanded to ten employees and again went bankrupt in the dot com bust. I started an art schools web site and made a few hundred thousand in a very short period of time at thirty two. I now have a green jobs site, a web template site and a few others.

    Most people have no idea how much sacrifice it takes but you will learn a great deal if you start a business. This is the most uplifting story I’ve heard in a long time. If only one out of a thousand of these businesses grows we will have the next Google, Facebook, or Ford. Outstanding!!!

    In my experience the enemy of small business is finance. Seventy percent of our economy is in finance. If you become successful you’ll find Patent Trolls, Private Equity, and Venture Capital hurt you more than help. Venture Capital can fund unprofitable companies and then cook the books for quick IPOs followed by devastation to small investors. The US PATENT OFFICE IS STAFFED BY IDIOTS that allow the patenting of everything from mouse click patterns to open source code. You have to fight money grubbing corporate lawyers without the resources to do it. It is great to see people restoring Capitalism to America. Fight the KLEPTOCRACY!

  • You!

    To all those people talking about the “system” being rigged- fight back. Corporations and the Government they enable, are just protecting their interests. Protect yours! Go do SOMETHING. Start small and see how it goes. Nobody will stop you or encourage you…you are your own worse enemy.

  • L Armond

    Tonights new about Baynard (sp?) multiple crying. I cry too, due to exhaustion, oscillating between laughter and tears. Demylinating. But easily recognized condition of other overstressed, easily corraled everyday adults, who only have time to take care of their babies and family, if their 3 jobs and Walmart abuse allow them to attend to the needs of loved ones without being fired, i.e. only so many excuses and you are out. Aren’t they beautiful folks, Understanding takes time and respect for life, the kind the “Special’ Christians, The Orange Man, and the Bush Brownies don’t have. They are all double talk, forked tongue, no oversight for anybody but the people taking the ‘vig’ their tithe too themselves. Remember MacArthur at Anacostia. He was a pretty boy and as polite as could be, but…. read the story and look at the pictures. Don’t take any of their meds unless you have diabetes, and even then, watch food and beverages first. As the Raven say’s to it’s little ones, “CAWWW CAWWW’ So we have “CA CA” Watch out for all of Richard Vigarie and the Bush Dick Cheney politicos and all their cadres wherever they go. CAAA CAAA

  • http://www.wbur.org Michael

    Can one become an entrepeneur if one has DEBT?! No capital. Period. Can it work? Thanks, Tom!

  • http://www.youtube.com/sword6204 Eric Beaty

    I’ve been working with a motivational coach overseas for a couple months now on how to transition from my current J.O.B. (Just Over Broke) into my passion for teaching guitar. I’m not very experienced at teaching guitar, but I’ve been playing for 15+ years. I just turned 30. My main fear has always been my lack of time (I work from 11am – 7:30pm) and how to start booking students when I’m not sure about how they’ll respond when I tell them I don’t have a schedule that seems to fit the “prime” teaching time (3pm – 8pm).

    I’ve read and listened to all kinds of material: “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiosaki, “The 4-Hour Work Week” by Timothy Ferris (Excellent Book), and “Caught Between A Dream and A Job” by Delatorro McNeal II (Also and excellent book chock full of insight), but I want to get to the point from reading to actually “doing.” My main problem is the fear of the unknown: “Should I quit my job right now?”, “How will I pay my bills if I do?”, “What about Health Insurance?”

    Thanks for broadcasting this show. I love getting my hands on any information about making a living for yourself and being your own boss!

  • http://www.youtube.com/sword6204 Eric Beaty

    By the way, I’m from Tennessee and live in a little town called Cookeville.

  • Brenda

    It’s an interesting idea… but I have no marketable skills. I don’t bake, sew, paint, design, etc. All of my interests are academic… history, literature, language, philosophy. That is where all my training lies. While I’d like to start a business, I have no clue on what.

    Not to mention, I am adamantly non-profit. Making money for the sake of money has no interest to me. I just want enough to get by, get out of debt, and live happily. I’d be useless at running a business, because I couldn’t care less about the bottom line.

  • Joe

    I keep hearing stories related to young collage graduates and how difficult it is for them to find jobs. What I am not hearing much of is what about the middle age who have gone back to school. If the young are finding it difficult and looking at a dismal future where does it leave the middle age? In the streets? This resection was brought about by the greed ridden politicians who have been, and still are, protecting the wealthy who give to their election campaigns. In a nut shell were screwed! Advice to the young. Get greedy and protect your future. Do what it takes but get as much money as you can! If you don’t you will end up scrubbing toilets for the rich and or living on the streets. Welcome to the new Mexico!

  • Kevin

    Too many people worrying about the cost of health insurance as a reason for not trying to start your own business. I operate two small businesses and my single biggest expense is income tax by far, not health insurance.

    The rising cost of insurance is a concern and a drag on our economy but it impacts employees and owners alike. Every employee must generate enough value for their company to cover their salary, benefits, taxes, and profit or the company won’t keep them.

    The burden on the entrepreneur is the same they just get to keep the profit

    Talent, temperament, and the ability to recognize an opportunity will determine your level of success,

    Your guests are great – driven, passionate, and not waiting for someone else to solve their problems.

  • http://blackkalf.com adam

    I listen to 90.1 out of Gainesville Fl. I was stuffing my own envelopes trying to generate some business from previous customers while listening this evening. I work full-time selling furniture but have been trying to get a small composted cow manure garden soil delivery service up & running over the past 6 months. I try to remember to run it as if I already have 10 competitors out there. This business venture got its start because God (Jesus) cares for me & my little family of now 3. Having our first child @ 31 and suddenly going to a single income really was a wake-up call for me. But thank God this side business has provided enough supplemental income for us to have peace which is priceless.
    Adam

  • Bob

    I enjoyed the show, and admired the young people who weren’t just sitting around complaining about the lack of jobs.

    I also found it troubling that Morgan wasn’t able to fit health insurance in her budget.

    The comment above about “income tax” is disingenuous. For a new business that hasn’t reached profitability or doesn’t have much profit, income tax is a non-issue. Payroll taxes and other expenses of hiring employees are issues for sure, but *not* income taxes. Income tax is only charged on profit, *after* you pay salaries, benefits (like health insurance), and other business expenses. Income tax is not a “business expense”.

  • http://startupblvd.com Enrique

    In this new world, there is no such thing as job security nor employer loyalty. I have seen how many friends have been displaced by shifts in business models (e.g. outsourcing non-core functions) and increases productivity (e.g. using the web to cut cost) finding themselves seeking the next job.

    As business cycles shrink, that “next job” will likely be in areas that are completely unrelated to a person’s experience, thus require significant retraining. Those who find similar jobs in related fields are just delaying the inevitable: They will change jobs again, that is the only way employers can cope with such rapid change in the market.

    Hence my question: If as an employee you need to redefine your role every few years (if you don’t, you will be displaced), why don’t you focus on reinventing yourself as a business owner? This way, you not only create a job for yourself, but also create an asset that could generate income that is not directly tied to your time.

    Technology is enabling millions of these “nascent entrepreneurs” to pursue their dreams, make money and live satisfying lives by lowering the cost of forming, launching and growing a new business. I founded Startup Blvd (http://startupblvd.com/startuper) to help emerging entrepreneurs connect with large corporations and other people who want to join/support their cause. We are building an information exchange in which participants can trade information to grow their business more effectively.

    The U.S. was built by entrepreneurs and is still run by them. Somehow, a large detour to a “manager” driven economy happened, but as this segment of onpoint suggests, it seems we are finally going back to basics: innovation and entrepreneurship.

    Let the competition begin.

    Enrique
    @eshadah
    @startupblvd

  • Joe T.

    I applaud these young entrepreneurs, but how many microcompanies selling essentially lifestyle and leisure products can we have? Megan is selling wine to young customers, but if youth unemployment is 20%, how many young people living on Subway Sandwiches and Ramen Noodles will regularly be able to afford a luxury like wine?

  • http://www.etsy.com/shop/ummzak Nakia

    Joe T.: Not everyone is selling those types of things. Yes, my company sells body products and they can be as froufrou as you dare, but my most popular products are a very gentle soap and a diaper rash salve. And even in the months where I make almost nothing, I make more than I would be sending out resumes for positions I know I won’t get. Starting your own business is hard and uncertain, but it’s the position I’ve held the longest when companies view employees as a necessary evil, to be eliminated as soon as feasible.

  • Adam D

    Does anyone else find it sad that, while corporations sit on record profits and refuse to reinvest that money into jobs and innovation, new college graduates discuss starting their own janitoral services just to make ends meet since there’s a shortage of jobs?

    I’ve heard of countries going through a brain drain, but this sounds like a brain waste. And we certainly can’t build our economy on the backs of the smallest businesses.

    I certainly didn’t goto college with the intention of mopping floors after graduation. I don’t want this to come off as entitled, but when corporations are sitting on billions and refusing to create new jobs, I have only a four word reponse: Give. Me. A. Job.

  • John in Vermont

    Another great show/podcast, Tom!

    I couldn’t agree more with Scott Gerber’s contention that the old paradigms (good grades, hard work = steady corporate employment & employer loyalty) are just not valid any longer. We do truly need to support actual small businesses & entrepreneurship by investing in the US infrastructure to include extending high speed internet into rural areas along with energy & transportation services. Much too much of our nation’s resources are diverted to large multi-national corporations where we do *not* see the returns on investment that we once saw in the past…i.e. local & fulfilling employment at good wages that pay our bills along with some savings for the future.

    In my view, health care costs are one of the biggest impediments to taking risks, joining a small business, and forging out on your own. As a single income household, I am shackled to my job because of the health care benefits. Decouple health care from employment, you would see many people left jobs they hate, leave employers that treat them poorly to go try to work in areas that they love and for people that treat them fairly.

    This is not solely a Gen-Y issue…call it Gen-* (Gen-Splat), we will not experience any retirement in my natural life not like my father with his corporate defined-benefit pension plan. I was in that era where professionals were given cash-balance plans & 401Ks. In short, these plans will never support retirements that our parents have. Despite dutiful consistent retirement savings, I will have to work forever, so I will find work, jobs or create them until I am pass from this mortal plane. Retirement at 55, 60, or 65 is only for the wealthy. I would, at least, prefer to have my work be somewhat rewarding personally & professionally if not financially.

    Your various guests and callers made many great points. I hope that you keep revisiting this topic.

    Keep up the great work at On Point & NPR.

  • Fredith

    Unfortunately I joined this late – however it is pretty obvious who makes up the voting bloc on this particular thread. Here is an incredible story about innovative, creative people who found or are finding an alternative to conventional employment and almost ALL of you are tearing them down or giving 14 reasons why you cannot do the same thing.
    Democrats: The party of “I can’t”. For shame.

  • Samuel Angol

    I’m a soon-to-be 29-year old living in the Greater Orlando area. I have a good amount of sales experience with different companies. I hope to soon join the ranks of the young well-to-do in America.

  • Erik

    Late to the party, but what a great conversation!

    Two thoughts:

    If we start thinking of ourselves as entrepreneurs, then we can exploit the tax regime for corporations. That could have interesting consequences at many levels.

    The small business community has been largely absent from the political debate on health care. Why isn’t the message from them heard more broadly? Is it a political-marketing issue, or an organization problem, or something else?

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