I read a disturbing article today in Bloomberg Businessweek, “The Slow Disappearance of the American Working Man.” This reality is disturbing on many levels, the greatest being the impact this has on family leadership. I am not a fan of the destruction the feminist movement has had on the image and treatment of men in our culture. And the added impact upon our men without suitable jobs and income being at a thirty year high, is far beyond what we can understand without being in their shoes.
Men are wired to be the providers for their family. When they are unable, for any reason, the psychological impact is immense in the present and has untold impact in the future. We already know the devastating impact a “fatherless family” has on the children well into their adult life, and the consequence also imposed upon our society. The recent youth uprising in Britan was in part a response to a lack of fathers and jobs. (Read Britan’s Prime Ministers speech in response to the riots.) The effect of our current and continuing unemployment can not be over stated. Regardless of any political speech, the government cannot produce jobs. The government exists because of the tax funds paid by the American worker. Capitalism creates jobs. Ingenuity creates jobs. The American spirit creates jobs.
Read my earlier post, “Turn Your Passion into Profit” and make your own way through this unprecedented time in our country. Consider freelancing or working as an independent contractor. Offer your expertise as an outside consultant to companies you already know. Starting your own business is easier than you think. There are some viable home-based business opportunities out there, but if there’s a market for the type of work you’ve always done, why not continue with what you know? Here are some pointers:
* Seek advice from your CPA and/or attorney sharing your idea with them. Don’t let them convolute the effort. You are simply doing what the pioneers did – hanging out a shingle to generate income for now. You just need their expert blessing on your plan and professional blessing.
* Establish a place in your home where you can set up a computer and other equipment you need to do what you do best. If you need to stock goods or product, establish a suitable place in your home for that.
* Learn the IRS perimeters of being an independent contractor and plan to operate according to the guidelines.
* Check with your city and secure a proper business license.
* Make certain you have any necessary insurance, certification or other licenses fully in place.
* Avoid taking out any start-up loans or using your home as collateral for loans, if at all possible. Try to start your business very slow and small expanding only according to newly generated income.
* Carefully think through any partnership arrangements. Even the best of these starting out can be the brutal cause of the end.
* Decide how you will operate. Consider any forms, procedures, policies and such that need to be established and purchase or create these.
* Secure an offsite mailing address for your new business. Remember PO Boxes are restricted to receiving envelopes and very small parcels. If you’ll receive shipments, secure the right mailing address service.
* If you want to operate under a name that’s not your own, be sure to file a Fictitious Business Name Statement properly filed.
* If you plan on selling goods, learn what’s required. In California where sales tax is charged, you’d need a seller’s permit and you’d be required to file and remit collected sales tax, annually.
* Create your business “look” for letterhead, business cards and the like using an inexpensive printer service such as Vista Print.
* Create a blog in lieu of a web site to start out. Blogs are “user friendly” and you can manage it yourself.
* Plan to NOT have clients come to your home to keep any added liability to a minimum. Meet at their office or at a business support location such as Kinko’s.
* Use the Internet, flyers, ground mail and other means to get the word out that you’re in business.
* When you get your first client commitmet, purchase any insurance you need to protect your business, home and family.
* Determine what kind of incentive you can offer for people to refer clients to you. Incentive not a bribe, OK?
* Earnestly market, actively network and keep knocking on doors to grow your client base.
In time, you will establish a sufficient client base, bringing you repeat business and/or referrals and you will have taken charge of your income, your future and that of your family. You can do it men, and we’re counting on you!