When the Going Gets Tough, Find a Paper Clip
NOTE: This is a repost of an article I wrote several years ago. I like to reflect on where my mindset was in the past, as compared to today. I think the economy has recovered slightly (albeit at a snail's pace). Maybe times are so rough anymore, and maybe if you're lucky - things are so tough... But I don't feel much more optimistic now than I did back then. Could that be politics raining on my sunny outlook? Where do you stand? What do you think? How have things improved (or not) in your world?
So when the economy continues to move at a snail’s pace (ok, not that bad, a turtle’s pace?), how long until we say that perhaps economic “recovery” hasn’t quite yet made it’s way to the masses?
Actually, where has this recovery occurred?
In July of last year*, the IMF said that the great economic recovery of 2010 would be stronger then they initially thought. Stronger? So pay no attention to the negative employment numbers lurking behind the curtain.
And forget about the re-readjusted housing numbers that show existing home sales have plunged by 27+% over this time last year.
Meanwhile the bankers are assuring us that global recovery is “on track.” That might be more reassuring if they actually acted like they believe what they’re preaching…
Now I’m no expert, which in this instance might be a good thing since the experts are always “surprised” by that which seems obvious to the rest of us. However, in looking around me, I can see that “recovery” has yet to grace us with its presence.
From the hollow aisles at every Target in my region (and I mean downright empty at times when sales used to bustle), to the cute house around the corner that just sold last month after being on the market for 26 (not days, not weeks, but months) ~ and, supposedly, we live in one of the most sought after area’s in our entire metro area. Every other person I know has dealt with unemployment that stretched on for ridiculous periods of time (think 1.5 to 2 years, and this is for college educated corporate professionals actively searching for a new job). Granted some are in Southern Cal and some are in Michigan (not the best places to job hunt right now), but still. That’s bleak.
The author of this article at Fast Company.com agrees with me. Believe it or not, I read the article after I was almost done writing my blog post, just goes to show, it’s near impossible to have a unique idea in today’s information age… that, or, great minds think alike? Yeah, that’s the ticket.
So times are tough. Things are rough.
What to do, what to do?
Start a small business. That’s what you do. There’s no better time than a recession to embark on a entrepreneurial venture (granted you can do it without racking up big debt). Prices are down, opportunities are up, and besides this recession may leave us with an economy that can only sustain one “working” income per household. That’s food for thought.
Create. Innovate. Barter your way into success if need be.
You’ve heard the story of the red paper clip… yes? If not - check out the blog post here. While that wasn’t a business venture and it was just prior to the onset of the recession, it shows how creative one can be with nothing but a paper clip in one’s possession. If he can take a paper clip and barter/trade his way into a house (yes, a house), then YOU my friend can do anything.
Where to start? You’ll find a plethora of coverage online about the great success that can be had during a recessionary economy. Like this story from Investopedia on 9 businesses that can thrive during a recession.
I’m working on my plans (I’ll keep you posted) which were actually delayed by life, but not derailed. Roadblocks are simply hurdles, find the way over and keep on trucking.
Hope you found reflection here! I did enjoy re-reading the Red Paper Clip story - humans are such a creative and amazing lot when we think outside of the box!
sidenote: that would have been 2009