Forced Entrepreneurs: Cheap And Profitable?

The Times reports that the growing armies of the unemployed are sick and tired of sending out resumes and are starting their own businesses in droves. One laid-off biologist is making–and taking orders for, thank you very much– $25,000 jelly fish tanks. An entrepreneurship professor at the University of San Francisco coined this phenomenon “forced entrepreneurship.” It’s what you do when you can’t find a job and you have to pay the bills. Plenty of former IT administrators, for instance, could become IT consultants and managed service providers.

What I like about the forced entrepreneurs is that they tend to do things on the cheap, which is exactly the right way to get going. When I launched a new service to my catering business, I didn’t buy any equipment or product before I’d made my first sale. The equipment paid for itself after two jobs. Starting up with less definitely helps focus the mind.

On the Other Hand...

Still, many forced entrepreneurs would be happier if they could only get another job in their field after a layoff. But most of them use poor methods for finding a job so they conclude they have no choice but to start a business.

The typical mistakes of job hunters include:
  • not having prioritized, multiple targets for their job search;
  • spending the majority of their time answering Internet job listings, which account for perhaps 15% of available jobs;
  • not targeting enough positions (not jobs, but positions that are currently filled but which they’d be eligible for);
  • and falsely believing that their job-search objective is to get a job, rather than to get dozens of meetings.
For people who really would like a job rather than forced entrepreneurship, I recommend you visit The Five O’Clock Club. It has the best process for job search I have ever come across.Not that you shouldn’t do your entrepreneurial thing if that’s really your passion. Just be careful–those jellyfish stings are wicked.

MSPmentor contributing blogger Mitch York coaches executives who are evolving into entrepreneurs. He is a veteran of high-tech media and an entrepreneur himself. Find York — and his personal blog — at www.e2ecoaching.com. MSPmentor is updated multiple times daily. Don’t miss a single post. Subscribe to our Enewsletter, RSS and Twitter feeds.
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