Most of my energy these days is devoted to the business I started building from scratch a couple of months ago – Coloring The Wind.
It’s a big change for me. After 20 years of talking about the importance of getting people people to work and, through my HR consultancy/software business, trying to show businesses how to get people effectively utilized in fulfilling jobs, I decided that I just wasn’t making the impact I wanted. Sure, it was making me a living, but with unemployment at dangerously high levels and no end in sight to the economic downturn, I wanted to do more, faster.
If I really believed that my achievement-focused methods would create stronger businesses and more jobs, then why didn’t I prove it by setting up new businesses of my own? Coloring The Wind first, deliberately difficult, making money out of poetry (has that ever worked before?), and then a couple more. These are experiments in the real world, an attempt to simulate the conditions that hundreds of thousands embark on each year: starting a business with a good idea and not much else, recording the experience, learning what works and what doesn’t, passing the ideas on to others. Culminating in a start-up template, hopefully.
Why does it matter? Because it’s no good waiting for somebody else to fix unemployment, as I wrote a couple of months back in Whose job is it to create jobs? Politicians? Big business? No matter how well-intentioned they may be, they’re not going to fix the problem, because their interests are inevitably short-term. It’s all about getting elected next time round, presenting a good picture to your shareholders at the next board meeting.
My concern is longer term. What will happen to a whole generation of kids who find it difficult to get a job, no matter how well-qualified they think they are. Without a job, where do they turn? And inevitably, sooner or later, who do they turn on? I’m all for change, but I’d prefer it to be considered and sympathetic, not sudden and violent. The history of widespread unemployment is the history of civil and international conflict. That’s not scaremongering. Look at what happened in the 1930s. Look at the Mid-East today.
I’m not the only one who believes that the best way to fight unemployment is for us to take action ourselves. A few weeks back I had the pleasure of getting to know Julia Neiman as we both participated in the Ultimate Blog Challenge. We share the same aim, but Julia’s approach is different from mine – and extraordinarily important. When it’s difficult to get a job, another alternative is to make a job – to become an entrepreneur. There’s a special mindset involved, which can be learned, but isn’t often taught in our schools and colleges. In fact it might be hard for people who haven’t experienced the challenge of building a business to teach it at all.
That’s where Julia can help. With her personal experience in setting up an online business, and after years of helping young people from troubled backgrounds to learn about work by setting up their own small enterprises, she’s superbly qualified to teach: and that’s exactly what she does with her brand-new book – 31 Powerful Lessons Empowering Teens and Young Adults to Develop an Entrepreneur Mindset.
Whether you’re helping young people to get started in business, or you’re starting up yourself (even if you’re not a teen or young adult), this book is an important first step in an important battle. Find out more here.
Related HROomph posts
Unemployment: lessons from the Mid-East
Words of advice when times are hard
Jumping to self-employment: 10 tips for a soft landing