Thursday, March 26, 2009

Can't Get a Job? Make One!

The recession is a global phenomenon. It's here in Ireland, there in the US, and throughout Europe and most of the rest of the world. The only place that seems to be keeping its head above water is China. And I don't particularly feel like going to China.

When I came to Ireland in 1982, I was also in the middle of a recession. I didn't have a job, and I couldn't get a job. If you're in the same boat, what do you do about it? The answer, as it turns out, is to create your own job.

Me? An Employer?
That's right. You. You can do this, and it's not that big a deal. I did it, and if I can do it, you can too. Back in 82, it worked like this: here I was, a Yank living in Ireland. I knew no-one. Nada. I wasn't able to get a job for months.

Then luck finally shone its face on yours truly. I got a job. Unfortunately, it paid just enough to keep body and soul together. With a wife, 2 kids, and another on the way, I needed something a little more lucrative. I wasn't hoping to make millions, mind you. But I wanted enough cash to do things: like buy shoes, for instance. So in 1987, I set up a marketing company. I've been at it ever since. And what'cha know? Even now, in the middle of recession, it's profitable.

So How Do You Do It?

Step One: the Idea
It helps, of course, if you have a good idea. A 'Business Proposition'. You don't need to be building a new Space Shuttle to start a company. Instead, look around you: what is it about an existing product or service that you use that really annoys you, or that you think should be done better? Turn that idea around in your head. How could you do it better?

Step Two: Research
Now do a little research. Who else provides what you think you want to provide? How much do they charge? What about their customer service levels? The quality of the product and service? How could you do it even better? Is it an area and product or service that offers future growth?

Step Three: the Business Plan
Now put your ideas down on paper in a Business Plan. A good business plan contains a minimum of: An executive summary; a product description; a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis; target market description; list of competitors; a marketing plan (including the 4 Ps: product, price, promotional/advertising/awareness programme, distribution - which is 'place' or the 4th 'P'); a list of Unique Selling Propositions (e.g. what will make your product/service better than the rest); and finally, a finance plan that includes projected pro forma profit and loss accounts for the next 3 years.

Step Four: Do the Plan
Remember, you don't have to have big money to get into business. When I started my marketing company, I had exactly 1 dollar as the initial seed capital. You can start almost any kind of business with very little money. So don't let money - or the lack of it - prevent you from starting your own business.

Now You're Your Own Boss
I started my own company over 20 years ago, and I've never looked back. If I can do well in Ireland, then you can do well where ever you happen to reside. All it takes is a little courage, a little thinking, and a great deal of energy and commitment.

So if you're trying to fight the recession, and have either lost your job or are worried that you might lose your job, then consider starting your own business. You'll never look back.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Tom,

    I am so glad I have come across your blog! This post in particular struck a chord with me. A bit about me (since my blog is dated): I am 24 just graduating with my masters in vocal performance (I'm an opera singer) and I'm hopelessly in love with an irishman who doesn't like short, I will be moving to Ireland maybe by December and I have a decent idea of what I'm getting myself into...(basically no work). But I am very smart and want to start my own business but kinda need to wait until I get there to do the research for it. I want to teach music privately, but start my own studio (hire musicians to teach children in the student's homes!) So parents don't have to drag their kids to lessons. I would cover the billing,getting the students, and the recitals. My fiancee is from Derry. I don't know what the economy is like really...but I know there are lots of kids. One day, I will travel Europe and actually do some opera singing, but in the meantime, I have to get something going to pay off my horrendous student loans. ugh my biggest fear in life for sure. Sorry I went on a tangent, but I will be communicating with you a bit probably before this all goes down. It's nice to know I won't be the only American over there. :)

    Thanks for reading this! Tell me what you think.