This year’s grads face serious employment challenges, but there’s probably never been a greater opportunity to create your own job. According to Robert Reich, former US Secretary of Labor, the job prospects look rather dim due to the economic down turn. He cites some trends that may throw into question the very value of a college degree itself: heavy competition for jobs, a significant decrease in earnings, outsourcing, and student loan debt.
While traditional employment prospects are certainly less accessible and less rewarding, college grads faced with these challenges might consider a different strategy altogether – starting their own business.
Here are some reasons why today’s college grads have an advantage as entrepreneurs:
1. Less to lose. If it’s going to take a year or two to find a job, if it’s going to pay peanuts anyway, and if the chances are it can be outsourced and leave you unemployed, then the prospects of self-employment suddenly don’t look risky by comparison.
2. Information Explosion. There has never been more information available on how to start and run a business. In addition, with your college education, you have learned how to learn, how to research and how to access that information. Your college experience has taught you to seek out the advice of experienced experts, a key to business success.
3. Essentials. If you had any liberal arts classes, you learned how to communicate with people, and respect history, culture and psychology, all essential for entrepreneurial success. If you had any business classes, you will be able to at least understand the basic principles of commerce and provide value to your customers.
4. Youth. Most of you grads are relatively young and can handle the long haul it takes to develop a successful business. Get started soon and have a greater advantage over folks who wait or who are forced to become entrepreneurs. You have more time to learn from your mistakes, perfect your processes, and build your brand.
5. Cheaper Costs. Ironically, labor is relatively inexpensive. Rent is down. Interest rates are down. Suppliers and service companies need strategic allies and are more likely to offer beneficial terms. Unemployed and retired experts are available to give you advice.
6. Increased Demand. More than ever, the country is looking for new ideas to help invent our way back to prosperity. “Find a need and fill it” has never been more necessary. We need to save our environment, find clean energy, feed more people, improve education, and solve our clean water problems – just to name a few.
7. Opportunities Abound. Technological advances are begging for applications. We have only scratched the surface of what we can do with what we already have discovered. From digital to genomes, from materials to biotech, and from optics to communication, the world is your oyster. Check out “Abundance” by Peter Diamandis http://www.abundancethebook.com/.
Yes, times are tough, but remember that the last downturn spawned many of the top companies of today. Many of them were started in a garage. As you approach today’s challenges, your college education will give you a big advantage.
A degree is not a vaccination, anyway. Can’t find a job? Maybe its time to say hello to your garage.