The Necessity Entrepreneur
Many see becoming an entrepreneur as a path to freedom. They are finally free from working for someone else and have some control over their livelihood.
A typical necessity entrepreneur is over 50 years of age, has been unemployed for over a year, and sees the possibility of finding full-time employment dwindling. Many necessity entrepreneurs see this as buying a job.
Does any of this sound familiar?
In the post CoronaVirus world, I suspect we will have a lot of necessity entrepreneurs.
To be frank, not everyone is oriented toward being an entrepreneur. In fact, most of the population is not oriented toward being an entrepreneur. So what do you do if being a necessity entrepreneur is your only option?
You have to understand where you fit into the business. Are you an entrepreneur, or are you just being a necessity entrepreneur? Watch the following video to set the stage:
Note: This post was originally published in June of 2014 and was updated in April of 2020.
Are you a technician? Technicians are knowledge workers. They make the products, deliver the services or make the organization work. I have spent much of my career as a technician. Whether it was as a programmer, engineer, trainer, salesperson, teacher, or consultant, I was an individual contributor.
Technicians often enjoy getting their hands dirty. They like to do the work themselves. The act of handing the work off to someone else eliminates the possibility of getting what they want. That might be a thank-you from the client or customer, or the joy of having completed a task.
Is this you?
Are you a manager? Managers manage the systems that make organizations function.
I used to tell a story during a training class that I developed for network processors. The processor had two sections. One section read the packet, analyzed it, and gave an order. The second section took the order and made the appropriate changes to the packet to route it to the next hop. I would explain that the first section was like their boss: they analyzed the situation and gave orders but did no real work! The students, all non-managers, were like the second portion of the chip and did all of the real work.
When technicians move into management they often fail because they are doing the work. They are managing people, handling personnel issues, and hiring and firing.
Managers typically like building and managing systems of people. They are comfortable letting others get the actual work done.
Are you good at managing people and processes? If so, you are a manager.
Entrepreneurs are idea people. Wikipedia defines entrepreneurship in the following terms:
“Entrepreneurship is the process of identifying and starting a new business venture.”
One challenge that a lot of baby boomers have is that:
“We were raised to be employees. We were told to go to work for a father-like organization that would take care of us!”
Many of us can be entrepreneurs, but we’re trained to be risk-averse. We took the safe route.
Take a moment and think about how you view risk. I want you to read the following posts:
- Perceived and Real Risks in the 2nd Half Of Life
- What Types of Risk are You Taking in the 2nd Half Of Life?
- How to Mitigate Risk in the 2nd Half of Life
These 3 posts came from a month-long discussion we had in a Career Pivot Community mastermind group called “What’s Next?”. What I discovered was many in the group became less risk-averse as they got older. They determined that if they did not take the risk now, when would they?
Are you wired to be an entrepreneur? Are you willing to take a risk?
What category do you fit in?
The Necessity Entrepreneur Dilemma
The last 2 decades have not been kind to baby boomers. The economy has hummed along at a breakneck pace but many baby boomers have not benefited from those gains. Check out my post Baby Boomers, How is the Economy Working for You?
A lot of baby boomers are being let go during the CoronaVirus pandemic and if history repeats itself most will not recover.
Perhaps you have decided to be a necessity entrepreneur, but at your core, you are not suited to be an entrepreneur. The dilemma is you are trying to be something you are not.
Surround Yourself with People Who Will Support You
As the video above suggests you should surround yourself with people who can support you. One option is to buy an existing business or buy into a franchise. I know, I know, you are saying that that will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to get into business for yourself. That is simply not true.
Several years ago, I was giving a presentation on networking to a room full of ex-military individuals. One of the young ladies in the audience told me I had to speak with her step-father.
Her step-father was a former FranNet consultant. FranNet is a franchising consulting agency. Her step-father had purchased one of his franchises, a house washing franchise. He said three things have stuck with him:
- He emphasized buying a good franchise. You need to do your homework.
- If you follow the steps exactly as defined by the franchise, you will be successful. The key is following the steps.
- Ex-military people make some of the best franchise owners. They know how to follow orders.
I have one client who is looking at a franchise where they can be the technician. They will hire a manager to run the business.
3 Paths to being a Necessity Entrepreneur
There are 3 paths I want you to consider.
You could buy a franchise like the step-father I mentioned above. You really need to do your homework. I interviewed Dennis Boyle on the Repurpose Your Career podcast in an episode called Buying a Consulting Franchise in the 2nd Half of Life. Dennis gives a good deal of practical advice on buying a franchise.
Another option is buying an existing business. You will need to do a lot of homework on the business, have a quality CPA, and probably get an SBA Loan. I would highly recommend you go to your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC).
The last option is to start your own business. We have several people in the Career Pivot Community who are starting service-based or consulting businesses. They have banded together in a mastermind group to help each other. I also recommend that if you follow this path you go to your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC).
What role do you fill?
Are you a technician, manager or entrepreneur? Technicians and managers can become necessity entrepreneurs but they will need help.
Are you willing to ask for help?
What help do you need to become a necessity entrepreneur? Is this your path to freedom?