This morning I read an article about the current 52.2 percent unemployment among young people, ages 16 through 24. Prospects for jobs certainly look dismal, especially since so many of their parents are also unemployed. Here’s the opening paragraph.
The unemployment rate for young Americans has exploded to 52.2 percent — a post-World War II high, according to the Labor Dept. — meaning millions of Americans are staring at the likelihood that their lifetime earning potential will be diminished and, combined with the predicted slow economic recovery, their transition into productive members of society could be put on hold for an extended period of time.
Is it just me or is it foolish thinking to rely on any government to make sure you have employment? Have these young people no marketable skills? Has no one told them they can start their own business and someday become this century’s Bill Gates? There are thousands of ways of earning money legally, and there are would-be millionaires out there just waiting to be created. Entrepreneurship is the key.
My own daughter was just six when she began her own business, “Jog Your Memory”. Her motto? “I remember so you don’t have to!” I had told her she had a great memory since she was constantly reminding me of things I had forgotten! So, we printed out a few business cards, I gave her a Day-Timer I wasn’t using, and off she went to see if Grandma might need some help remembering her appointments! A couple of years later we created a business plan for a neighborhood garbage can retrieval service! Lesson learned? There are no limits to the ways a person can earn money.
Encourage your children to think of their own natural gifts and interests. Seek out family friends and relatives with skills that could be taught to a young apprentice. If your child is a computer nerd, help them discover a money-making niche in the vast world of technology. If your kid is an artistic dreamer, as mine is, take their creations and help them develop a business plan for earning money. Don’t overlook volunteerism as a way to learn skills and establish important contacts as a route to self-employment. Combining a young person’s natural skills with a marketable skill or product may open up a whole new way for them to earn money other than working for the nearest fast-food joint.
Self-employment breeds self-confidence, independence and important business and people skills. Take any skill, any interest, put your creativity to work and develop an idea for a new business! Here are four websites with some practical ideas for getting started.
Young Entrepreneurs, SCORE — This organization, SCORE, matches would-be small business owners with a retired business owner. It’s a great mentoring service.
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