The best financial advice I got was none at all. I worked hard. So can you. Until Ronald Reagan was elected president, most Americans followed what I call the Central Dogma: “Go to college, get a diploma, get a job.” Sometime, in the early 1980′s, the Central Dogma, at least for many Americans, stopped working.
At the time Reagan became president, steel mills were closing, auto workers were losing their jobs, inflation was running at 15 to 20 percent, interest rates were around 20 percent, and the official rate of unemployment went over 10 percent. (The real rate of unemployment was probably 20 to 30 percent because government unemployment statistics only measure people who are out of work and looking for a job.)
Best financial advice…I worked hard
From 1978 to 1981 — four long, miserable years — I was unemployed. Except for torture, illness, or death, unemployment is the most devastating experience a person can experience. Lack of a job destroys a person’s self worth.
After sending out hundreds of resumes and receiving no job offers (and in almost all cases no replies), I took, late in 1981, $700 out of the bank to start a small business. Why $700? That’s all I had. No one ever told me to start a business.
Working out of a rented room in Berkeley, California, I advertised a product I wanted to sell. I needed 48 customers to break even; I got exactly 100 orders.
Every cent of profit was ploughed back into the business. After a year, I hired a part-time helper. Now, I have almost 50 employees.
By 2003, my company, Biomed Inc., became the largest company of its kind in the United States.
The best thing about starting a business is that the experience gives a person the opportunity to create something new, hire employees, and have enough funds to pay for food, shelter, transportation, and more.
Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. But, in my humble opinion, being an entrepreneur sure beats whatever is in second place.
A good entrepreneur, never has to look for a job again.
To all unemployed readers of this column, I have this advice: Take a risk (if you have the stamina) and become an entrepreneur. You will be part of what made America great.