Let’s face it: most people have no choice but to work. They don’t have trust funds or generations of family wealthy to sustain them through the ups and downs of life. Everyone’s needs, and sometimes those of their family members, are dependent on their ability to earn enough income to cover them. Sadly, a large part of the population stay in jobs that pay too little, works them too much, and leaves them feeling unfulfilled and unappreciated. The good news is: it doesn’t have to be this way. The self-made economy is here, and it’s a game-changer.
America has always been known as “the land of opportunity,” not because they were handing out free government grants and business deeds to anyone who arrived–but because this is one of the few places in the world where hard work and determination actually can pay off. That’s what the American Dream is all about. It is called being SELF MADE and it is making a comeback!
Journalist and futurist, Guy Garcia, who collaborated with Nely Galán on SELF MADE, conducted research that supports the ideals, motivation and cause of the SELF MADE phenomenon, all of which is outlined below.
The Self-Made Economy is Here
When people hear the term “self-made,” most think of Fortune 500 business moguls, celebrities, wealthy investors, successful politicians and the like. Few think of the stay-at-home mom who launched a travel business from her kitchen table, or the college student who created an app that has helped fund their college education. Even fewer think of the immigrant who starts at the bottom and diligently works to build their way to the top; but these are the pioneers of the SELF MADE movement. These are the individuals taking what little they have and flipping it to create the life they deserve.
The self-made economy places the tools of entrepreneurship into the hands of those who need them, and helps develop the necessary skills to build job-creating businesses that bolster communities. It is an economy that enables young adults and millennials to build their own brands; and provides an alternative source of income and opportunity for the unemployed, low-wage and part-time employees, retirees, and those on limited or fixed incomes.
When the economy got tough in America, the tough didn’t get going–instead, they become SELF MADE! These individuals found a way to their turn their hardship into an opportunity and helped usher in a new era of American life–the SELF-MADE LIFE!
Young. American. And Self-Made.
It is no secret Millennials like to have things their way. They expect everything they do to be connected and personally tailored to their desires. That is why the self-made economy fits perfectly into their self-focused lives. This is a generation of content creators and voyeurs who have no problem leveraging the technology available to them to launch a business, showcase their talents to gain exposure, or start a national movement. For teens and adults under 35, being self-made is not an exception, it is the norm!
Among teens and young adults, 92 percent consider entrepreneurship a mindset and 60 percent already think of themselves as entrepreneurs. Instead of a traditional career path, young adults are opting for paths that allow them to maintain flexible schedules and a large amount of autonomy in their day-to-day work. To achieve this, most are turning to entrepreneurship. A study among recent college graduates revealed 67 percent had plans to start their own business, while only 13 percent had plans to enter corporate America! This data shows a growing trend among youth and young adults who are foregoing the boring nine-to-five to embark on the SELF MADE path.
The Only Opportunity is the One You Create
While America is a great land of opportunity, there is still an unnerving amount of individuals and families living near or beneath the national poverty line even though they maintain steady jobs. Many settle into jobs and become comfortable so they never aspire to do anything else. Some wish they could leave, but they doubt their abilities and convince themselves they will fail before they even try. Others have experienced hardship that forced them to take a position where they are overqualified, undervalued, and underpaid; and still, generations of families continue the cycle of living paycheck-to-paycheck while working overtime and maintaining second or third jobs.
No matter what anyone faces, everyone has the opportunity to become self-made. There is no better circumstance or avenue to becoming self-made than the one of hardship and adversity. The Self-Made economy provides a motivating environment for the distressed to turn their “pain into profit,” and use the tools available to them to create their own source of income to invest in their futures.
Self-Made is the Immigrant
Immigrants have been praised by Republicans and Democrats for their self-reliance and entrepreneurial nature, which has helped them blaze paths to success. Senators’ Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Bernie Sanders each praised immigrant parents for “embodying the American dream” through their strong work ethic and dedication to community. They are perfect examples of what it takes to be self-made in the face of adversity.
For immigrants, becoming self-made is about more than gaining wealth or living out a childhood dream; it’s about caring for families and providing for future generations. Immigrants still view America as the greatest land of opportunity in the entire world and they arrive in America focused on their goals and determined in their efforts to achieve success. This helps them accelerate their plans for economic freedom and self-sufficiency.
Immigrants believe in the American Dream and the values that drive them: hard work, determination and self-reliance. They do not want or need anyone’s handouts; what they want are opportunities and if they have to create them to advance, they will!
Breaking the Glass Ceiling
Discrimination is an unfortunate part of our existence. Women still face gender discrimination that keeps them from advancing; to make matters worse, multicultural women face additional discrimination related to race that can make it twice as difficult for to advance. Barriers presented by sexism and racism in the workplace are both frustrating and a source of tension in employee-employer relationships. Attempting to change the system can backfire and where it does not, the path to change remains painstakingly slow.
In America, women are still behind men in economic advancement. As of 2013, on average, a woman working full time earned only 78 cents for each dollar a male in the same position received for the same kind and quality of work. Of the low-wage workforce, two-thirds are women, and more than half are women of color.
To overcome this, many multicultural women have turned to the self-made path where they can overcome the barriers presented in traditional corporate settings. This path puts women in control of their own destiny and empowers them to move forward to achieve their goals. As they overcome obstacles and achieve milestones, they will remain motivated to achieve even greater goals and have the confidence to do so. Remember: There are no “glass ceilings” when you are the boss.
Don’t Save Us…We Don’t NEED to be Saved!
Women are the backbone of America; they have led, educated and empowered generations since the dawn of time. It is no coincidence they are doing the same in business development throughout the nation. Between 1997 – 2012, male-owned businesses increased by less than a million and equally-owned businesses actually decreased by more than 2.1 million. During this same period, there was a revolution among women in business. Instead of waiting around for someone to “give” them an opportunity, they began creating opportunities for themselves.
Women-Owned Businesses on the Rise
Women-owned businesses reached 9.9 million by 2012, up from only 5.4 million in 1997, which added over two million women-owned businesses to the market. In this five-year period, women-owned businesses increased by 82%, with the highest growth among African American and Hispanic women. Today, women own 30% of all businesses and have added an estimated 340,000 jobs our economy with both numbers continuing to grow.
Multicultural Women Leading the Pack in Women-Owned Business Creation
Between 1997 – 2012, over 1,528,000 businesses were created by women in the United States – the large majority of those creators being women of color! Hispanic women led in business creation with 682,000 new businesses and an astounding 87% growth rate. African American women were right behind with 610,000 new businesses and a remarkable 67% growth rate; and, women of Asian American/Pacific Islander descent joined the ranks with the creation of 236,000 new businesses, achieving an outstanding 44% growth!
Immigrant Women Breaking Barriers in Business
Among Hispanic-immigrant women the idea of entrepreneurship is growing. Between 2012 and 2015, 31 percent of Hispanic immigrant-women already owned, or joined, a home-based business. Among those not in business, 47 percent had thought of starting a business and 40 percent had a business idea they wanted to start.
More often than not, immigrant women have no choice but to create a way to contribute to the livelihood of their families because they do not have the luxury of relying on others to help lift them up. They start where they are and use what they have to build, allowing no obstacle, excuse, or setback to keep them from success.
Anyone who wants to become self-made, must develop the same mindset as their immigrant neighbor. Commit today to let no obstacle, excuse, or setback interfere with the SELF MADE path.
The Future is for the SELF MADE
There is no freedom in worrying about money; and, if someone only has one source income, they should be worried! Those who succeed in the future are those who will move beyond earning a paycheck to signing their own. It is no longer enough to just “have a good job,” as once taught; the only way to a secure financial future is by becoming SELF MADE.
The self-made economy helps women gain economic freedom and empowers them to take control of their financial futures. Without becoming a detriment to herself or others, the self-made woman finds a way to use her networks to leverage what she has and earn what she needs. She is all about doing-it-herself and anyone else willing to invest themselves can do the same. Now is the optimum time for women everywhere to begin taking the steps to achieve her dreams by becoming SELF MADE.
You’ve Got to Work, Why Not Own It?
Everyone has a choice. They can spend their talent to build someone else’s business, or they can invest in building their own. Those who are self-made invest in building their own and hire those who don’t to help them build. However, we understand most people cannot afford to quit their jobs and focus on building a business or brand.
It is a wise to work for others starting out to gain the experience, people skills, and exposure necessary to launch a business in the future. Corporations are great avenues to develop business and service skills that will help in entrepreneurship. Many self-made entrepreneurs start out as a full-time employees and part-time entrepreneurs because they cannot afford to quit their day job to build their businesses; let’s be honest, they need the day-job to help FUND the businesses! There is absolutely nothing wrong with (ethically) operating a business as a “side-hustle” until it takes off.
The road is tough and it takes time, sacrifice and hard work, but so does working hard and barely making ends meet. Yes, it may be difficult, but with the right support, determination, and skill, anyone can become self-made, no matter what they face.
Understanding the Self-Made Audience
As the economy becomes self-made, so do consumers; the key to reaching these consumers is understanding what they like. This new generation of consumers is driven by engaging experiences that allow them to be hands-on. They enjoy being “in the know” and love being among the first to try out new gadgets or tools that can help them grow both personally and professionally.
Self-made consumers are also creators of entrepreneur-focused applications, like Uber and Lyft; and self-published authors and bloggers with a heavy influence on a variety of social networks. Like self-made individuals in business, the self-made consumer enjoys collaborating to develop new business ideas and they are experts at crowdsourcing to gain the funds they need to see their ideas through.
These consumers enjoy having a good time and they appreciate integrity, transparency and boldness in entertainment. Since they have their own brands, they love interacting with content they can personalize and share across their networks. They know their voice and they are unafraid to use it to express their pleasure or displeasure – especially when it comes to products and services.
The self-made consumer has access to vast networks of knowledge and they know how to use them to build their expertise (and let others know when they are wrong). They watch television shows that showcase the entrepreneur experience, listen to knowledge building podcasts, and read industry magazines, journals, newsletters, and forums to ensure they remain knowledgeable on industry changes and trends.
The self-made consumer is informed and they know what they want. Brands are aware of this and they are coordinating their products and services to meet the demands of the self-made consumer. If the self-made entrepreneur wants to impress these consumers, they must always be well-informed, technologically savvy, and “in-the-know.”
We understand how overwhelming it can be to even start the process but there’s no need to fret! There are a number of programs offering free or low-cost tools and education for self-made entrepreneurs at all stages. Even if someone has zero experience, there are programs through the Small Business Administration, Technical Procurement Centers and community development organizations that offer trainings to develop new entrepreneurs and, in some cases, provide one-on-one counseling or mentoring.
Online sites like Score.org offer online training and development courses for entrepreneurs at all levels. The Small Business Administration’s website also offers a number of free online training programs which provide a certificate upon completion – a great addition to any portfolio. There are number of loan, grant, crowdfunding and angel funds or investment networks that specifically cater to minorities, immigrants, and women; and networking groups provide avenues for business mentorship, collaboration, networking and additional funding leads. They also serve as a great avenue of support when things are overwhelming.
To get started, visit the ALL ABOUT YOU section of our website where we have compiled a valuable list of organizations, networks and programs that offer business training and development, networking, and access to funding that for entrepreneurs, students and professionals.
Anyone who wants to succeed must take risks to create opportunities for themselves where they may not be available. Those who do must commit to remaining disciplined and persevere throughout the process to see it pay off. With practice, anyone can develop habits that help them along the self-made path. With all of the resources and free money available to encourage individuals to build – the only thing holding anyone back, is themselves.