While there are many people finding themselves more fearful than ever, there are others who are more excited than ever. Here’s why…
- The rules of safety and courage have changed. Since the industrial revolution, employee-ism has surged. During this time, getting a job to work for somebody else was the safe thing to do. On the other side of the coin the risky, courageous act of working for oneself is what brings riches. As a result, each person has been faced with a choice to pursue either safety or riches. Part of what made employee-ism the safe bet for an individual is the stability of companies as well as what has become the largest store of non-real estate wealth in our country: holdings in the stock market. This year we have seen the rules of the game permanently changed. Our financial system is crashing, and trustworthiness has evaporated from corporate America and the financial services industry. Now working for yourself is no longer the courageous thing to do; it’s the safe thing to do.
- Technology has brought immense power to everybody. Personal computers and the internet are now available to just about everyone. This has made some very expensive things become cheap or free. This has made it possible to do things that were previously impossible. There is no longer a need for every transaction to take place in a physical location. Needs and desires are able to be fulfilled online. In many circumstances, the large corporation cannot compete with the one-man shop. Today a person can start and run several businesses for little or no money. Taking something and creating or increasing its value has never been more accessible.
- Arbitrage has never been easier to find and profit from. Arbitrage is the process of equalizing values. When two similar or identical assets can be bought at different prices in different markets, arbitrageurs show up to buy the assets in the lower priced market and sell them in the higher priced market. This act itself will usually bring the prices together in both markets. People have been “arbing” since the beginning of time. A farmer grows corn, and there is a town close by where he sells his corn. He discovers that in an other town further down the road, his corn will sell for more. He takes it there and enjoys increased profits for a period of time. In the book The 4 Hour Work Week, Tim Ferriss discusses geo-arbitrage. He describes this as the act of spending time in foreign locations that have a lower cost of living without reducing your standard of living – in fact he offers case studies in which people have largely upgraded their standard of living while maintaining or lowering their expenses. Anyone who can run their business over the internet will have the opportunity to enjoy geo-arbitrage. More change brings more arbitrage. We find ourselves in a time when change has never been more rapid or significant. Arbitrage has also never been more abundant.
I believe we’re moving into a time when self employment will replace much of the employee-ism of our recent history. Self employment today is quite different than just working a job for your own company. Owning a business in our rapidly changing, technology-armed environment allows you to disconnect your compensation from your time. Once your business can function independent of your personal time, you can develop additional streams of income and find ways to improve your businesses.
Every person, every government, and every company in the world is feeling the pressing of tremendous forces. Some of them include rising gas prices, rising food prices, rising real estate prices, falling real estate prices, unemployment, competition, etc. All of these problems create a demand for solutions. In some scenarios, large businesses with thousands of employees are too cumbersome to make changes as effectively as small businesses. As long as we continue to see change, there will be growing opportunity for small businesses to make the world a better place and profit in the course of doing so.
I believe self employment, responsibility, and self directed wealth management will become more common than the unnatural dependence of our recent years. There will be little opportunity for fraud and corruption once we have moved our wealth and power into our own hands.