Monday, July 14, 2008

Small Steps Pave the Way

I was talking to my friend this morning about conversations we recently had with other women who were looking for opportunities to make money part-time or from home.  And if it wasn't too much to ask, they also wanted to enjoy and be challenged by the work too.  

It's a pickle in this day and age to find those type of jobs.  I mean, most of us are intimidated to start our own businesses.  And we don't love the idea of turning our home office into a call center where customer complaints are routed to us all day.  And we aren't thrilled with being a waitress or a secretary, even if it does help to make ends meet.  But...we do need to make ends meet.  So what are we to do?

Well, the reality is that our current economy isn't very friendly to the kind of arrangements we're looking for.  Small, flexible, "home-based," or part-time businesses just don't fit well into the "big is better" globalization model that is so popular these days.  If you are anything like me, though, you're still hoping for an alternative, in spite of the obstacles.  

The reality is that we have to create our own alternative economic culture where the employment opportunities we want can thrive.  Because the global economy isn't interested in our type of businesses, we have create the environment for them on our own.  We have to create our own SHEconomy.

But how do we do that? you ask.  Good question.  I think we start small, first by encouraging each other.  Whether we work or stay home, here is a short list of things we can do to get the ball rolling:
1.  support micro-business: whether you run one, want to run one, or are willing to buy from one, supporting small, flexible, community-based businesses is so important.  The more support these mini-enterprises have, the more they will succeed.  And the more they succeed, the more other enterprises like them will be able to follow.  
2.  get out of debt: not having debt frees us up to work in the kind of way we want to--not the way we have to.  It gives us more control over our economic choices because we aren't making choices based on bills.  Fortunately, there are A Ton of resources out there to help us create a debt-free plan for our lives.
3.  share resources: sometimes the new little black dress we need for our friend's wedding isn't at the store--it's hanging in our friend's closet.  Sometimes we can trade our talent (like tutoring Spanish) for a neighbor's talent (like planning killer parties), and both win without spending a dime.  I call this the "relational economy," and think we would be great at it!
4.  stay connected: the more we get together and talk about our ideas for businesses, share our struggles and fears, and encourage each other, the more successful we'll be at creating and sustaining the SHEconomy.  If we try it alone, we're doomed to fail.

I know that these steps do not automatically and immediately open doors for real, tangible, wage-earning jobs.  But they will plant the seeds for those jobs to sprout.  The SHEconomy isn't a business model--it's a lifestyle.  And it is one I think is worth living.

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