Scott Burns, a noted financial columnist, posted a column about a woman who showed that the recent economic upheavals did not have to end in disaster. Kristen Hertel had been a successful employee of a large real estate brokerage firm. When the bottom dropped out, Hertel determined to go out on her own but she was smart about it. She got her licenses and opened, not one, but four small businesses, each of which answered a particular niche in the market. These businesses also looked at target customers who have a higher budget for the types of services she offered.
Two of her businesses that arose out of the housing crisis specialized in short sales. She provided sellers and realtors with the tools and services to complete the short sale with less hassle. Another business offered more mainstream services such as title and closing services. The fourth provides outsourcing for real estate agent support.
The word for quite some time has been to keep up your knowledge base and broaden your experiences and skills. Something else to think about is what you could do with those skills if jobs were scarce. Not all of us are cut out to run our own businesses, but with entrepreneurs like Hertel there will always be smaller niche businesses that could offer you a way to start a new career or advance the one you have. Granted, benefits may be slim, but if you are working, you are keeping up your experience and gaining new insights, much more so than acquiring a degree. Smaller businesses can also offer a broader range of experience because everyone tends to wear multiple hats.
With this in mind, when you are keeping up with news in your industry or interests, make sure to include start-ups and other new businesses related to your field. Find out what they do and keep it in mind if you ever find yourself on the receiving end of the proverbial pink slip.
Here are links to Hertel’s companies:
No matter what field you are in, there are always support businesses for it. Don’t neglect them in your job search or when going out on your own.