Do you ever have clarity so stark that it’s hard to even put into words?
That’s how I feel about a project my husband and I will be leading at our church this summer. It brings together several seemingly separate values in an innovative way, and I’m so thankful we get to lead it. We’re calling it “Startup Summer,” and it’s a 5-week course based on Chris Guillebeau’s book, The $100 Startup.
If you live anywhere near Corpus Christi, you should sign up and join us. If you don’t, you should get the book and form a group with some friends.
I believe this idea is a very big deal, and I’ll explain why.
Last October, the “Occupy” movement came to Corpus Christi. I’ll admit it irked me, and I wrote a blog post called “Occupy your life.”
The world has changed dramatically in the last few years. Young people are realizing that their education isn’t an express ticket to success, and it hurts. The introduction to Michael Ellsberg’s The Education of Millionaires summarizes the feeling well.
You have been fed a lie. The lie is that if you study hard in school, get good grades, get into a good college, and get a degree, then your success in life is guaranteed. This might have been true fifty years ago. But it is no longer true today.
If you want to succeed now, then you must also educate yourself in the real-world skills, capabilities, and mind-sets that will get you ahead outside of the classroom.
We want the world to go back “to the way it was” when things were different, more predictable. I think that train has already left the station. And I’m not sure any amount of protesting will bring it back, mostly because there’s no single point of control. If our economies could magically be “fixed” by the powers that be (however you define that), wouldn’t it have happened by now?
You can still “occupy” Wall Street and City Hall if you’d like. But I think you’ll get more results if you “occupy” your own life.
We have a choice. We can throw a temper tantrum about how unfair it is that the game has changed, or we can figure out how to play by the new rules. I choose option number two, and I hope everyone else does too. I believe it’s the only way we’ll turn things around.
I believe this book and the ideas it represents are a tangible way to succeed in our modern economy, and there’s another myth I want to challenge. When I have this conversation with people for the first time, their reply is usually that starting a business is “risky.”
In an interview with Scott Dinsmore, here’s how Chris replied to that question:
Entrepreneurship has traditionally been viewed as risky because it involves investment and uncertainty. But these days, you can start a business in a short amount of time, using the skills you already have and without spending a lot of money. Even if success takes a few iterations to achieve, there is very little downside.
Contrast this reality with the reality of today’s job market. Real unemployment among young people, even college graduates, is often 15% or more. Many people are underemployed by working at Starbucks or taking other low-level jobs because they can’t find work in the field for which they trained. Layoffs are rampant, and most “real jobs” allow for little flexibility or real advancement.
Which is the safer choice?
If you’re looking for something different, or if you’ve realized the traditional path isn’t working anymore, come test this idea out with us. We believe it’s applicable to all ages and educational levels. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.