Finding Oppotunities & Creating Solutions

November 6, 2013

By: Kelly Diamond, Publisher

(This piece is a little hat-tip to our own Bobby Casey.  I saw the story and the headline and couldn’t help but think of Bobby’s story and how he came to be the businessman he is today.)

finding opportunities creating solutionsIs it just me or are there some scrappy folks in the world taking life by the collar and building dreams from scratch!?  Times are, to say the least, tumultuous… in some places more so than others.  In places like Detroit or even Latvia, there are some people who are taking advantage of the opportunities down times offer. 

You don’t need to live where an economic steam roller just ploughed through to take advantage of what is really a global condition: sign up for GWP Insiders here and find out how you can parlay a downturn into an uptick today!

As it turns out, Latvia’s youth are suffering from higher unemployment that the general unemployment numbers would have you believe.  That’s seems to be true throughout the world: Australia and the United States are no exception to this.  There are several contributing factors to this, with about one to three degrees of separation from some sort of government nonsense. 

In an economic downturn, people are often conditioned to believe their situation is hopeless or that they must wait for an “innovative” politician to solve this for them.  In reality though, if you take away the stability and comfort of a steady nine-to-five job, what do you get? 

  • You take away any further excuses for why one would NOT start their own venture! 
  • You take away the bird in the hand and compel some folks to go seek out the two in the bush. 
  • You get a sink or swim situation, and watch how many really can swim!

There is a story about the Baal Shem Tov (a Jewish holy man of sorts) who goes from town to town collecting for those in need, and reporting on the news of the region to the local townsmen.  Sometimes the way he operates can appear odd to on-lookers.  In one story, he asks a poor man for 18 rubles.  He sold off some of what he had along with his only cow to offer that amount.  When rent came due, he couldn’t afford it and had to leave.  He sold off the rest of his things, moved to another village and bought another cow.  He winds up the trusted dairy provider of a wealthy man, who ultimately bequeaths his entire estate to him.  There are variations of this particular story, but the important lesson in all of it is sometimes the comfortable excuses need to be taken out from under us to give us the push we need to do better.

In layman’s terms: A kick in the ass is still a move forward.

I wrote about some of the interesting developments in Detroit not long ago after it hit rock bottom.  Some of the innovations and start-ups out there are simply wonderful in that they are providing private services directly to the individuals without first being laundered through the government… and they are working! did a four-part series called “Anarchy in Detroit”.  It covered a “mower gang” which consisted of a group of volunteers and their lawn mowers cleaning up a run down public park; what private police or security services could look like in a stateless society; squatter cooperatives; and an attempt to privately purchase an island on the Detroit river and create a libertarian cooperative!  These are all inspirational ideas on what private citizens are capable of when government is removed from the equation in the slightest way.

Now I’m looking at Latvia.  Nestled in the Baltics just south of Estonia, there is a growing number of Under 30’s taking life into their own hands and turning their personal interests and trade skills into businesses!  Everything ranging from a tech innovation think-tank called TechHub, to a little bar and cultural center, the young and unemployed are forging out and making their way!

Is this the majority of the youthful unemployed?  No.  But it is a growing movement amongst younger generations who are sick and tired of waiting for government officials to do something.  Naturally, in order to justify their jobs, politicians and bureaucrats are claiming there are things they can do to really move the needle.  Really?  Because it’s been about 5 years and nothing’s really changed.  Naturally, they resort to the only form of market manipulation they have in their toolbox: force… or better yet, bribing them with tax-payer dollars.

The OECD [Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development] this month released a study that called for European governments to adopt sweeping measures to combat unemployment, including eliminating protective barriers around industries, encouraging banks to give more loans to deserving businesses and providing subsidies to employers who hire new workers,” writes Michael Birnbaum of the Washington Post.

Naturally, government goons will be the nay-sayers in every private sector silver lining.  Their jobs depend on it!  So they trivialize and marginalize, offering tokens of praise while ultimately saying, “You need government.”

That sentiment is only half right: You need government…… to get out of the way!

But while the government numbskulls are having their meetings and summits and sessions and whatnot, folks like 28 year old Toms Erenpriess, have started their own business based on the only trade he knew.  He WAS restoring vintage bikes, but business slowed.  So he decided to think bigger, and now he’s manufacturing bicycles that emulate the style of bikes seen in the 1920’s.  He’s sold out his first year, plans to double the amount the next year and has upped his staff from four to nine people.  He is now exporting his bicycles.

(In addition to the Latvian setting, the whole bicycle thing reminded me of Bobby as well since one of the first businesses he started involved assembling bicycles for large vendors.)

So not only is it all about getting kicked out of our comfort zones, but it’s about carving out our own path to success during hard times rather than waiting for someone else to do it for us.  Opportunities are everywhere, if you are willing to look for them.  Sometimes you need the time to find them, other times they will find you.

Wherever this finds you, I hope you are actively seeking out ways to capitalize off a down market.  If you are interested in other ideas on how to do just that, click here to tap into GWP Insiders!

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