Guest Article: Self-Employment as a Form of Preparedness, by S.G.

As the economy in the United States becomes increasingly complex, job opportunities continue to shift toward specialized skills. Employees working at large companies are required to have little or no understanding of how their company operates as a whole.

Like any specialized tool, many employees have become useful for only one thing. This presents a real problem for workers who get laid off or fired, because finding another job with a specialized skill set can be a difficult task.

A side effect of this problem is an increasing dependence on our interconnected system. Necessities like food and water are expected to always be provided and available at the local Wal-Mart in exchange for the dollars earned performing a totally unrelated task. While this type of monetary system is inevitable in an advanced society to some degree, the dominance of large companies over local businesses creates an extremely dangerous situation.

When a strong local economy exists, local businesses and community members can pull together to provide necessary items in a collapse. This type of resiliency in a community is somewhat of a rarity in the U.S. today. Our supply system has become so delicate that any disruption could prevent the delivery of even our most basic necessities.

A real collapse could leave entire communities in the dark. Communities made up of people who have skills that no longer apply.

Why Self-Employment is a Great Way to Prepare

I enjoy reading articles about prepping. So much that I created a web site, Survival Pulse, where I read hundreds of blogs each day and link to my favorite articles. Many of the articles that I have both read and linked to recommend learning skills that can be applied in a SHTF scenario. I think this is a great idea and a good way to guarantee that you can provide value to your community.

Today though, I would like to explain how being self-employed in any type of business can improve your chances of survival if SHTF.

Reduce Your Risk of Job Loss – There are many who believe a complete economic collapse is headed in our direction. Even if a collapse doesn’t happen overnight, there is no doubt that economic changes are affecting the stability of the job market. For one example, changes in health care law are causing employers in my area to cut hours and benefits, even for full time employees.

Despite economic changes, businesses will always find ways to make a profit. It is the employee whose head is on the chopping block if things get tight. You can avoid the risk of being laid off or fired by creating your own income stream. While some people associate self-employment with risk, there is nothing more secure than not having to rely on someone else for your paycheck.

Understanding the Big Picture – Most individuals that spend their careers as employees have no idea what is required to make a business succeed. Business owners fully understand what it takes to make an idea come to life. While it might not seem like it matters, this ability allows an individual to have a more realistic perspective and become a better decision maker.

Decision making and perspective are two keys to survival if/when TEOTWAWKI arrives. Being able to gauge the likelihood of a project or mission succeeding could save time, energy, and even your life. A decision like whether you should bug in or bug out could determine your fate. You will be forced to make this type of decision with whatever limited information is available. For business owners, making important decisions based on limited information is just another day at the office.

Providing Leadership in a Collapse – In a post-collapse world there will be an endless number of missions that need to be completed ranging anywhere from building latrines to guard duty. The unprepared masses will be lost and in need of direction. Being a prepared individual with leadership skills will make it easy for you to direct small groups toward accomplishing goals. Without leadership, even a small number of people can become chaotic very quickly.

Strengthened Resolve – On the way to building a successful business, entrepreneurs are met with constant setbacks and challenges. This forces the development of a “never give up” attitude and an underlying belief and confidence in oneself.

Most of us will agree that life after a collapse would be full of challenges that test your resolve, day in and day out. Having the will and the confidence to push forward despite harsh conditions will not only increase your chances of survival, but also boost the morale of those around you.

Post-Collapse Community Building – There is strength in numbers. Surviving any long term disaster will likely require small communities to form so that your entire group’s needs can be met. Having multiple people that are able to perform critical tasks within a community will also make the group more resilient in the event that something should happen to one or more of the group’s leading members.

By using business skills to build relationships and lead projects in a small community, you strengthen the bond between community members and help make friends out of people that might have been enemies if you hadn’t been there. Of course, this also means that you will be considered a valuable member of the community and have a whole group of people that are watching your back.

Working Under Pressure – As an employee of a business, the quality of your decisions and your work can get you a raise at best or get you fired at worst. While this definitely creates some pressure for you to perform, you can always go out and get another job. Additionally, this environment often leads to workers doing the minimum required amount of work and simply going through the motions.

Business owners on the other hand are under constant pressure to perform. When building a business from the ground up, every decision pushes you toward success or failure. If you don’t give it your best effort you will likely fail and lose all of the time and money you invested.

After a person works under pressure for some time, it starts to feel natural. For this reason I feel a self-employed individual is better suited to handle the pressure of post-collapse life.

Networking – No business succeeds all by itself. Networking is virtually a requirement to make it happen. Effective networking creates opportunities and benefits for all parties involved.

Regardless of how prepared you are, you are going to need some help to survive in a post-collapse world. Networking and negotiating with other groups of survivors could open up opportunities for the trade of goods and services.

Personal Responsibility – Somewhere on the way to success, I believe all entrepreneurs take personal responsibility for their situation. This means not blaming outside factors for their success or failure.

After any major disaster, it could be very easy to have a “woe is me” kind of attitude. By taking personal responsibility for your situation you will realize that your actions, not luck, are going to determine whether or not you survive.

The Ability to Adapt – The ability to quickly adapt to a new set of rules (or the lack of rules) in society is one of the most important keys to surviving a SHTF situation. For example, realizing there are no police coming to help you could change the situations you are willing to enter as well as your level of caution when interacting with other people.

Business owners are forced to constantly adapt to changing technology and market places. If not, their business could lose money and eventually fail.

I’m sure you can see the parallel between keeping your business alive and keeping yourself alive when SHTF. If a true collapse occurs, you are going to need to accept that the world has changed. You can change with it and learn to thrive, or you can stick to your old ways and likely die.

Not Being Afraid to Act – The fear of failing can prevent a person from taking action. Without taking action there is clearly no chance that you can succeed.

In a world WROL every action is going to have to some inherent risk. To be successful, a business owner must become good at taking calculated risks. Having this type of real world experience will allow them to act quickly without being paralyzed by fear.

Business owners also realize that mistakes will be made, opportunities will be missed, and not every decision will be the right one. Knowing this won’t stop them from taking action though, because they realize you can’t succeed if you are too afraid to act.

In Closing

Starting your own business takes a lot of work but it can be extremely rewarding. Throughout the process you will gain a ton of useful skills and qualities that can be applied in other aspects of life.

I believe these same skills and qualities can be applied directly in a SHTF scenario. If you have ever thought about starting your own business, I hope this article has given you some more motivation to take the leap.

Good luck!

Editor’s Note: This article was written by the editor of Survival Pulse, a great daily aggregator of preparedness-related info from around the web.