Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Accidental Entrepreneur

The accidental entrepreneur - now that's a killer title. And, as far as I am concerned, it may be the first breath of fresh air I've seen in the media about what positive outcomes can come from struggle (aka the recession). The New York Times just printed an article about how Unemployment can Lead to Entrepreneurship. I find it fascinating and inspiring.

Here's an interesting excerpt:

"... [T]he lack of a steady paycheck, often-inadequate health insurance and the sheer emotional stress of being unemployed, may prevent many people from setting out on their own.

But research on what is known as post-traumatic growth has found that some people become more resilient when faced with adversity, says Shawn Achor, a Harvard researcher. Creativity surges, he says, as they adapt to a new situation.

“Their brain is actually learning at a faster pace than when they are not challenged,” Mr. Achor says. “As a result of this, some individuals, the accidental entrepreneurs, they are the ones who in the midst of crisis actually respond with growth.”

In a report this summer on innovation, Ernst & Young wrote, “Experience shows that entrepreneurs should not give up on start-ups in a down economy.”

Makes you wonder: If unemployment knocks on your door tomorrow, what would you do? Would you try to find a job similar to the one you just left, or would you summon your inner creativity and take the huge risk of starting your own business?

While I can't say I've started my own creative business during this recession, I do know I've exercised my creativity more than usual.

In an effort to save money, we've tried to be more mindful of extraneous expenses. We decided that instead of buying beer, we would make it; instead of going out, we would entertain; instead of buying gifts, we'd make them; and instead of hotels on trips, we'd crash on family & friends' couches. Not only has this method been a great success, but we've certainly had our share of fun along the way.

Maybe some day we'll all be Accidental Entrepreneurs.