I read an article about this past week’s jobless claims report. Almost 39 million people have filed for unemployment insurance benefits in the last nine weeks. I’m hopeful that each of these people will find employment quickly and minimize the financial disruption of their life. But what happens if they can’t? More than likely, our communities are facing prolonged dark days.
When employment options are thin on the ground, supplementing income with side hustles is common. These endeavors start at a micro scale. They’re simplistic and crude. But they can be gateways to lifelong entrepreneurial journeys. A side hustle usually involves testing on a small scale and growing organically as you achieve product–market fit and customer awareness. Then one day you look up and you have a thriving company generating meaningful revenue, with real customers and real employees. You’ve created a company of value that has an impact on people in the company and in the community.
If high levels of unemployment remain with us for long, I predict a surge in people trying their hands at side hustles. I believe that with more awareness, resources, and mentoring, a wave of successful entrepreneurs can emerge from the gloom we’re enduring. They will positively affect their communities via employment and other activities that stimulate the economy. They will also inspire the next wave of entrepreneurs by facilitating proximity to success. Entrepreneurship is one element that, alongside coordinated programs and other efforts in the community, can be a positive force in transitioning a community from troubles to prosperity.
How could we help aspiring entrepreneurs succeed during this difficult time?