If you want to know what happens to a small town when most of the jobs disappear, look at West Virginia. The coal miners who’s families worked for generations digging and mining the coal to build America have been devastated. This article was published in the Wall Street Journal well before the elections. Now, the fear is even greater that small towns in West Virginia and other coal mining job-rich states could get worse.
The latest figures on state unemployment show North Dakota losing 22,700 jobs in February 2016 from a year ago, West Virginia shedding 11,700 and Wyoming dropping 8,800 over the same period, the Labor Department said Friday.
Coal miners in West Virginia are not alone. Choose any small town in America today and you will see that where traditional jobs once paid for the normal things we all want out of life; a stable source of income we use to pay for the roof over our heads, the food on the table, the cars in the driveway, Little League uniforms, tutoring, dance lessons, and anything else we think we need and want to live happily. Savings? Not even part of the discussion when you’re fighting for your life.
I have incredible empathy for anyone who loses their primary source of income. Especially the good health to wake up and perform a job for which we get paid. I know because I lost both my health and my primary source of income many years ago. Let me assure you that it was one of the most terrifying and unsettling things to lose your income, job, business, savings and health all at the same time. The only left was my mind, and that was even a close call at the darkest of times.
The good news is I bounced back. No, I couldn’t or wouldn’t get a normal “job.” I started a small business as a consultant. I sold air; time, strategic and tactical thinking and solutions that helped other small business owners to get better sales, marketing and business results. I have worked with hundreds of small business owners over the years. I am a small business owner because I don’t want to go to work and have to perform jobs I don’t feel completely passionate about doing every day!
What qualifies me to work with anyone else who needs help starting, funding, selling, marketing, managing technology, people and more? I’ve done it more than once and continue to help countless people build the small business and life of their dreams. Today, I get to help people start, manage and build companies. But it wasn’t always this way. I will never forget what it felt like to lose almost everything. I had incredible support at the time. Otherwise who knows what would have happened and I’ve had well over a decade to reflect on this.
Being unemployed is one of the worst feelings in the world. Having no sense of how to create a new source of income, whether a decent job that gets us by, or somehow starting a small service business like a landscaping business of one, window cleaning, food cart, buying and selling used cars and many other ways to reinvent not only your career or business path, but make enough to stay in the game and plow forward to the next opportunity.
I remember the time I was about to lose my last real job working for a fancy hotel company back in 1990. It was my first career. And I had wanted to start my own business from a young age because my father and mother were both successful entrepreneurs having owned and operated a hotel, restaurant, small ski area, marina, tennis complex, condominium development and a residential real estate brokerage called Old Mill Properties that still exists today.
The day I convinced my wife to quit that job before I got fired was another one of the most terrifying, yet liberating, times in my life. We had no money, bundles of credit card debt, two baby boys, a stay-at-home mom/wife who was looking at me like I was out of my mind. I was out of my mind to rent a Uhaul and borrow just enough money to move back to Arizona where we had lived before moving to the “career move” I still describe as the job from hell.
What does this have to do with coal miners in West Virginia who are looking for news ways to reinvent themselves and get back on their feet? Everything!
I wonder often, “Hey, you’ve been unemployed and had to reinvent yourself from scratch more than once in your life. What would it take to teach these people in EVERY SMALL TOWN IN AMERICA OVER THE INTERNET how to create their own job working online, like I do all day?”
The answer I replied to myself with is, “Easy. Write an article about it. See what happens if you tell people you will help learn what you did to reinvent yourself four times so far in my life to get to the point today where I can wake up every day and go to work doing what I love … helping people start, fund and market their own personal brands, small businesses and how to be great FREELANCERS who I pay no less than $30 an hour.
Know what the average coal miner in West Virginia used to make before their world imploded? Check out the average income of people in coal mining … $22 plus an hour.
What Else Is There?
What kinds of jobs could people in small towns across America learn to create? I use the word “create” because this is NOT about getting a JOB. It’s not about getting anything other than what you decide you really want for you and your family if you live in a small town in America and you find yourself with the income or work you once enjoyed.
The simple solution is to reinvent yourself and learn a new skill! Is it ever too late for a willing and able human to learn a new skill and turn their life around? NO!
So what kinds of jobs could you create if you really put your mind to it and followed up the way you do for the thing you love most, whatever that is?
Here’s a short list of jobs you can create by working as a freelancer or get hired as a part-time or full-time employee. In my experience it’s much easier to get hired part-time as a contractor because I can make myself flexible, affordable and immediately available to solve someone else’s problem so they can get what they want for their business; sales and marketing that gets results because that’s what we do. (I’m sure I’m leaving many out so feel free to add a comment below to contribute to the conversation.)
- Website designer.
- Website programmer.
- Desktop publisher.
- Proof reader.
- Email marketing.
- Blog management.
- Social media management.
- Pay per click advertising.
- Outbound selling.
- Inbound selling.
- Myriad other examples requiring varying degrees of skill, talent, and internet access.
So what’s best for you? If you don’t know and you’re not clear on what to do next, ask for help. Get online, go to the library, read new books, get a mentor, check out blogs like this, sign up for newsletters, and do whatever it takes to keep learning, earning and growing.
What I can tell you is if you look at the services page on our website you’ll see a bunch of services you might learn to do really well. We’ve hired many freelancers and independent contractors over the years and there is an abundance of work available for the ready, willing and super motivated to get your butt in gear and build something better than you’ve got now.
One of the best places to look for an abundance of freelancer jobs is Upwork. I also recommend Career Builder and lots of other resources online to get your brain and heart inspired to reinvent yourself, no matter what kind of job you had or what small town you live in today. There is always hope when you strive to improve yourself, even if you’re really down. If you won’t help you first, who will?
Stay In the Game!
This is what it takes to stay in the game … reinvent yourself, stay lean, keep expenses and stress low, build your network, do service work, learn, and never stop. Get help and commit to doing whatever it takes.
Want more help on this topic? Next step for me is maybe I’ll create a webinar or email series or something like this.
Why? Because that’s what I decided to do to reinvent myself when I was last unemployed, bummed out, no income, not much savings and a very patient wife wondering when I was going to get back in the game.
If you’re in the same situation as the coal miners in West Virginia, I am sorry for what you’re going through. My parents and I both lost incomes, businesses, assets, pride, joy, and health in order to some how, some way, muster the energy to wake up again tomorrow and give it our best shot.
What are you going to do to reinvent yourself and give it your next, best shot? Because being able to reinvent yourself is the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Got a question, comment or need a second opinion about building the small business and life of your dreams? Contact me here.