All posts by Tony Bacigalupo

Charlie: “In this economy, we’re all entrepreneurs”

Charlie O’Donnell, a well-known entrepreneur and community organizer in NYC, wrote a great post about the entrepreneurial mentality can help in a recession:

You have a product–yourself–that you are solely responsible for. You have to discover, target, and pitch your prospects to survive.  It’s like a new market where there aren’t any established sales channels and you’ve got to convince your first customer that spending money with you will bear both immediate and future benefit.

This is something few have ever been taught how to do–how to get someone to fight for you in the budget because they really need you.  Anyone can get a job when there’s an opening, but can you get a company to create a position for you after they just cut 15% of their staff?

Enter the era of sink or swim–with a newfound focus on taking personal responsibility for outcomes. I’m seeing two types of people out on the job market right now.  Some people are sitting by the phone waiting for offers or even interviews and other people are getting out there doing the interviewing themselves–informational interviews–and trying to drum up a sale.  I suggested to a young professional last week that they get a blog with their own domain. Then I saw “learning about nameservers” (part of the technical process of getting a custom URL for your blog) in their Twitter account. That person doesn’t have to do a lot to convince me that they will make an immediate and positive ROI impact at their next job–and that’s the only thing that’s going to matter in his economy.

“How are you going to help us make more money than we’re spending on you?” is an interview question too few of us are prepping for.  It’s not just a matter of having the right answer, but also having the skills to back it up.  Do you know exactly what skills you’d need to have to get fought for in a budget meeting while layoffs are going on?

(emphasis mine)


1. The advent of the Internet is a disruptive force that has only begun to change the way we work and live.

2. Many of the jobs that have been lost in the recession are not coming back.

3. A recession, while unfortunate in the short term, gives us a chance to rethink the way we do things.

4. So long as you are alive and healthy, you are capable of achieving a lot through ingenuity and hard work.

5. Regardless of the state of the economy, if you find a way to create something of value that people will pay for, you cannot lose.

6. Coincidentally, this is also one of the best things individuals can do to help revitalize the economy.

7. If you follow your passion, create something of value, and work, everybody wins.

Wheels Up

Your severance package, if you got one, buys you time to figure out what to do next.

Maybe you want to go back to employed life, but maybe this time you don’t. Maybe this is your chance to strike out on your own.

Your severance package has cut you free. Now you have some runway. By the end of the runway, you need to be flying.

We’re here to help.