Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

Archive for April 2015

When Times Get Tough, Get Tougher

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By Cecil Scaglione

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Answers to all the economic arguments lead to a definite “Maybe.” Are we still in a recession, or is it a depression? Are we moving out of one or both? Is a massive inflation-driven Fed-fed stock-market crash stumbling over the horizon?

Retailers claim consumer buying is down. Home prices are rising. The number of added jobs announced each month are proclaimed by politicians to be encouraging but the unemployment rate remains static while hiring has dropped.

So it’s time to take things into your own hands, especially if you’re in the 40-plus age bracket and have been forced out a job by layoffs, downsizing, economic cutbacks or whatever the definition given for your severance. Instead of the harrowing hunt for a regular paycheck, you might look into providing a service that the downsized companies still need.

Corporate America has learned it can get along with fewer employees, thanks to the rocketing development of computer and telecommunications technologies. At the same time, younger workers are more transient and no longer join a firm with plans to stay on the job until they retire with the proverbial gold watch. So what does all this mean to you?

It’s the era of the free-lancer, the small-business operator, the sole proprietor, the entrepreneur. While companies large and small have discovered they don’t need such a large work force as has been traditionally assumed, it doesn’t mean they don’t need the same level of production or service. Companies still need packages delivered, bills paid, machines and equipment maintained, inventory controlled, accounting kept up to date, marketing counsel, management consulting, employee training and on and on and on, that can be, and is being, provided by outside vendors.

And, as outside vendors make more money devoting their time to business, they, too, become buyers of other services, such as babysitting, landscaping, animal-care, catering and many others. So take advantage of it.

It’s as simple as renting out your address for mail delivery. It costs you nothing and the people who pay the fee come around to pick it up. If you want to make more money, you can offer to deliver the mail for a fee. You can house- or pet-sit for people who have to go out of town to work, or go on vacation. If you speak other languages — German, for example — you can earn money as a guide to tourists who visit your area from foreign lands: in this case, Germany. A foreign tongue also can make you money as a courtroom translator.

If you decide to go into business and be your own boss, there is one rule to adopt: this is a business. It isn’t a hobby or a part-time job. However, you can turn that hobby or part-time job into a full-time business.

Always look professional. One colleague, a marketing consultant who works out of an office at home, never leaves the house without wearing a shirt and tie, even if he’s just going to the post office or the nearest copy-machine center. Another home-office acquaintance controls her time by locking up her “office” at quitting time and not going back into it when she’s not working.



Written by Cecil Scaglione

April 4, 2015 at 11:37 am