A statistic from this year’s World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos is that 300 million, or nearly 1 in 4 youth, have no productive work. While government and big business wrestle with the problems of global recession and unemployment, The Economy of You, by Kimberly Palmer, gives clear and actionable advice about how to create self-employment. Or, as the author exhorts in her title, “Discover your inner entrepreneur and recession-proof your life.”
Some readers may balk at the carnival barker tone of the title, but for anyone starting out on a new venture or lying awake at night worrying about their future, this is a deliberately helpful book with thorough and timely micro-economic advice about creating a career for yourself.
The underlying observation of the book is that we live in uncertain times. Employment is no longer guaranteed, and we all need to have a back-up plan. “Careers used to be like Boeing 757s, gliding us along steadily at 30,000 feet with nary a bump during take-off and landing. Now, we’re all flying our own fighter jets,” she writes.
This is the age of the self-starter. A 2012 survey by Generation Y consultancy Millennial Branding found that one in three employers say they now look for entrepreneurship experience when evaluating potential hires. But learning the skills of entrepreneurship is also valuable for 30 to 40 year olds facing stagnant wages; well-educated, middle income, middle-aged professionals who want to build their finances before retirement; and for individuals in emerging economies who have a connection to the Internet.
Palmer – a senior editor for U.S. News & World Report’s, Alpha Consumer, advocates managing your energy, rather than your time; and your financial goals, rather than your budget. “Specific plans get sabotaged all the time,” she says. “Be very clear on your motivation. Focusing on the big-picture reason for those goals – the specifics behind financial security or a better family life – actually improves our chances of making them happen.”
The author is at her most engaging when she’s focusing the reader on their own interests. Successful entrepreneurs, she says, know what motivates them. They focus on long-standing passions, interests and skills. To achieve their goals, they minimize their expenses in both their professional and personal lives, while finding ways to invest in their venture.
Contemporary entrepreneurs rely heavily on online communities, and actively promote their brands through social media. Most importantly, they are resilient in the face of inevitable setbacks, and derive a deep sense of financial security and fulfillment from their businesses, far beyond money.
Using a breezy writing style, backed by personal experience, and detailed information, Palmer achieves her own personal goal of motivating the reader to (at very least) consider a possible future of financial independence by using their own unique skills and talents.
Author: Sheridan Jobbins is a journalist and screenwriter.
Image: A man speaks on his mobile phone in a street near the Old Street roundabout dubbed “Silicon Roundabout” in London May 28, 2013. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor