Saturday, February 28, 2009 - 5 Friends Pooling their Talents and Resources to Create Job Security & One Really Hot Company

With the right tools and solid resources, nearly everyone has the ability to create their own job security - that's the fundamental message to readers of the Creating Job Security book series. Of course the books take readers step-by-step through this process as well. For some people, creating job security means finding out which of your talents, gifts and experiences will make you a more valuable employee. For others, self-employment is a much better option. A third group is comprised of people who prefer to receive a regular salary but who are willing to go out on a limb, work hard, and use the tools and resources they have to make ends meet through a tough economy.

One of the questions I get asked by those who express hesitation about starting a small business stems from them trying to discover something that pays the bills but that they don’t find (to put it bluntly) “beneath” them. Truly entrepreneurial types prove that there is no job too small for a person or team with passion, creativity and determination.

After much prodding by family and friends, I finally created a Facebook account in early 2008. I quickly learned that the foundation of connecting on a personal level with old friends is to supply pictures -- lots of pictures -- from before digital prints existed. This of course meant pouring through stacks of albums and then scanning photos into my all-in-one machine, onto a memory card, which then went into my computer to be cropped, sized, and otherwise fixed. Is there anything more tedious and mundane than scanning old photos?

Scanning photos doesn’t seem like something five friends, all with their MBAs from the Wharton School of Business, would be interested in doing as a full-time career. (The service they provide through is obviously more comprehensive than that!) As it turns out, these friends shared a passion for family pictures, and they went about creating an exceptional service to meet a need they couldn’t find in the marketplace. It’s a service nearly anyone with a home scanner, a computer and Photoshop could provide.

But the team is anything but ordinary; they have created a really hot company by involving technology at every level. is an exceptional example of what can be accomplished for those willing to use a comprehensive mathematical analysis like the Green Light Scoring Model found in Creating Job Security, The 2009 All-In-One Workbook at to explore your talents, hobbies and gifts and turn them into your ideal job today.

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!! Creating Job Security Resource Guide was mentioned in the national edition of this week, serving more than 60 metropolitan areas with city-specific information readers need and want to live, love, learn and work. You can read Heather Huhman’s article, “Avoiding office gossip & politics without seeming anti-social” at Creating Job Security is also on Facebook at - feel free to stop by. We’d love to have you join the club where fans are entered to win signed copies of the Creating Job Security Resource Guide, available at for $8.95.

CONTEST: Share your thoughts - inspire someone and cheer someone on. During March, order or check out at your local library a copy of "Creating Job Security Resource Guide" and write a review on Then send your friends to vote for your review. The review of Creating Job Security Resource Guide that receives the most "yes this helped me" votes by March 31, 2009 wins a $25 gift certificate from

Monday, February 23, 2009

Bank of Obama: Send a Bailout Check to Your Friends

As someone who takes the economic crisis very seriously, and is dedicated to helping job seekers find resources that will result in them finding their ideal job right now, I would never intentionally make light of the very serious situation facing millions of people. Having said that, I am also a huge believer in the value of humor and an occasional fun prank (providing you are sensitive to those you let in on the joke.)

This post (on Mashable) is an attempt at stimulus humor. Bank of Obama: Send a Bailout Check to Your Friends It is not real. It will not solve the credit crisis - nor any other real crisis. But I hope you have some fun with it like I plan to.

As long as I can remember, my sister has been talking about someday winning the lottery. So the Bank of Obama isn't the lottery, but if I send her a check for $10,000,000, I bet I can get her to at least chuckle or shake her head.

A serious post is coming soon. Enjoy this one for what it is... some light humor on a day when the markets gave us all a really ugly dose of reality.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Bad Economies Offer Good Opportunities to Try Self-Employment

Running a small business is a lot of work. Imagine taking any business based on a skill set or talent you excel at, and adding marketing, customer service, accounting (everything from inventory to taxes), and supervisory skills to it -- and you have small business. As the daughter of an apple farmer and a small business owner, I concur with those who would caution that running a small business is not for everyone; in fact, it’s not for a lot of people.

But there are also a lot of people out there who are not entrepreneurs simply because they haven’t had an opportunity.

If you have a family depending on your income to meet the mortgage, you may not have the opportunity to quit your job and try your hand at self-employment. But if you’ve been laid off, and especially if you have a severance package and unemployment benefits, you may just discover that life has handed you a rare opportunity to take a chance you never expected.

With hundreds of thousands of layoffs announced each month, imagine if just 20% of those people went into business, and became successful enough to grow their enterprises enough to employ two additional people. Over half the people laid off would have new jobs.

In most states, applying for a business license is relatively inexpensive. It’s affordable even on unemployment. In Washington State, where I’m licensed, I paid less than $35 to apply for my license and doing-business-as (DBA) names. When I started out, I used the computer I already owned, along with a desk from a garage sale and a lamp I bought on clearance. My blog was free and my Web site cost less than $200 a year for the domain name and hosting.

Like many people who originally go into business, I had personal reasons. I wanted to live near my family in the small town in Central Washington where I grew up. City life would have been more conducive to finding a job that paid what I made in Los Angeles, but I opted for quality of life over quantity of pay. Oddly enough, the cost ratio of metropolitan living means I actually have more discretionary income here than I did there.

People go into business for all kinds of reasons -- some of them personal -- some of them not. Some people opt for self-employment to be home with kids, or aging parents, or to have the flexibility to work around a spouse’s schedule. Some want to bring in a little “extra money” for the family to offset the expenses of inflation or tennis lessons for the kids. Some prefer to answer to themselves. Some want the challenge and adventure that goes with forging their own way in the world.

But for those with the gifts and the skills to make it in business -- because the truth is that you will work harder for yourself than you’ll ever work for anyone else -- a down economy can offer the perfect scenario to give that incredible dream a shot. The reality is that many small businesses will fail. But if half of the new businesses inspired by laid off workers looking to try something new were to fail, that still means half will succeed. Half will bring additional revenue and additional jobs into the economy. Half will need vendors and suppliers. Half will spend advertising dollars. Half will energize and revitalize communities from California to Maine.

If you’re thinking about starting your own business, and you have the time and the severance or unemployment benefits to fall back on, could there be a better time to launch a dream?

Credit is tight right now, but there are a lot of small business opportunities that can be launched with the tools, equipment and skills you already have. My mother’s favorite cliché when I was growing up used to be, “Poverty is the mother of invention.” Imagine growing your business from a seed, an idea, an oven, a computer, a lawnmower -- or whatever else you have that you can use to get started. Add some dirt, some work, some water, some time, and a few tips from the Small Business Administration. You might be pleasantly surprised what grows.

Debra Yergen is a U.S.-based author and journalist with experience in technology, financial software, health care and travel. She has held senior writing positions in the financial industry at firms including SunGard and Washington Mutual Bank. Debra is the author of Real Life 101, Creating Job Security: The 2009 All-In-One Workbook, published by The Graduate Group in West Hartford, Conn, and Creating Job Security Resource Guide, available for $8.95 at independent book stores and

SPECIAL NOTE: I was honored to be quoted in a warm, comforting and safe blog designed to support women who have suffered miscarriages. I was asked what sage advice I would give my 20-year-old self if I could go back and talk to her. My advice included: Enjoy Everyday, Success Is Based On Who You Are In Your Own Skin, Don’t Try To Be Older, Be Kind To Yourself, Love Your Mom, and Listen, posted on Feb 8. You can read this post and others at

Friday, February 6, 2009

Laid Off Workers - Don’t Wait By the Phone

Until the unemployment rate started pushing toward 8% nationally, most people cited “time” as their most depleted resource. Time was so precious, many people were happy to shell out a few extra bucks for conveniences that would save them time -- five minutes here, an hour there. It was the cost of doing business -- the business of life.

So it would go to reason that with nearly 8% of people unemployed, that all of these people, with all of this new-found time, would engage in all the activities they once only “openly wished” was possible. They would volunteer more at local charities, join the PTA, keep in closer contact with friends and family, and finally paint the living room that’s been “needing a fresh coat” for more than a few years now.

But it doesn’t work that way. Because as it turns out, even when the entire world understands that laid off workers are victims of a down economy, losing the reason to wake up at six o’clock every morning also takes away a great deal of the fuel that propelled a lot of folks busily and merrily from task-to-task for 12 hours straight.

When the money doesn’t come in, sacrifices have to be made. As it turns out, many folks would rather give up a home phone than the freedom a cell phone offers -- and those formerly huge minutes-per-month plans get cut back too, to the basics. And that means that when a call comes in from a friend on daytime minutes, unless it includes news about a newly posted job opening, those daytime minutes have to be saved for interviews and other job-critical calls.

At night, people aren’t staying up enjoying all those free nighttime minutes -- and weekend minutes, those aren’t being burned up either. So much of our lives are wrapped up in our jobs, that without a micro-managing boss to complain about, or the loud-talker in the cubicle next door, a lot of people don’t have anything they want to talk about. And even if they did, despite having more time than ever -- they just don’t have the energy.

For the remaining 92% still employed, self-employed, or intentionally unemployed, the best course of action is to simply give our friends their time and space. Don’t wait by the phone, or wonder why they haven’t called. They will at some point. It’s just one more way the world has once again changed.

It turns out that as critical of a resource as time is and was, maybe it’s not the only resource that matters. Maybe what’s more critical is the presence of friends who care from a distance, remain close but not too close, and know enough not to wait by the phone.

Creating Job Security was featured in USA TODAY, Tuesday February 3, on the cover of the Money section, Section B. The article was called "More families move in together.” You can read it at To purchase Creating Job Security Resource Guide for $8.95, visit

* This blog post is written in honor and memory of my very dear friend and mentor, Eileen Mintz, who lost her battle with cancer on Sunday, February 1, 2009.