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Bookworm: Inventing a new plan for yourself

The rumblings you hear from around the office are disturbing.

Economy Of YouSomething’s happening: layoffs, downsizing, something worse, you’re not sure which. You’re afraid it’ll crumble your career. It might tear your income in half.

Every day, you go to work with hopes of riding out this latest mini-disaster. And once you read “The Economy of You,” by Kimberly Palmer, you’ll see that you can survive the upheaval.

It’s no big surprise: these days, a lot of people are un- or underemployed, or worried about becoming so. They’re concerned about their employee benefits, and definitely about retirement. That shakiness, and the inherent financial pressures, may be why many workers are turning to entrepreneurship.

“Most of us don’t even think of ourselves as entrepreneurs,” says Palmer, but “we were forced to invent a new plan for ourselves” because a traditional job “began to wobble,” benefits were cut, or personal financial obligations somehow increased.

Passions and skills

To help determine if you’ve got what it takes to be an entrepreneur, she says, think about your passions and skills. Would somebody pay you to do that which you love doing anyhow? What do you like to talk about? In what capacity do you enjoy helping people? What part of your current job do you “wish you could do more of?”

Once you’ve identified a valid way to bring a little more money into your household, “launch a test run.” See if you can market your product online (she mentions several sites you can use). Use your network to drum up business (but beware of potential conflicts with your current employer). Start blogging, look for guest-blogging opportunities, be willing to give product away initially, and establish a solid presence on social media. You’ll want maximum (free) publicity.

Leverage your day job, if it’s possible (and there’s a right way to do it!). Look for a good accountant. “Make use of slivers of time” and eliminate time-wasters. And enjoy your new gig because, with it, “life can feel a little more stable — even in an economy that isn’t.”

Feeling left out?

As I was reading “The Economy of You,” I couldn’t help but think that something was missing. The author does a great job in presenting enough success stories to light a fire in anyone who’s got the entrepreneurial spirit. That go-get-’em is infectious, but the problem is that this book leaves some people out.

There’s a lot about blogging here, to the point that I almost forgot that it’s about starting and nurturing a successful side gig, and not just about blogging. Depending on the type of business, and for a lot of entrepreneurs, that isn’t going to help much. Yes, there were examples of non-internet side gigs, but there needed to be more of them.

I think this book is useful — for the right entrepreneur. For sure, it’s worth a careful look-see, because it’s filled with great ideas and all kinds of encouragement. If that’s what you need, then you might need “The Economy of You.”

It could help you weather the next financial quake.

‘The Economy of You’

By Kimberly Palmer

Amacom $21.95 240 pages