byBrian_Burch09-28-201009:36 AM - edited 09-28-201009:36 AM
I recently had the chance to chat with small business expert and AllBusiness.com editor Rieva Lesonsky (@Rieva) about “accidental entrepreneurs,” which is what I call a new breed of business owners we’ve seen emerge over the past two years. It’s a very interesting trend that I’m sure will impact the industry in many ways.
Accidental entrepreneurs are small business owners who are driven by economic need rather than an entrepreneurial passion. This economic need is fueled by the growing unemployment rate (9.6% in July 2010) and increased competition for fewer available jobs. Skilled workers who were laid off from white collar jobs, the newly “unretired”, military veterans returning from combat and former stay-at-home spouses are leveraging their professional backgrounds to create new forms of income by starting their own business.
As MSNBC’s Allison Linn noted earlier this year, “With unemployment hovering at 10 percent and the economy still shedding jobs, many would-be employees have concluded that the best way forward is to go into business for themselves, whether they want to or not.”
So what makes accidental entrepreneurs special? The accidental entrepreneur often holds a more tactical view of business principles and models, stemming from previous professional experience, formal education and training. This may even contribute to higher success rates for these businesses as they tend to be more research driven. However, there are some lessons they can learn from more typical serial entrepreneurs driven by their passions, including:
Not every venture will be successful, so tenacity is critical to a company’s success. Accept that there will be obstacles and setbacks now and you’ll be prepared to handle them better down the line.
Build and think of how to extend your network. Attend entrepreneurs groups and connect with local business owners through a local business chamber of commerce or organization. There may be chances to collaborate or work together in the future.
Use your social media skills and join the conversation. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and others can be used to present yourself as an expert in your field and get “virtual word-of-mouth” started about your company and you as the face of the company.
Feel free to listen to the podcast I recorded with Rieva about accidental entrepreneurs if you’re interested in learning more.
If you’re an “accidental entrepreneur” and have some lessons to share, I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.