Have you ever had that moment where you “just had to do something” and your passion just flowed out of you? For many of us these moments are not common, but they are precious.
I had one of those moments late this summer. Our family had taken a camping trip to a rustic campground on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I knew that I wouldn’t have any cell phone or internet service. Therefore, I grabbed a book I had been reading, Day Job to Dream Job, by Kary Oberbrunner.
One morning, while I was up early and enjoying the quiet, I was reading the book. I came across a chapter where Kary talked about writing a manifesto. Kary wrote that a manifesto is a short declaration of your intent. He pointed out that throughout history, Manifesto’s have changed the world.
I realized that I “had to write” the Small Business Manifesto. It was burning inside of me. I grapped my IPad and keyboard and within 30 minutes I had written this manifesto. I have edited slightly, but what you read below is what I wrote that morning. I believe it speaks for itself.
If you would like to download a PDF “ebook” version of this manifesto you can click here.
This is the Small Business Manifesto, a declaration of purpose, a rallying cry for all those who believe that the revival of small business in America and around the world can transform our lives, our families, our communities and our nations.
In 2007-2009 America and the world experienced the “Great Recession”
The crash of the housing bubble, the crisis in the financial markets and runaway consumer debt plunged the United States and the world into financial turmoil.
- Massive industries and employers were affected and millions of jobs were lost, never to be seen again.
- Unemployment rose
- Income levels dropped
- The number of people working dropped as people gave up hope of finding a job.
- Government subsidies and unemployment checks were handed out, but that only put a band-aid on the situation.
Until this time a “Good job” with “good benefits, for a good company was seen as the ultimate goal.
These “Good Jobs” provided…
- Steady paycheck
- Retirement Pension
Through the years many individuals had pursued the path of freelancing or business ownership. But their “risk” was often criticized by friend and family as they left their “secure jobs.”
The Great Recession revealed something.
The “Good Jobs” are not secure.
Even companies such as General Motors went through bankruptcy, cut benefits and laid people off.
Life and careers are full of risk.
The question is do you want to steer the ship or be at the mercy of of a corporate machine in cohorts with big government?
The Great Recession revealed something else.
Americans have relied on “Good Jobs” for so long they don’t know how to “earn a living” without finding a job.
They waited on unemployment checks and responses to resumes while they and their families suffered and struggled to survive.
Meanwhile the talent, skills and abilities that America needed to recover from the recession sat on the sidelines rather than getting in the game.
There was a time when all Americans were freelancers and small business owners. Everyone created a product or provided a service.
They were farmers and bakers, blacksmiths and carpenters, store keepers and merchants,
It wasn’t until the Industrial Revolution and the concentration of labor in the factories and cities that the “Good Job” became a goal.
And For decades this model provided for millions of families.
But just like the Industrial Revolution was a monumental shift. The Great Recession signaled another shift. The jobs that left are not coming back.
We are headed into a revival of the freelancers and small business owners.
So this Manifesto is for them
- This is not for those who want to punch a time-clock and live for the weekends and vacation.
- This is not for those who don’t want their lives to count.
- This is not for those who want to only spend their best energy on their hobbies
- This is not for those who want to spend the bulk of their waking hours doing something they don’t enjoy just to earn a paycheck.
- It is a call to action
- It is a call to accept reasonable risk
- It is a call to create, and work and envision a new reality.
- It is a call to rebuild the American economy
- It is a call to create careers that empower people to live out their God given passions and abilities.
- It is a call to create new businesses that provide amazing products and services
- It is a call to create new jobs that care for people and their families
- It is a call to a new workplace that cares for people
- It is a call to use the incredible technology we have to take advantage of the opportunities to create.
- This is for ordinary people who believe they can live their destiny.
This is for contractors, store owners, service businesses, farmers, insurance agents, bookkeepers, teachers, pastors, landscapers, consultants, online marketers, writers, musicians, artists, podcasters and anyone else who is ready to take responsibility for their life, stop relying on someone else to provide them a job and willing to take action.
It is time to rise up. Our families, communities and nations need us.
Together, we will learn and create. Succeed and fail. Laugh and love. Celebrate and cry. And in the midst of it all, we will see the revival of the American spirit. We will lead with the courage, creativity and strength that put a man on the moon, developed the automobile and created beautiful works of art and music.
What will you choose? Will you be a part of the army of Entrepreneurs, Freelancers, Independent Contractors, Small Business Owners, and Non-Profit Founders who will lead this revival?
I look forward to leading with you!
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