First of all, let me preemtively apologize for the length of this...
Let me explain my situation. I'm 18 years old and about to start college in a few days. I've spent this entire summer, as well as the past two years, devouring everything on economics I could find. I'm lucky; I discovered the Austrian School early in my life. Judging from how terrible - even nonexistent - the fundamentals of our economy are and have been for many decades in the past (after all, it seems to me like we haven't had any real, non-inflationary, sustained economic growth in almost a century since the founding of the Federal Reserve and the subsequent takeover of Keynesianism, which only exacerbated an already unfavorable situation); judging from how mainstream pundits are now saying we are in a "double-dip recession" - though the first recession from late 2007 never really ended and was only papered over - literally - by artificial credit expansion a la Ben Bernanke; judging from recent stories I've heard of people in California (I'm from New York, though) opening up restaurants in their own houses, cultivating urban gardens and turning to selling marijuana just to have some food and income coming in in the face of staggeringly high unemployment rates; judging also form the fact that government spending only goes up amid all of this, that bailout after bailout of wasted and diverted money is pumped into stilborn sectors of the economy that should be allowed to wither away and die for the sake of long-term economic health - judging from all of this, things don't look good.
It's obvious the government won't curb their spending and creating of increasingly severe business cycles - after all no one wants their precious benefits to evaporate, even though, considering the country is bankrupt, they kind of already have. Plus, to make things worse, many, like Marc Faber and Jim Rogers, are predicting hyperinflation in the US in the coming 10 years - a scary, though justifiable, and dare I say it, likely true, prediction. Frankly, it just doesn't seem like college is worth it anymore, and were it not for the stupid and wrongheaded antics of our foolish government, I'd be much more confident about the prospect of starting up a business and growing prosperous than I am. I know I'd be smart enough to do it, (Not to sound arrogant, but I KNOW I've got a good head on my shoulders.) but with an inherently inflationary banking system and a criminal, blatantly fraudulent central bank like ours at the helm of it all, as well as innumerable other problems of government involvement, what's an aspiring young wanna-be entrepreneur to do?
I know everyone has been clammoring about investing in precious metals - particualrly silver, whose price is being artificially depressed by a JP Morgan naked short manipulation - but that's long-term investment advice, not an idea for a business. The only thing I've been able to think of is that going into agriculture would be a great idea - that is, assuming our economic Cassandras - Schiff, Faber and the rest of them - are right and we'll have hyperinflation, and therefore increased need for food and basic staples, in the US in the upcoming years. I've also thought about China, but Jim Chanos seems to think there's a bubble there, and that that country is headed for recession. I'll be honest: I'd love to do the Bill Gates thing, drop out of college and go on to become rich, and with a good idea, I think I'd be able to. But with this uncertain climate, making predictions and forecasting what legislation the government will pass to clean up the mess made by their last bill - thus creating a whole new mess - is especially difficult to do. I'm very sorry for how long this was, but I'd appreciate every suggestion and bit of advice that everyone has to offer. THANKS!!
An aspiring young wannabe entrepreneur can do anything anywhere.
Even in a heavily regulated environment like US. If Roman Abramovich could start a multibillion dollar business by starting from scratch at the time of the fall of the Soviet Union, then you know you don't have worry.
Just know three things:
- Failure is important than success in business, and your first venture could well be a failure like 90% of other startups - the benefit is in the invaluable knowledge you'll possess from a first failure which nobody has, on matters like how to negotiate with venture capitalists, how to create a capital structure that aligns your interests with his, how you align sales and customer milestones with financial plans and future funding, how you write customer service agreements to avoid lawsuits, how you write employment agreements to avoid lawsuits, how you turn every prospect into a sale, and how you make sure there is enough funding to keep the business running. None of this is taught in B-schools.
- Businesses run on creative destruction, and not operation of rules of some profession. You need to only have the will to experiment and see which idea fails and which works.
- The only prior knowledge for the business you wish to start is from working in the area that you wish to enter. Enter as a lowly paid employee in a similar business, treat it like being paid to learn, and build your knowledge of how such a business works from bottom up.
But most of all, never get distracted by politics or social activism. Or even pay attention to such things. You are a businessman, and you don't have to be like the rest of mediocrity who whine about elections or society's problems. You must become apolitical and detach yourself from it. My enterprising parents have never voted in their lives. Don't waste time defending merits of business to people who see only wrong in it. Just do business, and that's the only argument that speaks anything. Consider the money you get from anti-business customers to be their concession.
Please use the ENTER key a little more. I refuse to read a 40+ line paragraph.
@OP: If I could, I would move out of the country. Look for a place in the world with the "fundamentals" of human society: cohesive family order, social decency (not the glorification of the scatalogical and the foolish as we have here in the US), property rights (to whatever extent they can exist in a global statist order) and where common law is respected by both State and non-State individuals. The economic opportunities are going to be in places that are, today, poor by comparison to the United States. But the United States only appears to be wealthy, like the "rich" neighbor with a mansion and 3 luxury cars buried under mountains of debt. Sooner or later, that's all going to the repo man. Don't get a job with the "rich" neighbor, get a job with the repo man. Who do you think will be repo'ing the United States? BRIC!
I have a semi-secret scheme going to get rich. If it works I will tell about it.
I heard that Abramovich was handed his wealth by Boris Yeltsin when they were dividing state property. When it comes to Russia you never know the real story.
There are still some proper stories. Yes, stories like how Michael Dell "started from a garage" with his father's million dollar investment are exaggerated, but then again, some others to see.
For example, Woolworth was an illiterate beggar who ended up starting a multimillion dollar retail chain, and eventually even hired his first boss at the first place he worked.
The founder of IKEA was a matchstick seller.
Hmmm, what others?
But most of all, never get distracted by politics or social activism. Or even pay attention to such things. You are a businessman, and you don't have to be like the rest of mediocrity who whine about elections or society's problems. You must become apolitical and detach yourself from it. My enterprising parents have never voted in their lives. Don't waste time defending merits of business to people who see only wrong in it. Just do busocisiness, and that's the only argument that speaks anything. Consider the money you get from anti-business customers to be their concession.
You are absolutely right; thank you. Don't mistake my pointing out of socioeconomic problems in our society due to foolish and concietedly overassuming government regulation for a sprouting desire to be a social activist and "change" things, however. Unlike many, I have common-sense (which I've noticed, ironically, is not so common) and I understand that the poison is not the cure. The word "change" has been so bastardized and sapped of its meaning as to no longer have any meaning - except maybe as a synonym for "more of the same." It all sort of reminds me of that famous epigram from 1984 that "ignorance is strength" and "freedom is slavery." I know democracy as "the god that failed," and that political activism is a useless passtime for the useless and mediocre. This crying out over the "evils" of "capitalist greed" is nothing more than the whines of the envious. If I am in any way concerned with the problems I pointed out, it is only because I am indgnant. Why should the slovenly, lazy and careless - those who create no wealth and consume so much - be allowed and even sympathized with while they leech off the industrious and enterprising? Trust me, I am no mass activist; I hate large crowds anyway.
Your other pointers are very much appreciated. In my case, though, unlike that of, say, Michael Dell or Bill Gates, I don't have "daddy's millions" to bail me out or save me in case I mess up. My parents are not rich - far from it! That means things are going to be much more difficult for me than they were for people like Gates. Add to that the fact that my parents dogmatically believe in the myth that anyone who doesn't graduate from a top college with honors is destined to be a loser. If I do decide to drop out in the middle of college and follow my crazy dream - something I'm very seriously considering - I'll have have to throw what they and everybody else thinks to the wayside, and that obviously entails a huge risk. As perilous as all that is though, in a strange way, it excites me, which I suppose, at least from a psychological point of view, is a definite good sign. But hey, isn't that whay entrepreneurs do? Take risks? Besides, one thing no one should ever forget: John D. Rockefeller started with only a dime. I think much more about the rewards of success than the danger of failure. I know the risks are real, but I'm not afraid. I'm just gathering as much information as I can so I can make my risks informed rather than blind, and for you help and advice, I deeply and courteously thank you.
@ Clayton: I've thought of leaving the country too - funny considering that my parents and I are immigrants! I've thought of going to China, but then I heard that Jim Chanos - the guy who foresaw the collapse of Enron - thinks there's a massive bubble currently inflating there and that that country is headed for a depression. I'd like to hear your thoughts on Chanos' prognosis. Australia and New Zealand also seem to be doing rather well right now and the Australian dollar is rather strong - though I've learned to be wary and distrust fiat currencies in general. Of course, there's also India and Malaysia. For me, though, the main problem is not only deciding where to go, but acquiring the means to get there.