For decades now, we’ve been hearing how the robots will take our jobs. It hasn’t happened yet, but a lot of traditional industries have shed workers in favor of automata, and mid-western towns have been hit the hardest. Between the economic downtown, declining oil and steel sectors, crippling student loans, and automation at factories and warehouses, some employment opportunities have vanished.
Some Americans have resolved this by transitioning into the gig economy. It tended to start with with the younger workers, especially ones who don’t want to settle or put down roots. The truth is they often lack the means to do so, because their employment opportunities are limited and their debt levels are overwhelming.
Now, parents and grandparents of millennials are increasingly ‘gigging’ too, as they retire or get ‘aged out’ of their long-term jobs and decide that they are no longer otherwise employable.
Another Option: Start a Small Business
An alternative to this is to start a small business. These days, whatever industry you venture into, it’s likely to have a strong online component. So you’re sure to have a website and eStore.
Small businesses have the same challenges that larger-scale startups have, but these business barriers may persist throughout the tenure of the business. Its scale could mean your small business is teetering on the edge of either success or failure almost throughout its entire tenure, and this can be a financial and psychological burden. Luckily, there are things you can do to make it easier.
One of the largest challenges is to find financial partners. This isn’t necessarily about capital. It could also extend into customer payment methods. Many customers prefer to pay by credit card. But if you’re unemployed or underemployed, you don’t have a pension, or you’ve run down your savings, or you’re drowning in student debt, it may be hard to get a financial institution to give you a second glance. On top of that, you may be starting (or actively running) a small business with an income cap, so you don’t just want to get approved for an account; you want an account you can afford.
It sounds impossible, but it’s doable. Start by finding a good payment processor that specializes in small businesses like yours. Depending upon your industry, this may mean that you need a processor that accepts ‘high risk’ businesses. And find one that offers a low-price guarantee.
Too good to be true?
Look deeper into the company. Find out what encryption techniques they use, what their terms and conditions are, whether they’re PCI compliant, and their customer reviews. You can also verify their credentials and peer perceptions. (Industry awards are always a good sign.)
Once you’re sure they’re the real deal, find out what other features are available. You may want an eCommerce website with a compatible shopping card, electronic keypads for swiping cards, or perhaps a mobile app. The ability to accept e-checks, which lets a customer pay by check over the phone or online, can also be helpful for customers who prefer to pay this way.
For more information on how small businesses benefit from credit card processing, or to sign up for a merchant account, please call (888) 924-2743 or go to Charge.com.