For the past 2 or 3 years I have had a problem. How do I describe the like-minded people I would like to connect with? Am I like a teacher who wants to connect with other teachers to share what I am doing or am I a teacher who wants to develop connections with new prospective learners?  Or what is worse both at the same time?

The people whose lives I really want to improve are those who are in mental distress. OK that in itself is a broad topic. It is those who are mentally ill, which some reckon to be 1 in 4 of the population and then some. Where do I start with that? Given my background there are two obvious starting points. One is making and handling money and the other is thinking right.

Brilliant that is not overly helpful either as that still not well defined enough. That is more like aiming a scattergun than a rifle. How can anyone work out if they are one of the people I would like to connect with with that kind of fuzzy or woolly description? I mean it could be almost anyone couldn’t it?

Right thinking about money going out

When I described myself as being like a financial anorexic I was concerned that I could be seen as disrespectful to those who threatened their lives by struggling to eat enough because of the way they thought about their body and even food itself. Yet the more I thought about it the more I saw similarities with my experience and what I knew about anorexia nervosa.

A financial anorexic is frightened of spending money even if they have money to spend. There is always an overly thrifty attitude that leaves them uncomfortable and accepting things that others would not accept. How does that compare to those dear souls who are so fearful of putting on weight that they put their body through all sorts of privations?

A financial anorexic cannot see what they are spending accurately or in proportion. What seems to be a really small amount of money to others is a huge amount to them. They panic when they have spent a few pennies more than they should. They just cannot relax and enjoy spending money. They are fearful of wasting money by spending too much. If if there is money in the bank that they could spend they believe that they cannot be trusted to spend money wisely. In my case it can be to deliberately leave myself with too little to spend recklessly by a mixture of giving, saving to pay future bills and overpaying debts.

Someone suffering from anorexia nervosa is treated by specialists whose training includes dealing with mental health issues. Anorexia is associated with wrong thinking especially in an area that could be described as self-esteem, knowing your value and not being ashamed or felling not good enough. Both medical treatment and counselling is used to help improve or even save the life of victims.

Right thinking and money coming in

When you have worked in a profession that started to shrink and hence the competition for work has increased as a result it can be an uphill struggle to earn money. What else do you do. What else do you do?

Trials of setting up a business

One solution is to set up your own business. How do you do that. In some ways that is where the trials really come.

What product are you going to sell? What service are you going to provide? Then there are all the practicalities of putting the idea into practise. It is essential to get the marketing and the legal stuff right. There is the planning and the finance to think through as well.

The first idea might not work very well simply because you don’t really understand the world of business. It is a struggle to find ways to implement other ideas. There are new skills to learn. How to buy raw materials and equipment? How can you work out what is the good stuff and what is the hype? Learning how to survive without the sharks circling around before eating you.

There are the strategies to develop so you know what direction is the right one There are tactics to develop so you know how you going to reach your destination. How do you make it all work?

How do you learn all this stuff?

You go to the business training course. They may have  really good generic business stuff that you can adapt to what you want to do. You get to meet others in a simialr situation.

Another option is to go online and see what you can find. I does not help that you don’t know where to start. They say that but they say this. They say that is an old idea and that one is better. The strategies and tactics they suggest are not necessarily the best ones for you and your business

There are two ways of doing this. One is to spend loads of money buying this course or that book  and spending loads of time trying to learn from it. Another is to see what you can find for free. Often people who explain most of a task and then say if you buy my product I will help you learn all of it and use the shortcuts that I use.

Shame and failure

One of the most active online businesses is teaching other people with some aspect of doing business online. How do they do it? They describe the problem that someone is having but the problem with this is that it highlights the problem that people are having. When they recognise the problem they wonder what is wrong with them.

Many wander around for months trying to find the best way of doing things for themselves. Some manage to find their way through the maze and start a successful business others struggle and fail and the business dies. Some manage to start a successful online business while living in a car as they have no other home. Others end up using every penny they have and eventually run out of money.

How do others respond?

Few people in your immediate circle of contacts understand what is happening. People expect you to succeed first time around. They expect you to face some challenges but but not insurmountable ones. Others see you as being brave for doing something that would take them way outside their own comfort zone. Whatever it is your situation is so far out their experience that they cannot really say or do very much to help you. After all how do you really help someone unless you have travelled that road before them.

They know about how to find a job. Well maybe not even so much looking for a job because they have worked for the same employer for many years. They know about being an employee and very little if anything abut being an employer. They don’t have to take the responsibility for the directing the business. They know how to help people follow their example but that is so different that they struggle to help.

How do these ideas fit into the world as it is today?

The scary thing is that the world is changing. There were many people who ran shops or worked in shops but what is happening to the shops. Empty shops used to be a rarity but they are now commonplace. Day before I wrote this I visited a small town that rarely had empty shops. When I walked around there where loads of empty shops. It would not surprise me if someone told me that 4 out of every 10 shop units were closed. Those who can shop elsewhere. It is so depressing to go to a place that is only half alive.

What do you do if it is not just one person struggling economically but an entire community? No jobs, more money no shops, economic stillness even death. There are sparks of life as some people have managed to set up new businesses but they are few and far between.

In fact I spotted a sign on a shop door saying the previous occupiers had left 2 years and two weeks ago. Yes it was still empty. What did they do? They used government money to run an advice centre for people setting themselves up in business.

I also get emails with stories of charities closing their doors and others merging because their income has gone down. Even some churches have had to let paid staff go because they could not afford to pay them. Those who once had money to give don’t any more.

The cost of essentials like food and fuel is going up. Incomes are not going up in he same way. There is leading to a squeeze. Those with little to start with feel it more so reach out for help to food banks.



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