With the local Calgary economy suffering more than it has since the eighties, there are a lot of people that have been thrown out of work right now. It seems that a day doesn't go by without me hearing about or talking to someone that has been recently laid off from their job. The shocking part is that a lot of these unfortunate people that I have talked to didn't work in the energy business. A lot of them worked for companies that have been affected by collateral damage from rock bottom oil prices.
The unfortunate fact is that this is how an economy works. If two parents both have jobs, they will be paying someone to look after their children when they are at work, but if one or both of them loses their jobs, then there is no longer a need to pay for childcare. That is one simple example of how the fallout from the distressed energy sector can trickle down to other industries. Banking, real estate, construction, and pretty much any other part of the economy are also affected.
So, if you are one of the many individuals that have been impacted by the downturn, you probably have realized by now that there are not a lot of jobs to be had. There are exceptions depending on what industry you are in, but for the most part, the hiring outlook is pretty bleak with the city's unemployment rate at 7.9% which is the highest it has been in 20 years.
With Calgary being an entrepreneurial city, many people are considering starting a small business. Why not take matters into your own hands if you have no other options? If you have been in the workplace for a number of years, and have some kind of educational background, chances are that you have something to offer to someone out there. It could be a construction service where you bid for small jobs that the larger companies don't want, or something like a carpet cleaning business, business consulting, food truck, marketing, or anything else you can think of that might be in demand even in a slow economy.
You need to think about whether your specific expertise can solve a problem for a decent amount of people in Calgary. It could be that there is just no market for the services that you can provide, but on the other hand there could be a tremendous need and you could be one of the people that can take advantage of that. As a small business just starting out, you may have to go after smaller jobs just to establish yourself. You can do something as simple as advertising on Kijiji to get your first few clients and scale up the business from there with your own website, online marketing, telephone system, and print advertising.
If you do decide to become an entrepreneur, there are several things you need to do first. Will your business be a sole proprietorship or will you incorporate your business right away? If you are going to start as a sole proprietor, and you expect to earn less than $30,000 then you do not need a GST number. However, if you are incorporating your business right away, you will need a business number with a GST number from the CRA. Do you need a business license from the city? Depending on what your business does, you may need liability insurance, and there may be a requirement that you participate in the workers compensation board, and other provincial certificates.
This is all explained in the video below.