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Self-Employment

OPB | Aug. 16, 2011 9:06 a.m. | Updated: Sept. 10, 2013 10:28 p.m.

When the economy took a dive, a catch phrase was born: the “new normal.” For some, it meant resolving to cook at home more and eat out less. For others, it meant renting instead of owning. And for a number of people who found themselves without a job, it meant becoming their own boss.

Morgan Ennis says she felt that self-employment was her best option after quitting a job with a brutal commute in early 2010. It wasn’t exactly an easy time to start a business and in fact, entrepreneurship dipped that year. Ennis followed her dream to open a retail shop specializing in wine and food or, more specifically, pies. She held tastings and other events in her small space in Portland’s Montavilla neighborhood. She kept things running for over a year, but this week, Ennis announced that she’s closing up shop. She explained that her customers were very supportive, but they just didn’t have much extra income to spend on specialty food and wine.

Some businesses born out of the recession have fared better. Seth Reams, who has been on our show in the past, started making and selling bird food after struggling with long-term unemployment. He says he’s surprised by how quickly the venture took off, especially when he recalls the helpless feeling of being without a job. He says,

There are times I feel guilty for starting a business and having it go so well off the bat. Why me? What did I do to deserve this?

Have you started a business in the “new” economy? What has your experience been like? Have you considered starting a business but decided against it? What held you back? Have you seen businesses in your neighborhood open and close in the past few years? What do you see as the contributing factors to their success or failure?

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