In the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) where I live house prices have skyrocketed. I think small businesses can help to make owning a home affordable again. By affordable, I mean within the reaches of the middle class. While I was on YouTube I stumbled upon a small documentary on the cost of homes in Silicon Valley. Although it was released in 2015, it still holds truth in major cities around the world. People will follow where the money is! So how can small businesses help us all out?
THE HOUSING BUBBLE PROBLEM
I’m not going to talk in detail about all the reasons why houses have risen to seemingly ridiculous heights. Here are a few factors though: low interest rates, foreign real estate investment, demand outweighing supply, and people not thinking about what they really want in life.
So the last problem I mentioned is more or less what I’ll be discussing. I think entrepreneurship and small businesses can help alleviate the stresses people are feeling. I’m looking at you! As with almost all my solutions, it starts within yourself. (Queue violin)
HOW SMALL BUSINESSES CAN HELP THE REAL ESTATE ISSUE
So…how the heck can entrepreneurs and small businesses help?
First of all, I understand that people will commute to work in big cities from far away. In the documentary one woman said she had a 90 mile commute! As more and more people do this, it simply increases demand in those locations and then house prices rise there too.
WHAT DO YOU REALLY WANT TO DO WITH YOUR LIFE
I’m one of those people that simply hate commuting. Especially for a job I’m not passionate about. Where do you work? What do you do? Is it worth it?
If you’re making a lot of money, but still can’t afford to buy a home in the big city where you work, is there really any point?
If you really love your job then you’re probably giving me an emphatic “yes!”. Otherwise, you probably don’t really like your job all that much.
You hear a lot of people telling you to “follow your passion” and I agree with them to an extent.
THE RISE OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP
I can’t say that I’ve monitored the development of small businesses for decades. What I can say is that I’ve seen the proliferation of people pursuing non-traditional careers.
One of the big reasons for that is the internet. It has enabled us to learn without the need for a classroom; where we can develop skills and knowledge more easily. It has also opened worldwide commerce (e-commerce) and made it easier than ever before to reach a huge audience. You can now deliver products and services almost anywhere with relative ease. Of course, with this tool available to anyone, challenges also arise.
Here are just a few examples of places you can learn from:
The one thing I have noticed is that no one has been able to teach business quite right and it makes sense because there are so many aspects to business. One guy I love (and hate) following is Gary Vaynerchuck. He makes it abundantly clear that this is a very hard path to follow in life. It has it’s rewards, but you still shouldn’t go into it lightly.
DO WHAT YOU LOVE
Too cliche?! Sorry!
I believe that by doing what you really love and doing it locally, you can help restore the imbalance created by large companies in big cities. Companies have grown with such fervor that we really can’t keep up.
Proof that this is the case is the demise of medium-sized (and some large) businesses. In Canada this would include Future Shop, Black’s Photography, Jacob, and Mexx; to name only a few.
To take their place we buy goods through Amazon and Ebay, but also sites like Etsy and a ton of other smaller shops. More importantly, some of these shops are only online and are operated from the homes of entrepreneurs.
By transforming traditional career driven people (possibly like yourself) to non-traditional entrepreneurs, we can get back to a balance.
A BALANCING ACT
The conversion of people such as yourself would help balance out the housing situation by allowing people to live wherever they want. Other than the thrill of living in a big city, the next main reason to live closer to work is for a shorter commute time.
What if you could just go into the city on special occasions and work in a smaller town; ahem…where houses are actually affordable. Live and work the life you want.
How much of your life is spent driving to and from work? How much of your life is really enjoyable? Are you working to help pay for amazing experiences in life or are you paying to be able to just live somewhere that will let you get to work more easily?
If you’re working just to be able to live closer to your work and you have money for nothing else, is it really worth it?
I apologize for the incredible tangents I took. It’s a lot easier to discuss this sort of a topic than it is to write concisely. If you’re struggling with the housing market situation most of us are in then feel free to get in contact with me. I’m happy to help iron out some of the issues with you!
Jonathan How is the photographer behind Made by Ten and calls Milton his home. He specializes in creating beautiful, creative portraits of real women. He uses photography (and this blog) to help them build confidence and love for themselves and creates artistic images for their homes and offices. You can see him driving around the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) in Ontario, Canada from portrait to fashion shoot and back again.