adj Upside Down Economy coverEvery month, 1.7 million Americans lose their jobs. Although many of those jobs are replaced with new ones, most are lower-paying, often falling below the poverty line.

If you’re over 40 and finding yourself out of a job, you might very well be among the vanishing middle class and likely worrying how you’re going to keep your house and your health insurance plus make payments on your SUV.

The answer, says George Newman, author of How to Survive in an Upside Down Economy, is to hire yourself — start your own business and be your own boss. Being out of a job doesn’t mean being out of work.

You don’t need a lot of money to do this, according to Newman. In fact, almost none at all. Newman, an award-winning journalist turned small-business owner, details how to build a successful business on a shoestring.

Unemployed at the age of 50, he decided to take a chance on himself instead of searching for another job. Using no startup capital and operating with virtually no overhead, he began by providing services that are always in demand and found ways to offer them at low cost.

As he went along, Newman found that as he reduced his expenses and steadily increased his income, he discovered the critical factors needed for survival. He worked long hours, he bought only necessities and never carried a balance except for his home mortgage. His money-saving tips are included in the book.

The book also addresses the low self-esteem and sense of hopelessness and depression that often accompany being unemployed.

Choosing self-employment calls for a self-starter with above-average commitment, says Newman. It requires a major downsizing in lifestyle. It means learning how to exist and live on the cheap.

Stay focused and you can succeed, Newman says. And if you succeed, you will never again need to place your earning potential in the hands of anyone except yourself.