Poverty is something I normally associate with third world countries. But these last few weeks of economic turmoil have made me realize just how fragile our situation here in the United States can be. Actually, it’s everywhere.
I have, and encourage everyone, to loan through Kiva  to help people facing poverty far worse than what we face in industrialized nations. But I’d like to highlight the very real chance of poverty in our very own neighborhoods—and also to highlight the excellent free resources that can help every single person in this country to earn enough to avoid it happening to them.
People ask me about why I am so dang passionate about helping people start a business or become self-employed. While I find it fascinating, rewarding, challenging, and intellectually stimulating, the biggest reason is because of my past: I have eaten at the Salvation Army , lived out of my truck  for six months, and when I started my first business, I was a single mom living in my parent’s basement .
In other words, I have intimate knowledge of what many families are facing today. And I don’t want anyone to have to go down the road that I went down. Technology has made it possible for nearly anyone to get the knowledge they need to start a full time business or a side business. And a huge portion of our economy is driven by tiny “personal businesses” that earn less than $50K a year. In fact, 78 percent of small businesses fall into this category. But that $50K is the difference between having a home or losing your home.
Of course, there are plenty of entrepreneurs going after (and receiving) venture capital, SBA loans, and have their graduate degrees from fancy universities that gives them a huge leg-up as they start their own businesses.
My focus has always been on the other kind of “entrepreneur” out there:
The laid-off professional who has no choice but to create work, otherwise their family doesn’t eat
The stay at home dad or mom who is finding that their skills are out of date, but his/her family cannot live on one salary anymore
The high school dropout that is smarter than most of us with a degree, yet doesn’t think they can go anywhere because they don’t have the right education
The single mom on food stamps, who longs to make a better life for herself and her kids, but can barely make rent even with two jobs
These people may or may not be born and bred entrepreneurs – but they all have one thing in common – they face a life of low wages, even poverty, unless they can find a way to break out of their current situations. And in this economy, they aren’t just the people on the “other side of the tracks.” These people probably live next door to you.
These are the people that need free resources the most. My personal passion is driven to find a way to get business and startup resources to the people that have one choice = entrepreneurship or poverty and homelessness in America.
Sparkplugging  is not the only one helping them out.
All of the blogs below have dedicated themselves to providing high-quality small and home business advice and educational resources for free. Business Startup and Home Business Blogs (No MLM BS or Scammy Crap Here!)
- Freelance Switch
- Essential Keystrokes
- Freelance Folder
- 2 Minute Commute
- One Person Business Blog
- Duct Tape Marketing
- Search Engine Guide
- How to Change the World
- Escape from Cubicle Nation
- Kristie T’s Home Business Blog
- Thinking Home Business
- Home Office Warrior
- Instigator Blog
- eCommerce Diva
- WAHM Talk Radio
- Internet Marketing Sweetie
- Get it in Writing
- The Wealth Spa
- O Coaching
- Startup Spark
- Changing Course
- Chief Home Officer
- Enterprise Nation
- Inspired Business Growth
Bloggers aren’t the only ones helping out with free resources. Check Out These
Big Businesses & Government Agencies Embracing Web 2.0
- Business.gov & the Small Business Administration
- Visa Business Network on Facebook
- AOL Small Business
- Microsoft Office Live Small Business
- Free Quicken Online
- Office Depot Business Resource Center
- HP Small & Medium Business
- Dell 360
Let me help you get you started. Here are some of the most popular articles on my blog for people new to starting a business:
- Top Ten Internet Home Business Ideas You Can Start and Run in Your Underwear 
- Ten More Work at Home Internet Business Ideas You Can Do in Your Fuzzy Bunny Slippers 
- Ask eMom: What is the Best Way to Start a Home Business Online? 
- Eight Ways to Get Venture Capital Attention from Guy Kawasaki 
- How to Leave Your Job and Take the Freelance Plunge in 6 Months 
- Ten Free Resources to Start or Grow a Home Based Business