Parnassah Perspectives by Parnassah Network – By Tova Herskovitz, MSW

deskYou don’t have to look far to find individuals struggling with parnassah in our community. There’s the young husband that just left kollel and struggles to find a job that pays enough to support his family of four. The middle aged couple struggling to come up with the funds to afford tuition (plus sleepaway camp) for each of their five children is another example. And there’s the single mom working her day job plus smaller jobs as a freelancer so she can provide for herself and her children. We all know and see these individuals. They kill themselves everyday at their job, yet still rely on government assistance or the local community’s tzeddakah dollars to make it to the end of the month.

But these are just the classic examples; the cliches of struggling, hard working middle class individuals who just barely make ends meet. They’re the ‘folks’ politicians love to mention when talking about the income inequality our country faces. It helps politicians sound like they know what’s happening (or not happening) in their communities. But these examples of struggling families are just that: examples. And during the six years of Parnassah Network, a nonprofit dedicated to helping the Orthodox Jewish community with tools and resources to help job seekers and business owners, we’ve seen that there is no typical example of a strained family.

The struggle for parnassah is one that affects every family, every individual.

The business owner who is ‘self-made’ and now supports all the local mosdos might be struggling to make payroll every month. The woman who started a thriving service based business and managed to secure government contracts is fighting to keep her company afloat with the competition that has flooded her niche. The entrepreneur whose brilliant innovation became an overnight success is actually riddled with anxiety and floundering as to how to scale his business, find investors and make the difficult decisions he needs to make.

These individuals also struggle. They may not worry about putting food on the table tomorrow. But when they lie awake at night, each in their own homes they’ve bought in expensive thriving neighborhoods, they wonder if they’ll be able to pay their own salary needed to keep up the mortgage now that they need to hire a marketing director or invest in new software…

The pressure for individuals and businesses to excel is crushing as computers replace jobs, overseas employees replace American workers and the internet replaces almost all the ways we once did business. While the college graduation of the past could assume a secure, well-paying job, today’s grads know that they are easily replaceable and entering a job market that is saturated with employees but slim with actual jobs.

But before you give up and cry over the ‘good old days’, hear this: while secure and lucrative job opportunities are scarce, thanks to the technology available today, the opportunity for resourceful, ambitious entrepreneurs to get started is more exciting than ever. There are innovative solutions that we at Parnassah Network have seen implemented to achieve phenomenal success. The tools available today are so fantastic in their abilities that it would make the entrepreneurs of our grandparents’ generation envious to see how easily and cheaply we do our bookkeeping, find new customers around the world, hire workers in the Philippines, or connect with an influential leader in our industry.

Because of the complexities and many needs of our people, we at Parnassah Network have developed a broad array of services to help. It’s not enough to connect individuals to business coaches and mentors who can help them or to provide them with an affordable full day seminar on how to launch their business, both services we provide. With our Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce (OJC) online directory of members, we are able to help business owners find service providers in the Jewish community to help with the many aspects of running a business. One individual recently told us that he was able to start his entire business by finding all the services he needed for accounting, graphic design and more from our OJC member listing.

Another tool, though not new, that is even more available today than ever is networking. Thanks to linkedin and other social media platforms that let you find people in your profession and niche, you can network like never before. Your clients, and colleagues, are easier to reach and your marketing dollars can go farther, and with less money, on digital platforms. Our recent full day seminar on social media use for business focused on just that topic and educated attendees on how to leverage those platforms to find and solidify relationships with consumers and influencers.

It’s an exciting time to be working, running a business, and developing a personal brand and the challenges, if addressed with an entrepreneurial and creative perspective, can be just as invigorating.

Parnassah Network is a nonprofit that educates, trains, and connects individuals and businesses in all parnassah related aspects via multiple networking programs and platforms. Founded by Duvi Honig, Parnassah Network services people of all stages based on their individual needs. To learn more about our many services visit parnassahnetwork.com Contact us at [email protected]

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