In honor of its 40th anniversary (“Demystifying the law since 1971”), Nolo is featuring a series of blog posts on how various areas of the law and business have changed in 40 years. My post went up last week; an excerpt and link to the full post is below.

Note: If you’re thinking about becoming self-employed, do yourself a favor and check out Nolo’s website. Not only are their books, software and other products the best DIY business/legal resources available, they also offer tons of free info at All bias aside I’m a Nolo evangelist because I’m a total geek for quality how-to information.

1971-1941: Small business ownership is within anyone’s reach

My first real experience with a small business start-up was in 1991. I had recently graduated from college and my boyfriend at the time was starting a weekly newspaper. I helped him out with about two other folks—a key person being our tech guy, who put the whole paper together on a Mac Quadra (if memory serves me right) which had something like 4 MB RAM and 25 MHz processing speed.

The things we could do with this computer were mind-blowing for us. Our ability to format text, manipulate photos and create graphic artwork on the computer made it possible to start an actual newspaper on a shoestring. Just a short 10 or so years prior to that, the equipment, specialized labor and time necessary to start a publication of any sort would have required major start-up capital and significantly more risk. In the 1980s and 1990s, technology was having the same effect in an increasing number of businesses, fields and industries—and within a short decade or so, every industry and business had been radically transformed by technology.

Read the full post at Nolo’s blog.

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