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>My expectation would be that lots of people start in the good times, then struggle on for a bit until the bad times come.
The thing is that during times of considerable economic growth, the market is forgiving towards those that don't allocate resources efficiently. Healthy growth rates can overshadow the fact that somebody who starts their own company or business might not really have the required business acumen to survive long-term. You may be making good money from the word go, but again, there are times when turning a profit is like shooting fish in a barrel. It is usually when growth rates and revenues in an industry decrease that the market will shake out those again who aren't using their resources efficiently enough. If you survive your first recession with your newly founded business, then that might be an indication that your business is here to stay. There is such a thing as Darwinian selection in the business world, where startups (but also established companies) will only survive if they are among the fittest, and where frequent catastrophes will hone the survival skills of those who make it past such a catastrophe. Just look at all those dotcom companies. Only a scarce handful of them survived the Internet boom of the late 1990s. The overwhelming majority of them really had no sound business model whatsoever, they had often quite harebrained business ideas, and they were really just along for the ride, because banks and other investors where throwing huge amounts of money at you if you even so much as had a fancy sounding, portmanteau-derived name and your business plan mentioned the words "New Economy", "Internet", "e-commerce", or ".com".
One prominent term in those days was the cash burn rate. It signified the rate at which you were burning through your liquid assets that had been injected into your pseudo company by giddy banks and stock investors who believed the lie. There are stories of startup founders using that money to fly to New York on the Concorde for lunch and champagne, and then back the same night. Just because they could, with the money that banks and investors had entrusted in them. While they were really not (or not yet) turning a single penny of profit on their actual business model. And really ended up not ever turning a penny of profit.
Boom phases are typically also when a successful change of career for somebody who has worked in industry x but wants to work in industry y is most likely. In recessions, you often have people wanting to retrain because nobody is hiring in their line of work, but it's really at times when the economy is booming, or beginning to boom that you should think about a career change. Because at some point, the existing resources in an industry, including skilled and eperienced workers and employees, will be operating at their maximum capacity, and because there will be no more trained personnel to hire, employers will be ready to make compromises and hire people who haven't worked in a particular field before as such. Going back to the Internet boom again, there were times when advertising agencies were so desperately looking for people who could compose web pages that it was enough if you had spent a few weekends at home teaching yourself HTML and had a cursory understanding of graphics design from fiddling around with a pirated copy of Photoshop.