The Future of Freelancing and the Entrepreneurial Mindset
By 2027, 50% of the workforce will be a part of the gig economy.
Yet many upcoming or recent college graduates are falling into the same old, same old. Large company with large promises. I even hear the word guaranteed thrown around. Let me tell you what word should never be thrown around. Guaranteed.
“But they are offering me a guaranteed income,” you say.
Now to the large companies’ credit, they never would use that word. No one on the offer side of the deal that is ethical would use that word (unless it truly was guaranteed, like a contractually agreed to signing bonus). However, many aren’t explaining the downside.
What is the downside?
That once the economy goes downhill or once the company’s profits go the wrong way or once a new decision-maker comes in (or a variety of other potential things), it’s inevitable that changes will be made. Changes that may make your “stable” job a lot less stable. (note- what I’m about to write about is not stable either, but there is never a preconceived notion that any form of entrepreneurship is stable)
For example, let me tell you about a time when I had a good job in a large company. I liked my job. I was good at it. I believed a promotion and a raise was coming to me soon. I was on vacation in Mexico. Completely off the grid. I had three odd voicemails waiting for me when I got back. I listened to those voicemails, then looked at my wife and said, “I think my company just got shut down.”
I went into the office to see what was going on and, sure enough, the only people there was some security personnel. They escorted me to my desk. I wasn’t allowed on my computer. I could only grab my personal belongings and be on my way.
No former managers or bosses were there to say anything.
Thanks for playing.
A new CEO had come in, didn’t think the large division of the company I was in was something he wanted to keep doing, so, he shut it down. Just. Like. That.
I went into sales, where it was more of an eat-what-you-kill mindset—my compensation depended on how much I could sell. It worked out great, except when the large company in question would change my compensation plan without warning or go through major restructurings that definitely impacted my job. The third restructuring did it—I woke up one morning to an irate client who called, saying “I can’t believe you sold your business to a bank!”
I went to CNBC and, sure enough, I found out my company had, in fact, sold out to a bank. I had no say in such decisions—it’s not like it was really my business, I just worked there.
I don’t mean that these companies did anything wrong. Their leaders were doing what was best for their businesses, and that was exactly what they were supposed to be doing. It’s just that since I wasn’t one of those leaders—and hadn’t actually had any significant contact with them—these decisions that impacted my life were being made without my input or even knowledge. I’d had enough. I started my own company.
Entrepreneurship has no guarantees, either, but if I’m going to be taking a risk anyway, I’d rather be doing it at my company, where I know what’s happening and I get to try things my way.
And I love it.
Everyone I know who has been in business—working for a large company—for at least fifteen years has seen at least one (usually several) major restructurings or other big changes. My story is pretty typical. I’m not saying big companies are bad, just that betting on them for a long-term career might not be the best idea—and if you’ve been dreaming of getting out there to work on your own, you might as well go for it. What have you got to lose?
Not everyone is an entrepreneur. Not everyone wants to be. But there are other options. You can go work for an entrepreneur, be part of the team that starts a new company. Or you can be a freelancer and work for yourself. More and more people are doing it—as the studies show, half the workforce is set to be part of the gig economy by 2027.
It’s about recognizing if you possess the entrepreneurial mindset. If you have the entrepreneurial mindset, you will know it–or come to find out at some point. Don’t run from it.
With a computer, iPad (what I am using to write this), or smartphone, some good systems like Google or Microsoft, other software, some Wi-Fi, good communication skills, and an understanding of business, you can literally work from anywhere.
How do you get started, you might be asking?
If I were starting out now, I would learn as much as I could from mentors and content—specifically reading, listening, watching, and asking questions. I’d identify my particular marketable skills, identify an under-served market, and I’d work hard. Gigs are possible to find if you’re willing to work, by networking online and in person, on social media, or by aligning yourself with the right entrepreneur. The experience and relationships you build through this kind of work can lead to a more traditional job (if that’s what you want) or prepare you to start your own company—or you can just stay in the entrepreneurial mindset type of work.
It’s for the taking. If you see yourself with entrepreneurial tendencies, what do you have to lose? There will always be large companies out there that if you are good enough, might hire you.
Are you a graphic designer, are you a writer, are you a good researcher, are you savvy with social media, are you good with technology, are you a great organizer? Maybe it’s none of those things and something else. Whatever it is, get in it and see where it takes you.
You can ask yourself what’s the worst that can happen. If the worst doesn’t seem all that bad, go for it. You’ll be ahead of the game as more and more people find the path to entrepreneurial freedom.
It isn’t easy—yeah, this is the part where I would talk you out of it. But you already know all this. Deep down you already know if you want to be an entrepreneur or if you have an entrepreneurial mindset. So just go ahead and give it a shot.
I’m happy to help.
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