‘The freelancer economy’ is the idea that more people will be gaining income from multiple income streams in the future.
This idea is commonly attributed to Charles Handy’s book The Age Of Unreason, which was published in 1989. Handy suggested that it in the future it would be normal for people to have a series of ‘mini-careers’, instead of having one career for 40 years.
There are already signs that this trend is emerging. In fact, studies suggest that 50% of Americans will be freelance by 2020. Are you prepared for this new environment?
Why is this trend occurring?
It’s clear that part of this trend is due to necessity. Most employers aren’t offering people a job for the 40-year lifespan of their career, because most companies aren’t even operating for that long.
Some 50% of small business fail within five years. As automation continues, it becomes increasingly likely that your career won’t even exist in five years. The ‘job for life’ barely exists anymore and intelligent people are preparing for that reality now.
In his book, Handy also argues that humans aren’t built to do one thing for their whole lives, so part of the freelance economy is occurring due to choice.
Is the freelance economy risky?
The freelance economy is risky in the sense that you may not have a guaranteed salary. However, in this day and age, it could be argued that it’s risky to assume your salaried job will always be there.
Unless you’re working as a CEO, you have very little control over the future prosperity of your employer.
With the freelance economy, you’re pretty much in complete control for your own success.
Let’s say you embrace the freelance economy and build up five income streams. When one income stream dries up due to changing consumer trends, what do you do? Focus more on the other four…
If your employer has to lay you off because sales have dried up, what do you do?
What option is riskier?
How to prepare for the freelance economy?
This isn’t a call to leave your job before it leaves you, but a suggestion to consider learning skills that could earn you a handy side-income.
The Portfolio Life, as this sort of career is dubbed by Jeff Goins, isn’t built overnight. It’s built slowly and surely.
Charles Handy suggests that the emergence of the freelance economy is the perfect excuse for you to start following your dreams.
In an interview, he once said: “If you groan about your job or find it has become monotonous and boring, you need to ask yourself—what do you secretly want to do?”
Most artists, however broadly you want to define that term, begin by creating art as a side-hustle and building their brand. Many continue to make money from multiple sources in order to fund their art. There’s no reason why you can’t follow the same path. There has never been a better opportunity to live your passion and earn money from it.
In fact, the way things are going, you may soon have no choice but to follow your dreams. As such, the emergence of the freelance economy should be celebrated, not feared.
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