This week I wanted to write about the revolution we are living in and the opportunity the Internet brings for starting your own business. I interviewed Pam Slim, author of Escape from Cubicle Nation, about the rise of the small business and the entrepreneur economy. Below Pam’s interview, I’ve written about benefits I’ve experienced in the past 17 years as an entrepreneur and trends I see.
People who monetize their knowledge and assets are creating a new segment of the economy.
More and more people are leaving the “security” of corporate jobs where they have no control of their time to follow their passion. This is a new trend that is being seen not only in the U.S. but in Europe and Australia as well.
Entrepreneurs are harnessing the Internet to introduce new products and services in a global economy and therefore challenge business as usual. Technology has enabled us to connect, share and harness our knowledge creating a new trend in business allowing YOU to create your own business!
This growing trend toward micro-entrepreneurship is being called the Creative Class, The Gig Life or the “freelance economy” says Jamie Wong, founder of Vayable.
“All of those refer to the nearly 4.1 million workers (that’s 14 out of every 100 workers) who were self-employed this past year, according to the Office for National Statistics, and millions of others currently supplement their income with freelance work,” said Wong.
Why follow your heart and dreams and start a business? Here’s a few reasons I have personally experienced:
Flexibility + Emotional & Financial Freedom
I’ve had a virtual business since 1995 when I started my own business. I started freelancing and within two years subcontracted out to a larger PR agency to do PR and analyst relations for Microsoft’s Healthcare Industry Solutions group. For the next five years, the growth of my company allowed me to hire up to five freelancers. After the dot com bust in 2000, I went to the employee model. I set the tone for the office wearing jeans and T-shirts and had two dogs in my office, which my employees loved. This business and its growth into a mid six-figure business allowed me to have control over my time, and be home when my son came home from school.
Want to know the biggest struggle I had for all those years? Technology. It’s still a challenge yet I have kept at it and will continue to keep up.
Follow Your Passion
This will give you the opportunity to do what you love and be your own boss. What knowledge do you have that you could sell as an information product? The key is finding a customer segment (your ideal customer) and understanding what problems they need to solve. This is the sweet spot between what you are passionate about and what your customers need.
Hire Your Weaknesses
As an early virtual worker, I loved being able to call the shots the way I wanted and creating an office atmosphere unique to me. My dogs were my first coworkers. When I hired employees, they loved having the dogs in the office. Looking back and connecting the dots, I see that I intuitively hired people who had strengths in areas where I was weak. I had my team do every type of assessment I could find. What was fascinating about this experiment was that I learned I had hired people who had the strengths to cover my weaknesses. So as a team, we were a powerhouse!
Why are micro-entrepreneurs successful?
- People like buying from individuals – whether they are an artist, creative designer, food enthusiast, coach or technology whiz – it feels more authentic and we get the confidence that it’s the real deal.
- We get to experience something unique – it’s always the experience (feelings) we are after with anything we really want in life. So buying from someone who put their heart and soul into their service or product just feels better.
- It’s socially conscious – we are supporting each other to thrive! And many of us are doing good in the world at the same time. *My forum Women Heal The World has supported 63 women to start their businesses through almost $1.7k in donations we raised in one year.
- People now give real credence to social proof – reviews from buyers who have experienced working with us or buying our products or services. This is becoming increasingly more relevant that credentials and degrees (although I still think that helps).
- Collaboration is becoming essential – teaming up with other like-minded entrepreneurs to help promote our services and products. This is a great way to expand our offerings and have more fun.
The new economy of micro-entrepreneurs is stimulating the economy by creating brand new revenue streams and disrupting the old models of business. Let me say this, since I’ve been an entrepreneur – it’s been the MOST rewarding, amazing adventure that I have ever experienced. I put my heart, soul and many hours of my time in these two businesses, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
I love to hear from you. Are you a new small business owner? What do you love about being in business for yourself?
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