Era of Meaningful Independence

The way we work in the United States is undergoing a fundamental shift. Out of the manufacturing age workers have learned the hard way that the traditional stable 9 to 5, isn't so stable. Now, independent work is giving Americans a chance to secure happiness in the work place.

via LA Times

via LA Times

Currently, a third of the nation's workers are freelance. This number is expected to hit 40% - 60 million people - in the next decade. LA Time's Sara Horowitz's recent piece America, Say Goodbye To The Era Of Big Work talks about why this employment shift has been a long time coming. 

A number of factors both economic and cultural are causing the independent workforce to swell. Technological advances and globalization have greatly contributed to the erosion of traditional work arrangements. The private sector’s need for speed and adaptability is increasingly incompatible with maintaining a large, full-time workforce. And of course, the Great Recession has put to rest the notion that there is such a thing as a stable full-time job.

Despite all these factors, it seems like the number one reason persons choose freelance work is for the flexibility. Horowitz quotes a recent survey done by oDesk who found that 89% of freelancers prefer work flexibility to a traditional corporate career. And over half of millennials prioritize job flexibility over pay. This is such a cultural shift from the era of corporate life and Horowitz believes she knows why.

In reality, millennials tend to value experiences more than things. Their consumption habits are driven less by what kind of job they have and more by their pursuit of ever-evolving technology, brands that align with their ideals and sustainable and social purpose purchasing.

While the government struggles to catch up with this new era of work, freelancers thrive. Check out the rest of the LA Times Article and let us know what you think. Are you considering a shift to the freelance world? And if you have already, was it worth it?

Formula For Success In The Sharing Economy

Investors are starting to take notice of the ever growing sharing economy. With a consumer peer market worth $26 billion that continues to develop the sharing economy has some serious potential. This week Raj Kapoor of TechCrunch gave us a comprehensive review of what a sharing economy start up needs to succeed. 

It seems like there are new start ups daily, especially within the shared economy. Kapoor points out that, like in other businesses, those who do best are usually scratching an itch that consumers haven't been able to reach.  

Sharing economy models work great when there is a high degree of consumer pain. As the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” In a lot of markets, consumers are happy with the status quo, and it will be hard to get user adoption.

Kapoor believes that is why ridesharing and fitness have done exceptionally well:

For ridesharing and fitness, the consumer pain is more obvious. Until Uber and Lyft, it was impossible to hail a taxi in most cities, a huge pain to force drivers to accept your credit card, and an all-around unpleasant experience in the car.

When you look at the fitness industry, it’s generating $75 billion each year on gym fees, yet 60 percent of people who belong to gyms don’t even go and our nation’s growing obesity and inactivity problem are evidence the solution isn’t working. Lyft and fitmob hack these pain points by creating an experience that is fun, accessible with the push of a button, and affordable giving consumers clear benefits that are lacking in traditional services.

Kapoor also cautions start ups to be aware of the watchful regulatory eye, currently challenging the sharing economy daily. Lyft, Uber and Airbnb are a few of the many sharing platforms that are constantly under fire for violating the law. Kapoor wisely recommends that you should work hand in hand with the government to create a win-win for all parties. 

To see what else is needed for your sharing economy start up needs to be successful, check out the full TechCrunch article and let us know what you think.