Thursday, 12 November 2015

The Golden Age of the Self-Employed

Some of us have had to endure listening to our aged seniors brag about a previous labour market, a time when people used to seemingly walk from one job opportunity to another whilst we witness today an economy unable to sustain an increasing unemployed population.

Whilst some of what they say is true, what must be taken into account is that the economy has totally changed. We now seek for employment opportunities in an entirely different world to the one that they were active in. And the market place they sought for jobs in has fundamentally gone forever, let me explain.

Let’s rewind back 100 years. A time when most of the populations of the world engaged in agricultural duties to make ends meet, this eventually paved the way to a services based industry fueled by a demand for more goods, exports and manufacturing.

Fast forward today and we now live in an age abundant with technological advancements when held in contrast to our ancestors only 100 years ago. Some call this age the ‘Information Age.' Some call it an age of the ‘Digital Market.' Some of you will be viewing this very article on a tablet or a smart phone whilst on the move, going about your business commuting to work, a time where everything appears to be available to us at a touch of a finger.

All these advancements, yet we still have increasing numbers of unemployment. Could these advancements in technology actually be contributing to the unemployment numbers?

We have seen increasing amounts of data which suggests that technological advancements and efficiency measures are contributing to making human skill sets redundant. As self-check-out stations replace the check-out boy/girl at the tills at your favourite groceries stores and as the banks continue to roll out self-deposit machines to replace the all familiar counter services, these are the tiny but obvious examples of how we are being made redundant to computers and machines in every industry.

There was once a time when the high street was the centre hub for consumerism. This has now shifted to online stores, and now an increasing number of high street stores struggle to remain operational due to aggressive low cost services being offered online.

‘Blockbuster video’ remember them? They were dotted up and down the United Kingdom and were responsible for employing tens of thousands of staff across the country. They folded due to unsustainable operational costs and all the jobs went with them. The void left by the giant high street chain was quickly filled by the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime who now employ a fraction of the people which Blockbuster Video did.  Those jobs will never return, are you seeing the trend?

The Tsunami of technological and efficiency advancements have decimated the working landscape on a back drop of ever increasing global population numbers. In the last 50 years alone we have seen a doubling of the world population numbers to an incredible 7.3 billion by year 2100 some experts forecast a population of near to 12 billion people. These numbers are worrying as it already appears the economy is now becoming self-service just like the check out in your local super store. It now appears that the economy needs less of us to run it and we are now becoming surplus to requirements.
A new type of work force has found its way onto the market place forcing him/herself to become relevant once again. The self-employed numbers around the world have increased tenfold, recent figures in England suggest that of the 283,000 people who have found themselves newly in work, 183,000 (a massive 65 % of them) are classified as self-employed. People are having to turn to self-employment to better their lives.

A trend has begun of new start-up businesses that cannot be replaced by technology. A certain type of business is making its way back onto the high street, ones where human interaction is highly reliant upon such as beauty parlours, hair dressers, whilst food businesses continue to remain in demand.

Many fortune seekers have turned their backs on traditional income streams and now prefer to go it alone as self-employed entrepreneurs. This has given birth to new trends!

One of these new trends is the emergence of a new market place called Network Marketing or which some refer to as Multi-Level-Marketing. Some experts have labelled some of these business models as scams so I am revealing this subject matter to you with some caution, but then there are legitimate companies who have been setup with a real purpose, to make you and them win.

Sky's the LimitEssentially, these business models are offering budding self-starters a way to join a business model with very little down payment, similar to what a traditional franchise offers. The idea is start-ups join a company and help distribute the company’s products or services and then enjoy a share and ongoing royalties of the reuse of the product or service by their customers.
One particular company in the United Kingdom called the ‘Utility Warehouse Discount Club’ has made huge waves and has featured as best buy in ‘Which? Magazine’. These types of companies have become so prominent in today's market place, the likes of London Mayor Boris Johnson and Prime Minister David Cameron have been eager to be seen rubbing shoulders with such organisations. In May 2015, forty eight hours before their major election was to draw to a close, they were beamed across the world pitching their last attempt at votes from the Utility Warehouse HQ in London.

Such companies make it easy to access self-employment and this is leading to a golden age of self-employment and Network Marketing.   Before looking to go into such models, experts are advising that individuals do their due diligence and check credibility of a company. Ensure the company has been operating for a minimum of five years.   Longer is always better, of course.

Start-ups should understand the cash flows and examine if the company has new money coming into the system from new and real customers. Some network marketing models are heavily reliant on internalized profiteering and these companies should be avoided. Like in any business landscape, there will be those who make money, lose money and those that simply get scammed. Whilst there is a lot of money to be made with the right company, the self-employed must be careful which Network Marketing company they join forces with.

With such bleak employment numbers today, the self-employed gives the economy a renewed hope, a new gusto and encourage an economy to evolve.

Here’s to the self-employed and here’s to a brighter future!

Resources:, Yahoo news, BBC news, Google News, Wikipedia, Sky News

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