As we pause to honor the workers and Makers who offer such valuable contributions to our nation, I am pondering the incredible merger of work and life we are witnessing today.
This is not the first time America has seen the work-life merger. Life and work were a cohesive whole just two generations ago when almost every family produced multiple income streams of their own. Separation of life and work is a product of the Industrial Revolution, and I'm glad I'm not living in it today.
We are living in the most exciting time in decades, when people have more opportunities than ever before to work in ways that suit them as individuals. Just twenty years ago, the typical highway to your dream life was littered with rush hour traffic, cranky bosses, concrete jungles, and pink slips.
Today, it's paved with community, fun, energy, and endless possibility. We can create all of that with a business of our own because business has been democratized. It's not just for the well-to-do anymore.
Not only can anyone start a business of their own, but the recession's wake-up call proved that everyone should start (and grow) a business of their own. The way we work is continuing to change at breakneck speed.
Here are several exciting reasons why this is not your mother's labor force.
- You can work wherever you want to work.
This morning, I worked in the barn while my daughter enjoyed an equestrian lesson. I am writing this blog post from my home office. I could just as easily be writing it while waiting in line at the motor vehicles department, on a sun-drenched island during #IndieCruise … or in an igloo, if that's where I happened to be.
Obviously, if you make a physical product, some aspects of your manufacturing process are going to be location dependent. But you can sell your products in multiple venues: trade shows, from your studio, in local pop ups, at farmers markets, or from the trunk of your car. And you don't have to make everything yourself. You can hire people to help you (see Number 2, below) so you don't have to be in the location yourself all the time.
Today, you can work wherever you want.
- You can work with just about anyone.
Today, because of the Internet, you have access to everyone who wants to be found. Twenty years ago, you had no way to get in direct touch with a New York Times best selling author unless you knew him or her personally, or knew someone who could make an introduction. That is no longer true.
A few years back, I decided I wanted to interview Paula Deen for Indie Business Podcast. I picked up the phone, and called her office. In a few short weeks, she was a guest on my show. I did the same thing with Chicken Soup for the Soul co-founder, Jack Canfield. Pick anyone who wants to be found and you can probably figure out a way to have at least one quick conversation with them … maybe more.
Not only do you have greater access to previously inaccessible people, but you can also work with whomever you want to work with today.
Want to work with professional single moms in your community? Post a note about it in a local professional Facebook Group.
Want to find someone to make your treadmill desk? Ask on Craig's List and interview candidates until you find the one you like best.
Want to hire a virtual assistant to help you grow your business? You can do that too!
Today, you can work wherever you want, with whomever you want.
- You can choose your work, and then choose again, and again, and again.
My father earned Ph.D. in Education. He became a secondary school principal. That was his work. And he did it for many decades. Today, he could have done a million different things.
I graduated from law school and got a job at a law firm. I thought that the only things that would change in my life over the years were the offices or court rooms where I practiced my trade. But I decided I didn't want to do that anymore, and here we are.
Our member, Cindy Jones, Ph.D., had a similar experience, which she shares on Indie Business Podcast. Cindy earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry and held traditional jobs in that field for years. Today, she conducts safety testing on products made my Makers and Creative Entrepreneurs, manages her own farm, distills her own essential oils, makes the cosmetics she sells, and manages her own retail store.
You are never stuck. Today, you can work wherever you want, with whomever you want, doing whatever you want.
- You can choose when you work.
As an entrepreneur, I decide what my work hours are. I can work for nine months, and then take three months off. I can work all day, every day. I can work Mondays and Thursdays and every other Tuesday. I can work when I want to work. The freedom and flexibility that comes along with the options I have are priceless to me, particularly as a mother.
Today, you can work wherever you want, with whomever you want, doing whatever you want, whenever you want.
- You can work however you want to work.
Do you like to travel and meet new people? Become a professional speaker.
Do you enjoy teaching people using geeky tools? Offer online training classes in a specialized field.
Do you want to make a living selling other people's products on commission? Then become a professional affiliate marketer or sales representative.
Want to open retail store? Open one.
Want to start a business making candles? Do that.
The possibilities are endless, and you can create the type of work lifestyle that suits you, your family, and this particular season of your life. And when they change, you can change how you work right along with them.
Looking five years forward, you will not have to be stuck with the life you create today. You hold the key. You are the boss. You can change it if it does not suit you anymore.
Donna Maria Coles Johnson, Indie Business Network
How exciting is all of this? Happy Labor Day indeed!! How have you noticed the labor force changing over the years? How has it affected you and your family? Please do share your thoughts and feedback in the comments below, or share on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.