In early 2010, I felt a deep desire to begin sharing the insight I’ve gathered from my 17 years of being a solopreneur. But just because I wanted to tell the world about my experiences didn’t make it a good idea. My biggest question/doubt/concern was: are there any solopreneurs out there, or am I the only one?!
On the very day that I was pondering that question (February 8, my late Dad’s birthday, which I find interesting), I found my answer in this outstanding article in the Wall Street Journal. Richard Greenwald wrote the piece, which begins: “Welcome to the age of going solo.”
I recommend that you read the entire article, but in it Greenwald says:
Today, with unemployment rates hovering at 10%, and all our worries about the job market rooted in the moment, we are in danger of failing to see an important longer-term trend: More Americans are working as consultants or freelancers, either having given up or been forced out of the salaried world of 9 to 5.
It’s a trend that began after the economic downturn of the late 1980s, as many laid-off professionals became consultants. Then it seemed temporary, though, tied to bad times. Evidence now suggests that this is our new economic condition. Today, in fact, 20% to 23% of U.S. workers are operating as consultants, freelancers, free agents, contractors or micropreneurs. Current projections see the number only rising in coming years.
Is this development a bad thing? Perhaps, but it’s real and the future belongs to smart people like you! who are embracing reality.
We can rightly bemoan the loss of security, the shifting of economic risk from institutions to individuals. But crying foul will not change the circumstances that many Americans find themselves facing. Righteous indignation will not turn back time. We can, however, better prepare ourselves for the future.
And solopreneurship isn’t just for starving artists anymore!
The image of the freelancer is too often that of the struggling journalist or writer, who needs to wait tables to pay the rent. No doubt there are many such examples still out there. But there also are plenty of consultants and freelancers who are earning real income and enjoying real success in their careers (as well as redefining what it means to be a success).
My take: I’m skeptical of his “20% to 23% working solo” statement, but I am just a simple solopreneur, so how can I doubt the WSJ? What’s your take?