Self-employment is on the rise again. Individual motivation is stronger than ever (though, it is tempered somewhat by the ongoing fiscal cliff issues).
The latest US census data (2010 data, released in Sep 2011) for non-employer statistics (which includes self-employed people – businesses with no paid employees) showed that the numbers rose 2-3% from 2009 to 2010 to about 21.1M , with a total revenue of $951B. In contrast, total paid employment dropped about 2% to 112M employees. Of course, this has a lot to do with the economic crisis during 2010. Yet, these numbers are telling. A more recent Forbes article on self-employment cites another study that reinforces these growth trends.
Technology continues to be the great leveler – enabling individuals to work from small offices or home offices (SOHO) with the kind of efficiency and innovation that was previously only available to institutions who could afford large capital outlays.
Longer life expectancies are driving baby boomers to seek out second careers.
Gen Y, having seen their parents go through corporate ups and downs, are opting for more flexible lifestyles where the lines between work and life are blurred, if they exist at all.
Women, as their population grows, are finding self-employment a great way to balance family and work lives.
And, immigrants – this is a powerful demographic as the 2012 elections have shown – continue to leverage their education and culture in innovative ways – living their version of the American dream.
I’ve shared part of my personal motivation in my first blog post and in my last Friday Thoughts post. And, as I continue to connect with more free agents (whether entrepreneurs, freelancers or independent professionals), I have been learning of all kinds of reasons / drivers that drove them to their individual paths. Some of the more popular ones are as follows. I’m sure you could add some more of your own.
- The need for a flexible work schedule and/or lifestyle
- Financial needs
- Independent spirit (not wanting a boss)
- Family business / profession legacy
- Employer layoff
Are you a free agent or thinking of becoming one? What’s driving you? Take the Free Agent Monthly Poll at the top right of this page and find out what other readers / visitors are picking as well. If you’re driven / motivated by something else entirely, please share your thoughts in the comments below.
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