Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Author:  Doug McCann
Forthcoming Book:  "So You're A Nice Guy and Want To Be In Business"

On The Path of a Free Agent

Monday morning comes fast.  The alarm sitting on the night stand seemingly inches from your ear, takes on a life of its own.  It rings loud and it rings clear.  In your sleepy, barely conscious state, just opening your eyelids seems more difficult than bench pressing a few hundred pounds of metal.  You perceive the ringing to be nothing more than this aggressive noise emanating from this little piece of hardware.  You can almost hear it taunting and harassing you.  It’s time to rise and shine, well, at least rise!

For most, it’s the beginning of a new week and soon time to punch in. This scenario has played out for years and for decades for all kinds of employees, white collar, blue collar, skilled and manual labour positions.  Add to these dynamics, the ever changing demographic schemas, including Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y, also known as the Millennial Generation.  Has anything changed?  Consider the changing objectives and outlook between the generations punching in to a job or a career.  Baby Boomers considered long term stability as one of the most important factors in settling on a job.  Settling down and raising a family and saving for retirement were more important than job satisfaction.  The job market obliged with positions and career availability with long term placement and expectations.  Boomers could expect to stay at a particular job or company for twenty or thirty years!

That was then.  How things have changed!  The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics found in a 2012 survey that today’s average worker will stay at a job for 4.4 years.  In that same year, a survey by Net Impact found that the tendency today is for the Millennial work force to seek happiness and fulfillment in a job or career, and members of this demographic are more likely to job hop in an effort to accelerate advancement in their work.  Additionally, job hopping introduces the employee to a variety of roles and workplaces and opportunities to learn new skills.

Previous generations had to deal with the stigma associated with leaving a job too soon, but a world of economic instability negates such black marks on an employee's record these days. No one can blame, particularly a young employee, who lives with the knowledge and awareness that he or she could be laid off at any time.  Younger generations of workers have only known such instability and their M.O. of searching other job and career opportunities is more of a plan of defence and survival.  They liken themselves as “free agents”.

It's also no wonder that today's employees are also recognizing self-employment as a means of not only surviving, but ensuring constant work, anticipating how much control they expect to have over their position, direction and future.

If economic uncertainty has employees worried about security in their jobs, it does not seem to necessarily scare people from all walks of life from considering self-employment as an attractive option.  Some may feel their circumstances leave them no other choice.

If the reasons for people choosing to enter into business vary, certainly the prerequisites for surviving in the world of self-employment are numerous.

Is this your time?  If you ask your family members, friends, and peers for their ideas and advice, you are likely to hear as many reasons for jumping in with both feet, as you are likely to hear just as many from people who will attempt to talk you out of such 'madness'.

Your final decision is probably going to come from that feeling deep within your gut.  It will be a feeling that may speak in opposition to all the common sense you can conjure up in a list of pros and cons you would or should have prepared.  The kind of business you want to enter is probably the first decision you may have made.  That's the easy part.  You may be planning to continue in a line of work you are well acquainted with following a layoff.  Skilled in a particular trade such as carpentry, electrical, accounting or retail and having been laid off, it would seem natural to continue to offer such services while working for yourself.

Doug McCann - Author - Blog - Business Plan - Nice Guy In BusinessIt will be just as important to examine how feasible it is to enter the world of self-employment.  Do you have enough capital to work with?  Do you have a backup plan?  Do you have a basic sense of business?  Do you have a support mechanism within your family or local association?  Do you have a banker who is on side with you?  It goes without saying that all these must be addressed.

Doing your homework includes a solid marketing study of supply and demand where you will be operating and it means a solid business plan including c ash flow prediction.  Watch for more on this in future blogs.

As always, I welcome your feedback!  Thank you for reading!!