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Is the role of the employee dead?

I'll say a word and you tell me the first thing that comes into your head. Yeah, you didn't realise that this weeks blog was interactive.


Ok here goes.


Me: "Cow"

You: "Milk"


Good start, and thanks for playing along.


Me: "Sunshine"

You: "Sunburn"


A bit negative, but you've got the hang of it.


Me: "Entrepreneur"

You: "Risk taker"


Perfect! That was a long, very weird, and very un-optimised-for-SEO intro to this weeks blog.


Entrepreneur = risk taker.


Job = safe.


I think that was probably the case previously, but I am going to put forward my argument for why I think it's actually reversed now that business ownership, in some form, is so attainable.

Probably how I would react if you told me starting a business was much riskier than being an employee.


If you were running a business, you would never be able to sleep at night if all of your revenue was coming from one client. Especially if that one client was able to fire you at next to no notice. But as employees we not only accept that huge risk, but even consider it safe.


When a lot of people think of starting a business, they think of the extreme examples. Creating a tech product. Designing and sourcing an own-brand product to sell. Starting the next big social platform. These businesses require significant investment to get started and are very high risk. People think of having to raise millions and deal with investors.


But starting a business can be as simple as just doing the thing you currently do as a job, as a business. If you're in sales then find a handful of brands that can't afford a full-time sales person but can afford a smaller monthly retainer. If you're a CFO then find a few smaller businesses that can't quite afford your experience full-time but will massively benefit from you a couple of days a week. And you don't have to make the leap from big salary to no money. Just make sure you line up your first clients ready for your employers notice period ending.


People read the stats that say 90%+ of businesses fail in the first five years. But if you think of an employee as a little micro-business, what would be the stat for % of them that failed in the first five years? How many would be made redundant or let go?


I think that over the next decade, more so in certain industries than others of course, we'll see a massive shift from salaried employees to contractors. From an employers perspective this makes a lot of sense. So many positions in a business are vital to their successful operation, but potentially not vital for 5 days a week. If an employer can get the benefit of a specific role for the specific amount of time they require, then this will be very attractive.


On the flip side, if an employee can spread their risk by working with 3 businesses on a freelance basis, rather than just one employer, then this also seems attractive. Plus, it gives the freelancer the option of scaling their earning up by taking on more work, or trading money for time and working less.


There must be so many people now earning £100k+ salaries, probably with monthly expenses to match, who could be out of a job with 3-6 months notice. Millions of people I would guess, who would be in big trouble if they lost their job.


But still the general consensus is that having a job is safe, and starting a business is a risk.


Clearly this doesn't apply to all sectors, and I also fully accept that business ownership isn't for everyone. But in service-based industries like marketing, tech based roles, finance and many more, we will see a huge shift towards freelance and fractional hires.


Employers reduce costs and employees spread risk.


The dream.



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