There was some discouraging news last week on the 9-5 front.
The Canadian economy lost 31, 200 jobs in July and experienced the biggest one-month drop in full-time employment in five years.
The employment rate is now at 6.9 per cent, up from 6.8 per cent in June.
This isn’t exactly the positive news we were expecting; analysts had predicted our economy would create 10,000 jobs last month. On a positive note, Canada did gain 40,200 part-time jobs.
Younger Canadians had a challenge finding work: There were 28,000 fewer jobs for the 15 to 24-year-old group.
While the loss of jobs may sound discouraging to millennials, we should instead turn our attention to the options and resources we have in our growing freelance economy.
The economy of freelancers and entrepreneurs is has never been stronger.
In what Harvard Business Review called “The Rise of the Supertemp,” even professionals historically reserved for the corporate world – like attorneys, architects, and CMOs – are opting to work independently. At the same time, a growing number of companies are starting to realize that hiring a contract employee is often the best option for cost and quality.
Bombarded with the modern-day notion that they should follow their passions at any price, young people are doing just that. I remember reading a Facebook post a while back from a well-known Toronto media professional, fashion world staple, and business owner. It said something like this:
“A young woman came up to me the other day and said ‘you’re so lucky: you have my dream job’. I told her, ‘I created my dream job’.”
There are more resources available than ever for entrepreneurs – including a slew of startups designed to make your life easier. For example, Toronto startup Random Works allows members to work from empty restaurants when they are not in use.
Offices, and their steep monthly rent, are becoming increasingly obsolete.
We’ve also seen the rise of collaborative workspaces in cities around the world, including the popular WeWork company. Being a freelancer no longer means a life of isolation and spending the day at home in sweats.
Working for yourself also comes with many perks.
For all the risks, limited cash flow, and all-nighters that come with the early days of entrepreneurship, the benefits are pretty amazing.
For example, you’ll never have to worry about whether you have enough vacation days to take that last-minute trip with the lads or ladies. Not to mention, you can work from anywhere – a different indie coffee house each week, or communal vacation homes/workplaces designed exclusively for digital nomads.
Though not all campaigns are met with equal success, crowd-funding sites have offered a potential in to the market in a way that was never possible in the past. Not to mention, social media has allowed us to market our business virtually for free. If you’re savvy on social media, social media is the best tool you have to get the word out there.
In recent years, we’ve also seen the emergence of online marketplaces for freelancers. These websites – like Upwork – and platforms connect freelancers with work and those seeking work from freelances.
Let’s not forget that our Canadian cities are full of in-person networking opportunities for young professionals. Pretty much every cultural institution has a young patrons’ circle that hosts millennial-filled events throughout the year.
Sure, your bank account will probably take a hit once you chose to work for yourself. But for many people, it’s worth it.
If you have a good idea and a solid business plan, you don’t have to feel bad about seeing your bank account go into the red to start your company; most millennials have less than $1000 in their savings anyway. In fact, many still live at home, and a surprising amount of people in their twenties, thirties and even forties say they couldn’t survive without the help of their parents.
The stability offered from working at a large and established company is nice, of course – as is a regular paycheque and dental benefits. But to sell your soul to the gruelling, monotonous daily grind in exchange for a few brunch dollars and dentist appointments simply isn’t acceptable to some.
Though we’ve heard it so much that it’s become comically cliché, every single entrepreneur I have interviewed has told me that they love their jobs so much that it doesn’t feel like work.
In a questionable economy, choosing passion over paycheque makes even more sense. In a time of layoffs and dwindling benefits, we need to ask ourselves: is the corporate world even that stable anymore?