What my bf and I are doing, is not completely normal. Don’t worry, we’re not naturists or into s&m or anything; we don’t subscribe to Mongolian throat singing rap; we don’t throw parties for stuffed animals or play ‘poop tag’ (don’t ask). We work for ourselves. It’s not normal, not where we are, but it is becoming more on trend.
Working for ourselves; working from anywhere in the world; competing on the world stage; our earnings reflecting how much work we put in to our businesses. This is our life.
Back in the Day
13 years ago, when I was studying eCommerce at uni, this was unheard of. Sure B2B was going on back then, Amazon had been going for a few years and things were picking up, but for everyone and their dog, to have an opportunity to create their own business online, ridiculous.
Technology wasn’t up to par in terms of speed and access. Without mobile devices, people had to spend money on computers and the Internet and it’s vast stores of information was nowhere near as accessible as it is today. People weren’t as trusting with online shopping and security was an issue.
Back then, if you had a real bricks and mortar business, then you were encouraged to maybe… sometime… consider… getting around to… perhaps selling online and it was never this easy. There were no ready-made out of the box templates to use on full ecommerce solutions like Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento or WooCommerce for WordPress. No longer do people need to know how to code or design or set up shop to make a living.
The New Landscape
Today, everyone has the advantage of being CEO in their own low-overhead online business. It seems everyone and their mum’s is doing it. People are quitting their 9-5’s and earning more money from home than ever before.
Social media has skyrocketed our connections with buyers and sellers, with customers and clients, with information and ideas, with fact and fiction (yes media, I’m looking at you).
No longer do you have to go to school to get your qualifications to be a journalist or a travel reporter, you can just start a blog in less than an hour and write till your hearts content. You don’t have to know how to take a professional photo or how to treat it using complicated software; With filters and photo cameras, you could snap a pic instantly and have it displayed for anyone who cares to see.
You don’t have to be a fashion model to wear fabulous high-end clothing labels or brands that people send you for free if you have a following large enough and youtube has made millionaire popstars out of no-name, home-video performing local kids and resulted in million-dollar beauty empires of shy, young beauty vloggers.
In our daily lives, we’re taking control of what we learn. We are educating ourselves on business, on our own health, on how to fix a clogged toilet. We are taking responsibility for cutting and colouring our own hair, of cooking like professional chefs and creating our own beauty products.
We’re educating ourselves about what we need and want. Whether it’s how to raise a child with ADHD, how to plan your own wedding or how to build your own furniture, we’re taking more control over our own lives.
The rules of marketing and advertising have consequently been adapted. No longer are the best ways to be seen, taking out an ad in the local magazine or newspaper, investing in billboard advertising or on high-paying ads on tv.
You’ve got to go where the people are, and today, that’s social media. You can hone in on your ideal target market and talk directly to them in order to sell your wares and create effective marketing campaigns for next to nothing.
The lines between being a professional and knowing enough, are becoming blurred. Natural talent is overriding qualifications and experience. You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on courses or be selected for limited placed apprenticeships, people are more than ever, self-teaching what they want to know, selectively.
The truth is, people don’t care about what you studied or what you’ve done in the past they just want to see what you can do now. The mass audience online is ultimately the judge, not the talent scouts, managers or high-paid head hunters. They, after all, are the ultimate fans.
We’re cutting out the middle-men and it’s creating a world where the rules of society, of time and standards, of structure and procedure, no longer apply.
It’s a great time to be alive, isn’t it? *said so non-sarcastically* Never before has it been so easy to make something of yourself and create your own life and you know what, we all have access to this exciting levelled playing field.
Stuck in the Past
With that in mind, how could we settle for a life that other people have moulded for us? Why are we insisting on upholding the industrial revolution rules for managing our time and effort?
FYI in 1817 manual labourers were introduced to the 8 hour work day. In 1926, the 5 day work week. We no longer work in factories, doing repetitive, menial labour, and yet we’re still following the work-horse rules of living, except maybe the work week has become longer; work that now requires more actual brain power.
Why are we killing ourselves making our bosses richer and getting nothing but a steady wage paycheck in return, despite increased effort, time and skill? Why are there increasingly highly qualified college degree graduates, working as waiters and waitresses? Why are we still settling for less than what we deserve?
As Jake Peralta would say, “The system stinks!” The rules being enforced are old and outdated. Governments and societies are holding on so tightly to the past with their red tape and bureaucracy and consequently holding back progression and humanity’s natural evolution.
Our technology is surpassing our understanding of what to do with it and how it works with our old understanding of society’s rules. The system is slowly breaking down.
The Playing Field
But remember the level playing field I mentioned back there? The one we all have access to and don’t need a lot of money for? That is why, you don’t have to be part of that old-ass system.
You don’t have to work in someone else’s business. You don’t have to play by the rules of education and professionalism. You don’t have to work 9-5, 5 days a week. If you’re a woman or a minority, you don’t have to succumb to that glass ceiling. And you don’t have to be stuck in a job you hate, to survive.
You can actually make your own rules for life. You decide what you do. You decide how much you earn. You decide when you work or where you work or how you work or what you wear to work. You become your own boss.
Make Your Own Damn Rules
If you have a natural talent, then put yourself out there. Whether you’re an amazing illustrator, designer, butcher, baker or candlestick maker, show your talents, your work, your passion for what you do. It’s no longer follow and obey. It’s a show and share world. People connecting with people, creating new roles and new ways to communicate.
The world is an amazing place to be right now. If you’re not getting the access to opportunity that we’ve talked about, where you are, then you can travel and go live somewhere else. There are ways to make things work for you.
Of course Australia is probably 5-10 years behind the rest of the world *she says begrudgingly*, so maybe we’ll be making some moves of our own soon too. What I’m saying is, you aren’t stuck in that one corner of the world where you live. You aren’t a plant. Get out there. Explore. Dream. Discover. Create. Innovate. Levitate.
There are less and less excuses to not create a life you love. And while, what we do is not normal now, I hope that one day we’ll be in a place where it is the norm; where civilisation has advanced enough to reach it’s potential. But for now, we each still have every opportunity at our fingertips. The only rule of the newer world order is this: find what you love to do and share that with the world. You never know where it will take you.