When I started my first real job back in 1985 with a big telecoms company, we were expected to stay for 40 years, collect the gold watch, and retire happily to potter around the garden, play golf and take the odd cruise.
Funny thing is, even at the time, I never expected to stay at the same place for long. Maybe it’s because it was just outside London, and I wanted to be inside. Or maybe it was because I was a programmer and my work was project-based. Meaning that whatever I was working on had a beginning, a middle and an end.
But what really dispelled any lingering illusion I might have had about jobs for life was when a colleague who’d only been there for less than a year got fired. He was in his 40s with a family and big mortgage. He was devastated. I can still recall how we all rallied round with sympathy at his leaving drinks. At least until we all got drunk.
The world has changed
Fast forward 30 years. What changed?
First off: nobody even pretends to believe in the notion of jobs for life anymore. At least not in the ‘post-industrial’ West.
But what’s really changed is that there’s a yin and a yang to this. A push and a pull.
The yin or push is that employers don’t need as many full-time ‘permanent’ employees and are dumping them as fast as they can. All thanks to outsourcing, automation and globalisation.
The yang or pull is that people increasingly and actively don’t want a ‘single’ job for life. Just ask anyone under 40.
It’s easy to forget that the ‘dream’ of the 9-5 job for life came and went within a mere 100 years or so. Barely a blip in the general scheme of things.
The 20th century idea of a benevolent corporate employer looking after you from university to retirement has gone. Forget it.
The stakes have never been higher for small independent businesses as a new wave of independent bookstores, boutiques, artisan food producers, craft breweries and coffee shops are beginning to fill the void left by the faceless supermarkets, box stores and private equity owned chain stores.
Small independent firms in the professions from consulting to medicine, and law to accountancy face huge challenges in how to position themselves as a perfect storm of outsourcing, technology and globalisation gathers pace. For example, it’s no longer good enough for accountants to simply ‘do the books’, because clients are latching onto inexpensive, easy-to-use software instead.
Want a book deal? The traditional book publishers won’t even consider you unless you already have an audience to sell to.
Same thing for musicians and major record labels. And artists and galleries.
Who’s going to help you?
The traditional gate keepers are having to reinvent themselves fast. Those that don’t will not survive. Either way, we can’t depend on them anymore.
If we can’t rely on an employer, or union, or investor, or record label, or publisher or art gallery to look after us, then who will?
For the answer, just take a look in the mirror.
The bottom-line is that whether or not we like it, we have to take responsibility and be more independent than ever before.
Who is BuzzIndie for?
BuzzIndie is for small independent businesses, solo-entrepreneurs, professionals, musicians, authors and artists who want to reach more customers, clients or fans.
The good news is that the possibilities and opportunities to do our own thing are better than ever. We don’t need (much) money, we can make our own connections, and we don’t need to be technical geniuses.
I left my last ‘proper’ job (as a Vice President at JP Morgan bank) in 2001 and have been independent ever since. It’s not always been easy but I have learned a thing or two. I’ve been inspired by countless thousands who have figured out how to make their own way in this sometimes scary but exciting 21st century world of ours.
The reason I setup BuzzIndie is to help those who are or aspire to be ‘independent’ of those traditional gate keepers.
How can BuzzIndie help you?
The trick is to build an audience. Not only that, but to build a direct relationship with your audience.
Your audience is that group of people who get what you do, trust you and your work, and ultimately buy from you.
Security today is having a 1,000 true fans who buy into everything you do, rather than depending 100% on a single employer who could fire you at any moment.
In today’s inter-connected world, those who own the relationship with the audience are the ones who succeed.
The mission of BuzzIndie is to inspire with stories of those who are succeeding. And to help by teaching the techniques & setting-up the tools (including a website that works) you need to build your platform so you can reach & grow your audience. We’re told we’re personal, practical and affordable. And that’s the way we like it.
This stuff isn’t complicated, just not obvious. The schools aren’t teaching it. And neither are the universities. Much of what you need to know is online somewhere but it’s fragmented, confusing and surrounded by fast-moving distractions. A handful of the big agencies may be able to help but they tend to be geared towards the medium to large companies, not the small independents like you.
Growing your own audience of customers, clients or fans will make you less dependent on traditional gate-keepers. It will bring you the freedom and flexibility to do what you do best, on your own terms. And, it will let you move toward your goals and dreams.
That is why I set up BuzzIndie.