Andy Gunton (@andymooseman) recently shared a blog post he discovered, "Are you ready for the death of the job?" at the website for John Williams' book, "Screw Work, Let's Play." I haven't read the book, but the concept in this blog entry is worth considering.
Williams suggests that as we moved from an agrarian to an industrial economy, we're moving into an individual entrepreneurial economy - and can expect changes as profound as those during the industrial revolution. We will cease working for others, and work only for ourselves.
Williams claims that "People earning their living from a job will be in the minority in as little as six years' time." While I believe that timeline is unrealistic, the concept itself holds a great deal of merit.
|Entrepreneurs don't need to ask for more. They|
have to get it themselves.
(Courtesy The British Library)
For the most educated in the world, connected through technology to potential consumers worldwide, the possibilities are, in theory, almost endless. Online niche marketing gives us the ability to sell a product, perform a service, or offer a work of art to precisely those who would enjoy what we have to offer.
As Andy pointed out in a Facebook discussion on this topic, "Part of the problem Rich is that it requires a different mind set to what we've been brought up & taught to expect. I don't think the schools of today are catching up fast enough either & not sure they ever will."
If you've ever spoken to a successful entrepreneur, it's clear that entrepreneurship is a specific state of mind, and a very particular attitude. It requires the ability to persevere through hardship and rejection, and a spirit that allows creative thinking. Even with all of those qualities, success is never guaranteed. If you're risk-averse, entrepreneurship is not attractive.
The concept, though, fascinates me. I'm self-employed, but my book - a tangible product - is my most direct attempt at developing the skills and knowledge necessary to reach a specific niche audience. One aspect of entrepreneurship hasn't changed. I have a good product, and I know the audience is out there. But they don't know I'm here. My task as an entrepreneur is to discover creative, cost effective methods to reach those audiences worldwide.
Understanding how to reach and sell to niche markets is a rapidly developing skillset that, in time, will allow many more people to be successfully self-employed. Even in the Western World, however, it may take a generation or two for those skills to become ingrained in the workforce.
The opportunity will be met. As some field workers moved into the factory, and some factory workers moved into the office, some office workers will eventually move back home.