Women are one segment of society benefitting from the #GigEconomy. They are taking advantage of being globally connected in a big way! Women are selling products on Etsy, Amazon and their own stores. They are using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media sites to grow their online presence while supporting their businesses and families.
In 2015, I co-published an article, Become a Future-Focused Leader: Use Three Megatrends to Grow Your Rural Business, with Alyssa Dye (an amazing young female entrepreneur!) We also published three videos on the three megatrends I will share in the Future of Women series. You can download the full-text article focused on rural entrepreneurs, including related references by clicking here. The first video is below. The article and videos were targeted to rural entrepreneurs; however, the same ideas are important for female entrepreneurs. I made a few changes to the original article and posted a few segments below. When you read or hear “rural entrepreneur” in the video you can think “female entrepreneur.” The #GigEconomy is full of challenges and opportunities for women in business.
No one can predict the future; however, entrepreneurs and business owners can use a future-focused leadership approach, which includes examining megatrends, to shape the future of their businesses and lives. Megatrends are global shifts that influence society, the economy and the environment. This “Future of Women” series will discusses three megatrends shaping the future:
1) The Rise of the #GigEconomy
2) Living with Purpose and Meaning
3) The Decentralized Marketplace
While many companies are struggling to keep up with the rapid rate of change, future-focused entrepreneurs are growing their businesses by blending technology with the human experience. And, many of these entrepreneurs are women. Together, with a common purpose, female entrepreneurs can examine megatrends, utilize emerging technologies, and monitor analytics while creating meaningful experiences and innovating businesses in ways not yet imagined.
Why is this so important? I believe many women are naturally future-focused leaders. Research published by the National Women’s Business Council shows that nearly 91% of female entrepreneurs are in business by themselves. They have no employees. I believe this is by choice. Women are working to support themselves and their families; however, they also want to build a future for their families that includes more than money. They are looking for ways to live a full and meaningful life designed to support their families for generations.
The trend of female entrepreneurs is a critical global trend. Women have long been leading families and communities with little to no recognition. This trend is changing, and women will be shaping the future in ways the world has not yet imagined.
The emerging Gig Economy (#GigEconomy) will create new challenges and opportunities for entrepreneurs, businesses and communities. An emerging trend, the rise of global joblessness (International Labour Office, 2014), is supporting the growth of the Gig Economy while creating a need for the marketing of talents and skills in new and meaningful ways. The ability to sell, purchase and promote goods and services, as well as individual brands, on the web has created a need for entrepreneurs to add value to the lives of others in innovative ways. People are increasingly defining success for themselves, which does not always include a college degree and a 9-5 job. In many ways, it is now much cooler to be a successful start-up entrepreneur, famous blogger or YouTube sensation than a person working in a traditional office setting for 40+ hours per week.
Approximately 53 million Americans are engaged in some manner of freelancing, which is adding around $715 billion to the economy (Edelman Berland, 2014). Further, the number of large employers is predicted to shrink in the future, causing people to find new and inventive ways to make a living. Self-employment has been identified as a vital economic tool for rural people and communities (Goetz & Rupasingha, 2014). The rising #Gig Economy may be one megatrend that can benefit rural places if technology can be leveraged to reach both local and niche audiences interested in purchasing goods and services from freelancing entrepreneurs.
One common denominator will remain the same: Women-owned businesses and people need to be found on the already crowded World Wide Web. They have to build their brands and levels of influence to strengthen both credibility and success. Businesses like Fiverr.com and Iotronics are disrupting the traditional career and job search with technology. Need a logo, book review or video? No problem. Go to Fiverr and hire outsource experts in almost anything to help you. Services start at only five dollars! Iotronics helps people generate Twesumes (Twitter + Resume = Twesume), which are resumes in 140 characters or less) to land jobs or gigs (thus, the #GigEconomy).
Connectivity is key. Female entrepreneurs can participate in the #GigEconomy as both entrepreneurs for hire as well as employers. Entrepreneurs can use #GigEconomy tools to diversify their profit centers, contract with other entrepreneurs and generate income.
Coaching Tips for Female Entrepreneurs:
1) Consider marketing goods and services on websites that can help you test the marketplace, connect with customers and take payments. Amazon, Square and Etsy may be places to sell your ideas. Fiverr and Elance can help entrepreneurs find help or land gigs. Online marketplaces may be a way to begin selling on the Web. Make sure to do your homework first to ensure that you are working with a credible source.
2) Connect with other entrepreneurs inside and outside of your niche. Look for other entrepreneurs (both competitors and collaborators) on Fiverr and find gigs on places like Mom Corps, TeachersPayTeachers, Square and similar resources. LinkedIn is a great place to connect with like- minded entrepreneurs and industry leaders. Many states have an online marketplace focused on selling goods and services available in that state. For example, Grow Nebraska is a marketplace resource for Nebraska’s entrepreneurs.
3) Become vigilant and creative about building your brand. Blend online and offline worlds in ways that engage people in meaningful experiences. Have some fun and let your personality shine through! For example, a Twitter Party is a great tool to expand your brand online in real-time.
Successfully making your mark in the #GigEconomy takes patience and hard work. However, it also presents the opportunity to earn extra income along side of your current career or as a part- or full-time entrepreneur. The opportunities are truly endless!
Go Wild with Your Opportunity in the #GigEconomy! This is your chance to…Be You & Do Something Cool!