Losing your job can be shocking and depressing, but it doesn’t have to be. No, getting laid off can be the opportunity of a lifetime, Grownups.
There’s never been a better time to have your W-2 revoked. Though it’s good click-bait to disparage the gig economy and call it the “robopocalypse,” David and I don’t buy into those fears.
From W-2 to W-9
Once upon a time, I worked for a scary witch. Her veins flowed with scorn for my existence. It soon became obvious that any attempt to resolve this manufactured situation was futile; it was personal, not professional. She was committed to my demise.
David and I were scared that I would soon lose my job, and our income would be cut in half. We were accustomed to a certain lifestyle—bottles of wine don’t just appear out of thin air.
Since then, we’ve learned that the possibilities in today’s economy are endless. Today’s economy, adversely called the gig economy, is full of opportunities.
After I had lost my job (and celebrated a bit), I started hustling on some entrepreneurial adventures. Prior to my being laid off, we had been pursuing them lethargically. My freedom let us pursue new endeavors in a lively way, often working 10- to 12-hour days.
In the not-too-distant future, David’s entrepreneurial adventures and mine will be our primary streams of income. Each stream of income reduces our reliability on the others—this is good because, just as markets don’t move in tandem, our streams of income don’t move together. Diversification is essential for stability.
There’s a lot of concern about the gig economy. We’re open to the opposing views, but we’re excited about this new economy.
Since we turned our hobbies into businesses, we see the opportunities of ever-changing technology, work, and work-life balance paradigms. We’ve met many people who have (or are starting) their businesses through websites, podcasts, freelancing, consulting, and more. This new economy offers a wealth of freedom and income to those willing to embrace it.
With more established companies open to contractual part-time employment and working remotely, there are fewer risks with starting your own business today. Balance can happen between a steady job and a side hustle.
Millions of dollars in venture capital investments are no longer needed to launch profitable companies. With a little investment in recording equipment and basic video/audio editing skills gained from YouTube, one can create a successful blog or podcast. These mediums become profitable with affiliate marketing and sponsorships that provide multiple streams of income.
You have skills from previous jobs, hobbies, and passions. With technology literally at your fingertips, the barrier to monetizing your skills and starting your own business has never been lower. Often all that’s needed is a tablet, a website, and a social media account.
Use your skills to create a blog, webinar, or podcast (or all three). Use your knowledge to create a consulting company. Break your skills into bite-size chunks and turn each piece into an eBook. All of these individual components build your platform. Use your platform to be a public speaker to your former peers from the company that revoked your W-2.
As someone who embraces the gig economy, you can repurpose and reuse your skills in numerous ways to generate income. That’s not to say it’s easy: It takes a lot of work to monetize your skills, but it is possible. With your new freedom, that profitability can happen faster than if you were still shackled to a 9-to-5 job.
Your gainful unemployment is also an opportunity to go mobile or relocate. One of the reasons why many people are choosing to be contractors or freelancers is because they want to travel. They wish to see the world now, not when they’re 65.
Most everything mentioned above is achievable with a laptop and a smartphone. We wouldn’t leave home without those. Therefore, you can take your new career anywhere.
When we finally cut loose from the W-2, we made a laundry list of places to visit. The most exciting part about this list is that we know we can visit these places and maintain our businesses. Our freedom and flexibility will be endless.
Up until now, we’ve utilized our ability to manage our businesses from anywhere when visiting friends and family within the U.S. This has given us a glimmer into the possibility of putting our condo on AirBnB while we rent from AirBnB in another country and still manage our independent businesses.
It could also be the right time to move. We often find ourselves living somewhere longer than we planned. Next to love, a job is the most common reason for staying somewhere. Unless your love demands otherwise, you can go anywhere as a freelancer.
See the Opportunity
We know from experience: It was scary when I lost my job. But in hindsight, we wouldn’t have had it any other way. It hasn’t been easy, but we’re happy with where we are today, and our possibilities are greater than most any W-2 job could provide.
The great news for you is that there’s never been a better time to go it alone.
Read more stories from John Schneider and David Auten at DebtFreeGuys.com.