Many people today think that entrepreneurship, the American Dream, and capitalism are all dead. While it is true that the United States has the highest corporate tax rate of any free, developed country, regulations have bogged down a true capitalistic system, and some incredibly naive people claim in Money magazine that the American Dream is out of reach for most, entrepreneurship culture is very much alive. The idea that people can go out on their own and build things without fancy degrees or huge corporations or government assistance has really caught on with millennials and is starting to spread like wildfire.
In the first article I’ve ever had published by a third party, the Foundation for Economic Education, I spoke about how millennials are different than Generation X and the Baby Boomers. This was the article in nutshell:
Millennials want to set our hours, our pay, and decide what credentials we need to signal our value. Millennials want to freelance rather than be employed.
Baylen Smith, FEE
The United States economy is shifting towards freelancers who are contracted out and entrepreneurs who start small businesses. While the details of these two groups are slightly different, the story is the same: no one likes being pushed around by “the man,” so they’re finding ways to bypass him and see the fruits of their own labor.
Why the Emerging Entrepreneurship Culture Works
Small Business vs. Corporations
When people see the direct benefits of their own labor, they work harder. When people know that their money isn’t going to the administrative costs of the company or to a CEO’s fancy new package or into the stock market. When freelancers and small business owners see the ins and outs of operations that they lead, they suddenly become more aware of the value the provide and the returns that they get back. Because of this, they work harder. There is a greater purpose than a boss telling them what to do so they can earn a paycheck.
Business owners and freelancers get to actively solve unique problems with their creativity, and they are held to a higher standard to perform well at all times. In good performance, their work turns into profits; in bad, their work turns to the nails in their coffins.
It is simply much cheaper for a business or even a corporation to hire a freelancer to work from home rather than to hire an employee in an office with the cost of office space, maintenance, training, equipment, taxes, and any other miscellaneous expenses a company must spend on an employee. All of these can be mitigated, if not eliminated, with a 1099.
The demand for freelance work and small companies provides so much flexibility to both workers and businesses.
Workers, people, want an increasing amount of freedom so that they can be better husbands, wives, parents, UK basketball fans. When workers choose their hours, and effectively their pay, they become much happier with their lives because they can bend work around their life rather than the other way around. This increases morale for individuals, and eventually society by extension.
Each company, like each person, is unique. Corporate policies don’t cut it in today’s world. Each company has a unique, specific set of needs. The smaller companies can stay, and the more employees can adapt, the more money can be made and saved by companies at large.
Companies also benefit from employees working when they want. This may sound counter-intuitive, but when employees don’t have a set hours, companies can be on call virtually 24 hours a day to cater to the needs of their clients. Companies can intentionally hire people from different time zones or hire people who prefer to work different hours so that they can be on call 24/7.
Entrepreneurship: Alive and Well
Entrepreneurship is alive and well, and it will be in some form or another until the end of mankind. You can still work your way to a successful life, and you can even do it on your own.
“So you mean I should start going out and trying to freelance or start my own company?” Yes, yes I do. Your life will be instantly better. When you are your boss and you have the choice to (or not to) work with your clients, when you see the fruit of your own labor, when you get to set your own schedule and pay, you have realized true freedom.