by Melanie Banayat
Some people say they could never live without the security of a traditional corporate job. I understand that not everyone is cut out to run his or her own small business; however, studies on the growth of the Independent workforce in our country indicate that entrepreneurship is viewed by many as more secure these days than “traditional jobs.”
Here in the rural town of Prescott, Arizona we’ve experienced the closing of Hastings, Albertson’s, Haggan’s, Whole Foods, and The Room Store just in the past few years, to name a few, which left many of our local residents jobless during these uncertain times. So…seriously, what’s so secure about these so called traditional jobs?
A lot of people think freelancing is something you do when you can’t find a real job. I personally know plenty of serious freelancers who would tell you that there’s nothing more real than wearing all three hats as the CEO, COO, and CFO of their small business.
The questions that come to me are, “What’s so great about living with the underlying fear that an HR person, who has never met you, will decide your job’s not necessary any more? Or knowing that some executive in a cushy high rise office in California, New York, or Texas could decide that the Prescott branch isn’t as profitable as it should be, and close it down tomorrow?” Just ask those who were working at the Prescott Whole Foods when they were literally told that the store will be closing in two days! That’s all the notice they were given.
Here are three reasons why a coworking space, full of independent professionals, brings more stability to the local economy than a large or moderate-sized corporation.
Freelancers Are Dynamic and Decisive
It would be an understatement to say that small businesses are more agile than traditional companies. In the time it takes three corporate committees to decide to begin to investigate a creative opportunity, the freelancer will decide, bring in other freelancers to collaborate, hop on market research and analysis, and take action to make it a reality. Freelancers are used to rolling with the punches. When business as usual stops working, they can try something completely new in a few short months, weeks, or even days -- not next year.
Freelancers Have Low Overhead
We all know that running a brick and mortar business is expensive. There are utility bills to pay, equipment to buy, and insurance to keep current. If profit margins fall low enough, these costly necessities can drive a company out of business in a matter of weeks. Whereby freelancers typically have very low overhead (especially if they cowork). Also, they’re more than willing to tighten up the purse strings when the going gets tough, and keep on keepin’ on.
Freelancers Are Capable and Willing to Do More Than One Thing
The days of depending on one skill or product to attract revenue are over. While large corporations are scrambling to figure out how to diversify, the freelancer knows from the get go how to diversity to stay in business. Think about it, which business has a better chance of surviving a down economy: a large company that does or makes one thing, or a sole proprietor who knows how to do five things? Freelancers are scrappy, savvy survivors, which means they stay educated, are constantly expanding their networks, and work hard to acquire more skills that will keep them competitive in their field.
For those reasons mentioned above (and many more) freelancers tend to be more stable in their work, and often happier that they have more control over their employment (self-employment). They can’t get fired, or downsized or restructured. They don’t depend on the “wisdom” of invisible executives for their livelihood. They don’t worry about losing a big client because they know how find another one. And coworking spaces provide a homebase for them as a healthy, holistic ecosystem where independent workers help and support one another – which in turn supports our local economy.
While the rest of the world gets into the unemployment line, freelancers keep paying the mortgage, shopping in local stores, feeding their kids, and paying taxes. They continue to contribute throughout both the good times and the bad, unlike a big company, which will close its weakest links first when the money starts to run out.