As you may have forgotten due to a large outpouring of blogging about personal technology lately, my blog is called Tech Ronin. And it's not meant to be just about gadgets. Gadgets and personal technology including computers and software are the tools of modern times that make it possible for individuals to create their own careers and successful businesses.
The other half of the equation in Tech Ronin is the individual -- knowledge-, tool- and network-enhanced. Modern times have largely taken away the security, predictability and practically guaranteed comfortable lifestyles many of our parents and grandparents *enjoyed* in the 20th century. The corporate job. The staying with a single employer like Ma Bell, PG&E or the government through to retirement.
My own father worked for the federal highway department as a bridge engineer through to retirement and got a very nice pension. And he's retired. What a concept! To be sure, there's still the government with some jobs there and big companies that seem likely to be around a long time but there's also a lot more turbulence and uncertainty about that longevity. Add in 9/11 and Katrina lately and things seem pretty darned unpredictable.
As I've mentioned before (such as Social Networking Made Easy, Part 4, 5, 6, 7, Jobless Recovery), our whole idea of the phrase good job has slipped out of our grasp. Good jobs used to seem like they had a fairly long duration. Tom Peters, corporate guru par excellence, strongly suggests that you regard yourself as *Me, Inc.*. This is a strong hint from someone who knows. Inside or outside the corporate walls, this strategy applies.
But, let's say, like me, you are outside the corporate walls (or would like to be if you could make it work). Let's say you have a company of one or more that's providing probably professional services of some sort. That's a lot like being a *gun for hire*. Might look like subcontracting. It's not a real business like where you mortgage your house to start creating widgets you hope will sell. You can start your business with a credit card (or modest savings if you are one of the seemingly rare Americans who has some savings).
It starts simply by going out and getting or creating your own business cards and putting up your first website, which I highly recommend be a blog with some flexibility to put up auxiliary *static* pages for background information. I think TypePad is quite useable for this at this point albeit with nowhere near enough documentation (hint, hint).
The world that we knew with workers and employers seems to be breaking down fast in the face of modern technology. It's crumbling into a finer granularity -- individuals. First we got our own computers. Wow! Now we have a global Web full of web sites and services, eBay (global marketplace), Craigslist (Net-enhanced local marketplaces), TypePad (your own printing press), Skype for free or near-free long distance calling. And those are just a few bigger names you already know.
I just got my latest issue of Trendwatching.com's newsletter this morning (it's an ezine but newsletters nowadays are almost always ezines aren't they?). It's called Minipreneurs:
a vast army of consumers turning entrepreneurs; including small and micro businesses, freelancers, side-businesses, weekend entrepreneurs, web-driven entrepreneurs, part-timers, free agents, cottage businesses, seniorpreneurs, co-creators, mompreneurs, pro-ams, solopreneurs, eBay traders, advertising-sponsored bloggers and so on.
I love it. Looks like there's a much bigger wave of self-employment and entrepreneurism in the works. Instead of being fired or quitting your job, you dabble in some way in the global market for goods and services (not the stock market). It might be by having a blog (Typepad helps you put text ads into your blog now to make a little extra money). But it could be trading a couple things on eBay. Just sticking your toe in. A way to make a few extra bucks on the side maybe. An offshoot of your hobby that someone is willing to pay for. These mini extensions into the world of commerce are accessible to everyone! Not only professionals, whatever they are.
Trendwatching.com talks mostly about consumer trends, but luckily they don't think of consumers as just consumers anymore. They are very much watching and analyzing from the point of view that the days of the passive consumer are over. So-called consumers are rising up out of their barcaloungers and creating -- and selling what they create or just selling stuff they already have or know. Cool stuff. Read it. More on this.