With all the talk about an economic slowdown, I spent a bit of time thinking about the great financial crisis. Lots of challenges around real estate that led to many people losing their jobs. Unemployment peaked at ten percent in October 2009. If we have another slowdown (hopefully we won’t), there’s a chance we’ll see layoffs again. In the tech industry, we already are (see here and here).
If we see more layoffs in the coming months, I think they could be the catalyst for something unexpected: the rise of solopreneurs. More people will opt to work for themselves, but instead of aiming to build a large company, they’ll choose to be a team of one.
Why? People value flexibility and control over their own destiny more than ever. They want work to fit into their life, not vice versa. Solopreneurship is a path that accomplishes this. People are starting to be more comfortable putting their own interests ahead of their employers’ (if they’re laid off, can you blame them?). They want a situation that aligns with their personal priorities.
Why would this accelerate now? COVID-19 has made working remotely commonplace. You can work from wherever you want, and most companies are comfortable with this. If there are layoffs, companies still want to get the work done, but without the overhead of full-time employees. High-quality contracts that can be dialed up and down as needed can be an attractive alternative.
I hope we don’t have an economic slowdown, but if we do, I think we’ll see Solopreneurship become a career path that many people embrace.