Employee or Entrepreneur....Or Both?? Staying Relevant in Today's Work Force

With Careers Changing Up More and More...Staying Relevant is Key

 In the past, the typical plan for a career for most people was to take jobs, develop a skill set and continue working within a company or maybe a few companies throughout their career.  A small percentage would strike out on their own and become entrepreneurs.

Many prefer the comfort and security of a job with a company.  The impetus was to plan for the future by looking at where they might be able to grow and get promoted up the ranks. But it is very clear, the workforce has changed.  The older employees who have built a career and a good salary within the company are quickly being replaced with younger, candidates who are able to compete and not cost the company as much.  Add to it, the trend is that the younger employee will have a fresh perspective and keep flexible approach.  Executives then have to do their best to find employment that utilizes their skill set and can pay what they have become accustomed to.   More and more, they are not getting the jobs nor the pay they were accustomed to.  Understanding what they are best at and reinventing themselves is what they most often have to do to stay relevant.  However, many "lifers" who have worked with companies are reluctant to make that type of change or "leap".  They then can no longer be relevant in the workforce if they are not able to repurpose what they know.

This is not to say they are not valuable.  They are very much, in fact, valuable and experienced.   What they need to do is find where they can best use their talents and share their knowledge in a way that they can remain relevant.  They may consult, teach or go into another field but usually by then....they are becoming in a way entrepreneurs - marketing a brand...Themselves.

It is necessary to look at this fast paced and ever changing trend as becoming the norm. More and more the idea and security of company jobs for long periods is fast becoming a thing of the past.  Most would gasp and possibly panic but instead...perhaps they should establish a different perspective and be better prepared. 

Studies are showing that in a way, we all have to become entrepreneurs.   Many have heard of "You are your brand" it is almost used too much but there is some significance to the phrase. With more and more businesses outsourcing work, laying off long-term employees who have aged out, remote offices becoming the norm, people are switching up the way they work. Companies are switching up the way they hire.  

By getting really clear on the effortless gifts, talents and skill set you uniquely have, you can then dial in where those can be best be used and leverage them into freelance jobs and ultimately into a career.  This may not apply to every career but while this trend of outsourcing, technology and working remotely continues to grow...It may be prudent to get really clear on what talents you possess that are marketable and how it may become a business.

How does that affect design?  You may be an employee at various times throughout your career.  In fact, some prefer not to take on the stress and responsibility of owning their own business and want to work a 9-5,  but it seems prudent to be aware of trends and how you may be affected. Things change up quickly and you also must be able to do the same.

Most start out in design as an intern or employee.  I have had the opportunity to present this idea before large newly graduating groups of designers.   I can see in their eyes the desire to get work right away and be employed.  That makes sense when you have a school loan, bills and life to pay for.  However, I urged them to get really clear on their strengths while they were employed.  Keep focused on their specific and unique skills and gifts. Hone them.

Why?  (I call this your "5" - name the 5 things  you are easily good at, enjoy doing and keep your eye on where they fit in)

1) Knowledge of what you do best - what you have always done easily - will help you to see where those skills fit in in the current economy and workforce.

2) Keeping focused on those traits will help to guide you into the jobs that will polish those skills and help you to "build your brand" and strengthen your ability

3) Elevating and strengthening those talents will help you to carve out a niche for yourself.  What you provide will be necessary and the better you are  at it and aware of it, the sooner you can connect with the appropriate jobs, projects or contracts.

4) By developing your gifts throughout your career, you can be certain of what YOU bring.  Change is a certainty and being aware of your best talents can transcend loss of employment into a business of consulting, liaison, freelance, etc.

5) While you are an employee....do your best to hone those innate skills and develop your strengths.  Freelance if you can and continue to work on developing paths that will keep you working and relevant.  

Our lives change up from 20's, 30's.40's and on.  What we want in our 20's will not be what want in our 40's.  Keeping our best gifts polished, utilized and developing them will open up more opportunities throughout your career.  Stay ahead of the trend and with your 5 keep realizing where your best talents fit.  Do not become complacent, nor fearful but aware and ever evolving.  You would want to anyway right?  To live your best life.  

"We cannot stop change...it's imminent.  We need to embrace it and be very very certain of what we bring to the world" 

By being clear on our talents...our gifts we can then be confident in our commitment to what we do and grow on that.  Develop them so you can continue to repurpose and use them and remain....relevant.

If you are wanting to learn how to be an interior designer, or how to operate an interior design business - follow the Friday 5 for strategies, tips and inspiration.  Click link

If this article was helpful, continue to follow as more course will be focused on developing your brand and how you can be your own entrepreneur.

Friday 5

Elizabeth Ribons is a successful professional designer and a creative entrepreneur sharing her knowledge through Better by Design Academy