Will we all be business owners in the future?

Is there any area of business that will be spared massive lay offs?

Read about the likelihood of such development in the legal business years ago. So I’m not surprised. It reflects a structural shift in the way we do business.

In a world of neo-liberal policies, to employ or not employ is reduced to mathematical formulas. And in area after area the formulas seem to be stacked against employment. Read somewhere that 2 billion jobs will be lost by the year 2030.

Employment a thing of the past?

Is employing people becoming a thing of the past? Not only in business but in other areas of the economy as well? The same mathematical formula will most likely be applied even to non business sectors such as health care. In order to maximise profits self employed doctors and nurses may very well be the way of the future.

In Britain alone 367,000 people have become self employed since 2008. And you have the same development all over the world.

Many of us already have our own companies so the development suits us. Do however feel sorry for today’s teenagers who have decided to go down the MBA route. The majority of them will not have the opportunity we had of starting their career as employees. They will have to swiftly set up their own company. Needless to say that will put those who don’t have an entrepreneurial mind in a difficult position. Many of them will be building up debt as they scrape along.

Do you think self employment is the way of the future? What sectors could possibly be spared from massive layoffs? Apart from current development, will the world’s population outgrow the number of jobs available? How is education preparing the next generation for self employment? Do you think the future will lead to competition amongst self employed people getting tougher and tougher? 

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68 thoughts on “Will we all be business owners in the future?

  1. There is definitely some advantage to being able to see both sides (as a business owner and as an employee). If these younger MBA students fresh out of University are starting up their businesses they may be lacking in some of the foundational concepts of running a successful business. One important aspect of being a successful business owner is knowing what type of employees to hire, and if you've never been on the other side as an employee you might not know what to look for. It will be interesting to see how things will turn out in North America and to see if other countries will follow the same patterns of having an increase in new business owners.

    1. Sandy, the same thing is happening in Europe since the collapse of Lehman Brothers. There simply are not any jobs and starting a business is a better option than being unemployed. Easier said than done not least, as you point out, for students straight out of university, or worse, high school.

  2. I think to growing selfemployment pressure is going to be an inavitable but limited solution. It is less tied to the contracting so wherever the loyalty has importance the limits of selfemloymency are going to be bigger.

    1. More selfemployed people and independent contractors is an inevitable consequence of neo liberal policies, Joseph. Sadly not all human beings are entrepreneurs and for those who are not life will be a struggle.

  3. Well, small businesses in America is what helped build our economy…and few of those business went BIG. like Walmart, McDonalds…etc.

    I think people are worried for job security, so being your own boss helps with that. As well as immigrants take this opportunity to start something either because of language barriers or access to other resources (Chinese immigrants open dry cleaners and laundry facilities because it cost little to do so and didn't require alot of English).

    But keep in mind (at least in the U.s) self-employed also applies to household workers (maids and nannies) as well as independent contractors. So is a maid someone who really owns her own business? Some companies would rather hire you as a independent contractor than a "full employee" so they won't pay benefits.

    1. SME's are the backbone of the economy in all countries in the world. Without small and medium sized companies the world economy would collapse. And there would be no jobs. The majority of jobs in all countries are created in SME's.

      The point of all this is that the trend is that companies do anything they can to avoid paying for social security, pensions and any other costs associated with employing someone. The person they "employ" has to take care of those costs themselves. And that's what you have to do if you are self employed or an independent contractor. So in that respect it works as if they had their own company.

      1. Yeh, I know this is off topic, but I guess I was wondering how many SMEs are really people trying to start a viable business as oppose to a domestic being hired to work in the household or someone being given an Independent Contractor title instead of wage earning employee title….advantages and disadvantages.
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        1. Hope you understand why this is happening in the world. It's neo liberal policies coming out of Chicago Univerisity. Nobel Prize laureates Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman calls neo liberalism "robber capitalism".

  4. I started out as an employee, but the moment I was able to go into business for myself I did and haven't looked back since. Just hired a recent college grad who decided after just three weeks that she did not like her chosen profession and accepted an offer outstanding for the better part of the past three years.

    She's able to get 100 likes for just about anything she posts to Facebook, an obvious asset in today's business world, particularly for e-commerce and other tech companies.
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    1. Good for you. Being your own boss is by far the best. If I were you I would get the girl you employed to get you ranked higher on Alexa i.e. get more visitors to your site:-)

      1. Thanks for the advice. I used to have the toolbar installed, but have been so overwhelmed of late that I haven't had time to worry about it so long as there were orders to fill. In fairness, the site URL I entered into the field was for one of our blogs and not our main commercial site.

        Many bloggers and webmasters prefer that readers who comment not attempt to link to e-commerce sites given the proclivity of doing to so attract spammers who don't read the posts before commenting, much less care about whether or not their comment offers anything of value to other readers.

        I do not know if you would fall within this category of blogger, but I've made it a habit of only linking to blogs which have interesting content and aren't commercial in nature per se when commenting on the blogs I frequent for entertainment or advice. I'm not sure where our main site would rank in Alexa, but I do know it would be far better than any of the various blogs we maintain to promote the main site, including our Tumblr blog.

        She will most certainly be working on generating more site traffic, as we've found "social signals" to play an increasingly significant role in bolstering our site's position in organic search.

        Anyway, I've long found your blog to be among the more interesting business blogs I frequent. I find it uncanny how much I'm able to relate to the things you write about despite our residing on different continents.

        Keep up the great work and thanks again for the suggestions!

  5. I think that self-employment is definitely a growing trend. Technology is facilitating remote working, and companies are taking advantage of this to downscale and outsource many functions, recognising the potential cost-savings. This is being exacerbated by the high social taxes being levied in many countries – especially Europe – which are saved with outsourcing. For many people, too, having a small company represents a significant saving on income tax, so one can take a lower gross amount to be ahead in net pay. In effect, these governments are encouraging the self-employment trend, too. The law of unintended consequences…

  6. I would think that as people become self employed they will be creating an opportunity to employ others also. If they grow large enough, then there could be great employment opportunities available.
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  7. Unfortunately, there is no safe business. Some business will continue to hire, but staying on the job as the economy changes may not be so easy. Likewise, a self-employed freelancer can have plenty of work one year and the next year may be drier. We all have to stay on our toes. Those who are able to adapt to new circumstances will have the best chances of success.
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  8. It's all about the bottom line Catarina. I think reality is fast becoming that (like it or not) self-employment may be the best option for many. It's interesting to watch in the US what is happening with healthcare. Some companies are not hiring simply to avoid the cost of having additional employees. Many companies are only hiring part-timers. They're finding it cheaper to pay the fines than to offer health care. The impact that this is having is huge. Self-employment is becoming not only an option but in some cases the only recourse.
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    1. Not surprised we are of the same opinion, Sherryl. Sure, neo liberal policies were originally created to benefit corporate America. But when how they don't hire people to avoid health care expenses it makes me wonder what kind of a world we are living in. And the same thing is happening even in Northern Europe thanks to neo liberal policies. The IMF forced governments all over the world to implement neo liberal policies. And what happened? The world economy collapsed. But politicians all over the world keep on implementing the polices that torpedoed the world economy. Now the IMF is starting to say those policies may not be a good idea. So let's see…

  9. I think there is a genetic component to being an entrepreneur. I have one son who immediately struck out on his own developing and running several web businesses (and his college degree is in exercise physiology!). The other, is less of a risk taker and works for a university as a project manager for clinical trials. (His degree is in Hospitality Management). I think entrepreneurship should be part of the curriculum starting in high school.

    I come from a long line of employees, but my husband encouraged me to start my own law firm when I was discontented working in another firm. I couldn't believe that I did it and I had to learn as I went. I started with the law firm of "Me, Myself and I" and eventually ended up with partners and employees.

    1. You are absolutely right, Suzanne. There is a genetic component in entrepreneurship. Well done to start your own law firm! Agree with you that stating a busines should be part of the curriculum in high school. Not least since employment is slowly but surely becoming a thing of the past.

  10. I started my own business after getting laid off in 2009. As I had worked in my field for 25+ years, I had not only a lot of experience, but also many contacts in the industry, and so wasn't too difficult to get enough clients to support myself as a small business. I definitely agree that this may be the wave of the future as companies continue to keep hiring at a minimum and workers want more freedom
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  11. Not sure if everyone will be a business for themselves one day for the simple reason that there are people out there who are completely fine working for others. Another aspect which a lot of people have pointed out is that every business needs help with some aspect of their business every once in a while, HR, Legal, Compliance, Auditing, etc. Should everyone start a part time business and is that possible? Sure why not. But I don't think it would be a major or the majority source of income.

    1. It's not ideal, Bravo. But the speed with which neo liberal policies are being implemented makes it almost inevitable that each human being will have to pay their own social security, pension and so forht. Safe and sure employment is becoming a thing of the past, unfortunately.

  12. Self-employment is quickly becoming an emerging trend, though little seems to be done via education programs to train people for that likelihood. Not everyone is a born entrepreneur, but a little extra training on how to be successful as a contract worker could prove very helpful. I know I never imagined myself going down this route, but since I do not want to be a part of a failing education system, I have no other choice but to make my own way, and that way is quite a maze at times.
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  13. With the economy in shambles things are changing. Many employers have cut back and realize that they are able to exist without the extra baggage. I grow up in a time in the US where it was the land of opportunity and you could be entrepreneur if you had a vision. That is what was referred to as the baby boomers. They were creative. The kids today have such a structured life from their parents of what to do to it and when to do that they can't really think on their own, With jobs getting harder to find and people turn to creating their own companies, that will start to flood the market and we will be where we are today. No creativity.
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    1. It's the same in Europe, Arleen. Many teenagers today have parents who were the first generation to have a decent life. They frequently live on borrowed money but have, despite that, spoilt their kids rotten and told them they can do anything they want to do. Which of course they can't. It wouldn't be so bad if it hadn't been for the recent economic crash due to neo liberal policies. Personally used to believe in those policies but it turned out the markets don't correct themselves. Instead they crash. But despite the fact that we now know neo liberal policies don't work politicians all over the world keep on implementing more and more of them. Kids thinking they can do whatever they want are in for a nasty surprise:-)

  14. To have a job and your own business besides is one of the best things to be able to have. Then you will have your secure income but also learn, and hopefully, be able to expand your own business. If you are succesful, hoepfully you can switch more to your own business in future and maybe even leave your employment.

    However, in many countries, some banks and finance institutes insist that you need to have a secure emplolyment in order to be able to be granted a loan for buying an apartment/house.
    The banks are not always very flexible when it comes to grant credits. This is also something to consider when thinking of running your own business. So a mix of employment and business as a start can be a good thing.

    1. Agree with you Kristina. The pros are great but the cons can be disastrous. The fact that more and more people will need to be self employed is due to neo liberal policies. And so is the fact that it's become difficult to get loans in a bank. Neo liberal policies resulted in the recent economic crisis that made the banks reluctant to lend out money. But despite the fact that it has been shown that neo liberal policies don't work, they are still being implemented world wide. At least now the IMF is beginning to doubt that they work. At least that's something.

  15. Ideally everyone will or should be self employed as this is what any employer would seek to realize in terms of employees accepting responsibility as if they were entrepreneurs.
    Yes there are no longer enough jobs for everyone wanting to work, that is already a fact. Increasingly IT and globalization have destroyed so many jobs that the balance between available jobs and population is off. Yet people tend to find ways to create their own and markets are emerging that take us back to the local economy with much less IT, as usual the human kind finds ways to survive. This will have a killer-effect on most multinationals that do not adept in time.
    Education has always been lagging far behind, this whole system is dysfunctional so I do not expect anything there.
    As to competition between self employed people, this has been there since the beginning of time, if at all it will become much more sociable than inside and between big companies and/or multinationals for sure.

    With more local cultures and entrepreneurs serving the world comes the return of respect as you ca no longer disassociate towards a brand or flag but deal with and between individuals.
    that;s my 2cts.
    have fun.

    1. That's the ideal scenario, Eric. Catch is desparate people do desparate things. They feel they are playing with the devil so they act like the devil. Crime and violence are seen as acceptable alternatives, unfortunately. In Sweden a lot of pensioners are shop lifting? Why? Because neo liberal policies were applied to pensions in Sweden and the result is that a large number of pensioners have become poor. Unbelievable, isn't it. Have lived abroad most of my life and could not imagine something like that happening. But it's not only happening it's on the increase. Don't forget that those pensioners have been paying for their pensions all their lives. But the money they paid now go elsewhere:-)

  16. I have always been an entrepreneur and have owned my own business for 20 years. As a mother of 3 girls I have been teaching my girls the importance if being independent and a self starter.. We've just gotten involved with a brand new direct sales company as a way for me to teach them how to build a business from the ground up and make it a sustainable business.. Wish us luck! I think the challenge with the medical field is the extraordinary cost of small practices. Liability insurance is insanely high and makes it challenging for a young doctor starting out to turn a profit on a new business.I've grown up with my "home" doctor so to speak and love the relationship and trust that develops so I would love nothing more than to see medical care go back to what it should be instead of the industrialized medicine we have today.
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    1. Valerie, commendable initiative of teaching your daughters to be independent and self starters. You are right about all the complications and costs we face as company owners. But in most countries the system takes care of multinationals at the expense of small companies, unfortunately. Wish I could change that but it's a result of neo liberal policies.

  17. I listened to Bi Puranen, future scientists, many years ago. She foresaw these developments. I have, since I heard her, I always thought that the future will consist of people who are self-employed and flexible according to what the market needs. We use our knowledge and skills to what the market actually needs.
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    1. I think Cassi might mean she is a little bit scared of it. Not saying she wants to be unemployed. She is saying she wants to be retrained. I am assuming she is working now, so paying into the system, which she can take advantage of, should she become unemployed.

    1. Agree with you Susan. This is not a positive development. Many people will have a hard time being self employed. But that's unfortunately what's happening. It started with globalisation years ago and then neo liberal policies enforded it. The focus of the world economy is to make a much money as possible for multinationals at the expense of ordinary citizens.

  18. Things are definitely shifting, I know that when I talk to my son about university my reasons for encouraging him to go have changed. It used to be, go because it's a good way to get a job, now I encourage him to go because its a good way to learn the skills to create his own job. Although owning your own business isn't for everyone, we can't assume that what we understand as self-employment today will be the same in the future. Why wouldn't we form loose collectives and use associations to purchase our benefits, insurance and even financial needs? This is what some professionals do now anyway. We may all end working for ourselves, but it doesn't mean we'll end up working alone. Things are changing, but everything is shifting, not just one aspect.
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    1. Spot on, Debra. That's exactly what's happening. Business owners joining up and working like a company. It's great for those of us who can handle it but it will entail hardship for a lot of people.

  19. Some grim statistics because as we all know, and a few people have commented, not everyone wants to be an entrepreneur. I think if the trend is less employment, that people worldwide will need to adapt. When Obamacare, actually the unAffordable Care Act was made law in the USA I read something about a group of people seeing an opportunity to hold down their costs: turn their employees into subcontractors. That has a benefit both for the employer who doesn't want the potential health insurance penalty and the outgoing employee who will still be employed, but as a subcontractor. "All great changes are preceded by chaos," Deepak Chopra <= not sure if it holds true for all chaos, which at times seems where we are now.

    1. Agree Pat, most people in the world most likely don't want to be entrepreneurs. And even if they did, the majority of people don't have entrepreneurial minds so they would not succeed (there's a difference between having an entrepreneurial mind and merely carrying out entrepreneurial activity). Pat, what you describe with Obamacare is what happens all the time all over the world. People get fired and are then hired as independent contractors. Do you think less employment and more self employed and independent contractors is a great change for the majority of people in this world?

  20. I think there is another paradigm change taking place. Just like when the industrial revolution took place we now see more people taking charge and working for themselves. In the era of social media and the global economy it is much easier to do now.
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    1. That's one way of putting it Cheryl. But the way neo liberal policies are being implemented it is actually quite likely that we are going back to a society that resembles the feudal one we had in the past.

        1. Thank you for being so honest, Cassi. To prefer unemployment to being self employed says a lot. There are billions of people all over the world who are of the same opinion. And what are you all going to do when employent becomes more and more difficult to get?

          1. I think Cassi might mean she is a little bit scared of it. Not saying she wants to be unemployed. She is saying she wants to be retrained. I am assuming she is working now, so paying into the system, which she can take advantage of, should she become unemployed.

            It is true unemployment benefit is based in pooling resources together, if too many people claim it at the same time/suddenly, it does not work.

            This is why what is needed is a smooth transition into something more sustainable.

            So I guess it is going to be some people being self employed, more local businesses, such as food etc., some people being retrained, some people being unemployed, and some people staying in the jobs they are in now, some women having kids and staying at home with their kids instead of employing au pairs, nannies etc.

  21. Family Corporations is the way to go for the future. If we as family units create family businesses than the future will hold brighter then before. Job creativity is the way forward and networking to empower each others financially. It may mean that one or two items or products to trade with in other to give other families to look after other products. This will enhance greater opportunities for everyone and to rule out greed. It is in the best interest of larger population to create more job opportunities. Trade Policies might change in larger degree to embrace and welcome new changes. We policies like equality, justice, and fairness will the way to go for everyone of us. It means that equal opportunities, equal share, and fairness. The present policies may not embrace these principles. I am of a strong opinion that the future will be better if we have all Strategic Planners professionals work together to plan our world for a better place to live in.

    1. Family businesses may be a good way forward in parts of the world, Ara. In the majority of Western countries it is not however. Would be good if what you outline would be implemented. Maybe it will in the distant future. But for now neo political ideologies have the world in a firm grip, unfortunately.

  22. The traditional way of working is shifting. It will change the face of what we classify as work. What sectors will be spared? I believe the service industry such as restaurants, resorts etc.will always be in need of good qualified people. It would be difficult to provide or prepare and serve a quality meal or a quality experience without them. There are other areas in the same vain that will be expanding, but I fear not at the pace of the loss in other sectors. Just my thought at the moment. 🙂
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  23. Catarina — the law profession is undergoing a seismic change in the U.S. Newly-graduated lawyers can't find jobs, especially if they didn't graduate from a top-10 law school. People think that lawyers are pulling 6-figure salaries when the reality is that the vast majority of lawyers are making under 6 figures. Many are resigned to becoming contract employees — which, if effect, means becoming an entrepreneur. I think the trend is clear that more people are starting their own businesses, many by choice but a lot because they have run out of other options. The only industry that seems to be expanding is health care because of a growing, aging population. If I was starting a career now that's where I'd look for the opportunities.
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    1. Agree with you Jeannette. The number of people starting their own businesses because they have no other choice will grow dramatically. Would also opt for a career in health care if I was young now.

  24. It's seems like the only way to ensure a career is to going into business for yourself, but I don't think EVERYONE is going to want to be an entrepreneur. After all, those businesses started by entrepreneurial minds will need help running the day to day operations. And you'll find many people are afraid of the taking on the risks that comes with being self-employed. Are there risks? Absolutely! Are there rewards? Absolutely. For some, a pay check is more secure and definite. Limited, but definite.
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  25. I think that we need to think in a New Way to be able to adapt to the times we live in. We need to think more in network with other companies and make more temporary alliances too.

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