Locally, I help organize BarCamp Tampa Bay, the UN-Conference for creatives, geeks, and techies. We gather for 2 days to share, engage, learn and network. We have had over 60 sessions both years. There will be more this year.
This year I am working on a presentation I did earlier this year titled the Era of the Freelancer. Here is the first draft of the preso.
As more people are under-employed and unemployed for long periods, some we see no choice but to become a freelancer. Seth Godin writes that we all have Genius in us. We all have the ability to create Art. We just have to find it and work on it.
The flip-side of the coin is that freelancers, as described in Michael Gerber's E-Myth, only gets to do the stuff they like about half the time. The rest of the time, the freelancer has to sell, market, collect, administrate, and account for stuff. That's right, working for yourself means that you become all those departments yourself.
Luckily, there are freelancers you can hire to do some (if not most) of the duties, tasks and responsibilities that you don't want to do, don't like to do, or plain can't do (like payroll or bookkeeping). But now you have to be a Manager too.
This is going to create an entirely new strata in the workplace than we have now. Because some people are going to be really good at this, but most won't. So what happens? Median income will dip - so too will consumer spending.
BTW, this will mean more job creation from small and medium businesses -- zero, nada, none from enterprises. So where should the stimulus money go? The SBA!
A good example of a freelancer is telecom agent. Many are solopreneurs who used to work in the industry as a W-2. It's where many start. Some grow the business and hire employees. Some don't.
For Agents, it is about how much Product Knowledge you have and the proficiency of your sales skills.
Any comments on the Era of Freelancers is welcome.
On another note, ubiquious broadband, coffee shops and services like Skype and Wordpress have certainly made it easier to be Freelancer. You can work from any where!