Note; originally published January 2016, republished August 2019 (as this is becoming true about 4 years later).
About 40% of the labor force in America will be self employed by 2020. Globally, including the developing world, well over 50% is self-employed.
Whatever you call it – the free agent economy or the on demand economy or the capital crushes labor economy – it is a reality that banks are ignoring and entrepreneurs are serving.
When half of your customer base is deemed irrelevant, it is not your customer that has a problem. That is when you have a problem.
Marketers, particularly marketers at Banks, love nicely defined categories. They want to know if you are a Consumer or a Business. This is the same tidiness that bureaucrats seek. Is that kitchen for cooking or for that business you are working on? Are you self employed or starting a new business? No, you are not allowed to answer “all of the above”.
Entrepreneurs just service a need no matter what the label. Many companies are profiting from serving the “really really small business” by helping them to either get to ramen profitability or supplementing ramen profitability with some “income on the side”:
- eBay who pioneered this by turning the local yard sale into a global business.
- Paypal and Stripe and Paystand and any other payment enabler for e-commerce.
- Amazon serves entrepreneurs in so many ways – with AWS as well as a distribution partner as well as a way to sell your creative works.
- Uber, AirBnB and all the other ways to make some extra cash with spare resources.
- Etsy because they figured out that consumers are also producers and that many of us find mass-produced stuff boring.
- Alibaba which does all of the above and is more valuable than…
That last one – Alibaba – is a reminder that there are two big waves of change happening at the same time – digitization and globalization. They are related because:
“bits don’t stop at borders”.
That is why this is about Micro Multinationals.
The creative economy is full of micro multinationals. If you create something, you want to sell it to whoever wants it wherever they are and let them pay in whatever currency they want and you want to keep as much as possible of the sale price.