COVID 19 has had an extreme effect on how the workplace operates, but the truth is that in the past ten years how people earn income looks very different than the days when people accepted a job and worked for the same company until they retired. Migration from one job or field to another happens regularly now, sometimes driven by company changes and often driven by workers wanting more autonomy, better diversity, or new challenges.
Studies show nearly 85% of people who are working dislike their jobs. And in the last 20 years, there has been a 22% increase in independent contractors, and this trend seems to be continuing. Those statistics alone are enough motivation to develop a Plan B (that is to say, another way to earn income).
How did we get here? How the #FutureOfWork became flexible
One thing workers learned in these last 20 years is that employers exhibit minimal loyalty to employees and no one, no matter their experience or skill level, is immune to becoming redundant. Your degree or level of expertise is not a lucky charm that makes you indispensable.
Losing your ability to earn an income the traditional way because of downsizing or buyouts can be devastating, But it can be equally devastating to be stuck in a position that compromises your values or makes you feel expendable.
Having a Plan B can be a lifesaver at any age or any stage of your life. Today there are many ways to earn a living, and there’s no better time than now to become your own boss. Becoming a boss doesn’t necessarily mean you run a company, although that is an option. Instead it may mean you choose to contract your services rather than work as an employee, giving you more flexibility to set your working hours and fees.
When is Plan B right for you?
- When you want or need dependable side income to pay for expenses or afford amazing experiences or products
- When you want to work your way toward replacing your current job and salary
- When you have a hobby or talent that can also be a money-making business with a bit of ingenuity and commitment
- When you’re looking to transition into another phase of life
- When a Plan B provides sanity you can turn to when frustrated with your job
- When you have a problem that no one else is solving
- When you have constant anxiety about job security and living paycheck to paycheck.
You don’t need to develop a Plan B only because you need money (although that is a wonderful perk). Some people just enjoy spending time doing something they love to do! Your Plan B can offer you an outlet, and it might just help you survive an unexpected expense.
So, just how do you plan a Plan B?
- Identify your expertise: You might think your Plan B must be based on what you’ve done for a living, but that is only one option. Consult with those who know you best to identify areas of expertise or talent that can be the foundation of your Plan B.
- The Internet is your oyster: Much of the world’s commerce revolves around digital platforms, so it’s no longer necessary to only sell services or products locally. You can sell, teach, and consult online.
- Carve out the time: Make wise decisions about how you spend your time and how you invest for your new venture. Obviously, the more time you set aside to work on developing your income stream, the quicker you will have it up and running, but often people can get started with a minimal investment in a business license, perhaps some training or coaching on successful business development, and committing just a few hours each week to growing their idea.You might be wondering how to squeeze a Plan B into life when you seem to have barely enough time as it is, but once you create an alternative way to earn money outside working for someone else, you will make time, make it work for you, and invest in its growth.
- Planning a Plan B doesn’t have to mean jumping ship (right away): Creating a Plan B does not mean you have to jump ship from your current source of earning income. Carve out that time, start generating an income stream. You don’t have to make a big leap (or financial commitment) right away.
- Read, watch and learn: Take a class in something you’re interested in. It may spark a Plan B idea, or it may help you figure out a skill you already have that you can teach. Consider reading The $100 Start Up by Chris Guillebeau. It’s a great read about how people all over the world grew a side income stream with a small amount of cash and some great dreams and ideas!
With a little brainstorming, some mentoring, and tapping into a network you already have, you can identify the skills, talents and abilities you have that can create income.
What do some Plan Bs look like?
- A marketer I worked with was always looking for boarding arrangements for her dogs when she traveled. When she was unable to find what she needed, she created it, and two years later, she runs several pet boarding and training locations. In trying to create a solution for herself, she also solved a problem for others.
- One very savvy mom used her baby’s naptime to start a side business teaching parents how to prepare tasty, natural foods for their children. Her start-up investment for materials and a business license was less than $200.
- A medical professional had become disillusioned with the field and used her time off to offer professional photography and framing services. She began in her basement but now shares space with another creative and has been able to shift to working part-time in medicine, earning more of her living doing something she loves.
- The list goes on: A graphic designer who trains dogs, a nurse who helps people navigate complicated medical claims, people who teach little ones to swim, tutor students, offer handyman services, design jewelry, or provide pet sitting.
Each of these folks above saw a need, stepped in, and started an income stream. Your Plan B can be as simple as offering a course online, selling a product via a simple ecommerce shop, or creating a service you offer in your spare time. Or it can be a foundation that will eventually allow you the freedom to be your own boss.
Plan Bs make the #FutureOfWork better!
I am passionate about helping people create a Plan B because I have seen people’s lives change when they control how they earn income, who they work with, where they work, and when they work. Imagine if everyone coming out of college already had a Plan B in place. How many of those young adults would not be living in a parent’s basement wondering if they will ever have a job that will pay off those student loans!
The future of work is not work; it is reimagining, reinventing, and repurposing how to earn a living. It is breaking away from a mere hours-for-dollars exchange. If you want to be on the forefront of that change, start thinking about your Plan B.
It may change how you look at work for the rest of your life.