The nature of work as we have known it has changed. The future of work is going be a lot more about people working for themselves either as entrepreneurs, as freelancers, self-employed—however you want to refer to yourself. The transition has already taken hold here now, and it is the trend that going to continue to grow in the future such that within the next 10 or 15 years, there will be more people working independently some form or another than there are employed people who are working regular jobs.
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00:19 Julian: Hello there! This is Julian Haber speaking, I’m here with Nanci Murdock and were launching slash podcast. So a little bit about who we are just to kick things off—I’m a professional photographer based in Montreal where we live. I’m also a writer. so in the spirit of what a slash is that would make me a photographer slash writer, 44 years old, father, married, have a daughter and, I’m not married to Nanci.
00:50 Nanci: I’m Nanci Murdock. I am 45 years old living in Montreal. I am a mother of two children, and I am also married. My slashes are I am a web developer slash financial blogger slash entrepreneur. Do you want to talk a little bit about why we’re launching this podcast together Julian?
01:11 Julian: The nature of work is changing, the future of work is gonna be a lot more about people working for themselves either as entrepreneurs, as freelancers, gig-ers whatever you want to call yourself. That transition has already taken hold here now. And it’s the trend that going to continue to grow in the future such that within the next 10 or 15 years, there will be more people working independently some form or another than there are employed people who are working regular jobs. So we set out to or what we’re setting out to do is to speak directly to you. You maybe a first-time freelancer, somebody who’s you know young old, middle age, never done something on their own before but wanting to do it. You maybe somebody who’s been forced to change so what we’re calling a recovering corporate warrior or somebody who has had their job eliminated, taken away from them willingly or unwillingly—or you could be somebody who is serving middle in your career who’s just looking for something to do on the side. You know, what Chris Guillebeau would call side hustle because you’re seeking something else your passionate about or your losing interest maybe on what you’re doing currently and hoping to grow a side business into something that maybe becomes full time down the road, and all this kind of different categorization or what we call “slashers.” And, so a slasher basically who has more than one revenue stream or more than one thing that they are doing to make money.
02:50 Nanci: And I think there’s for us, we talked about it and there’s two. At least two driving forces behind the let’s call it the slash economy or the gig economy. One is technology and how the barriers to entry to starting a business becoming an entrepreneur, launching a freelance endeavour have never been lower. For example, Julian is a photographer. It’s like 10:30 AM in the morning right now—if we took 25 of Julian’s photos within 90 minute—and for under $125, we could set up a complete online business including drop shipping, delivery, frames, accepting credit cards. (Julian: Nanci I want you to do that. Nanci: Cool, we’ll do that after lunch.) It really is that easy to start a business and in future episodes we are definitely going to be looking at the different tools that are available at Julian runs a successful freelance business. I would call myself, not that Julian’s not an entrepreneur I think that he is but I’m more of an entrepreneur in that my time is spent online building a business and less doing sort of freelance service work but whatever works, the tools apply to both. And so there’s the technology as a driving force behind this new slash economy and there’s also sort of the employers themselves. The financial crisis of 2008-2009 really allowed employers to push a lot of people out some legitimately and sort of maybe using it as an excuse to really to push back on the unions and they are really looking more towards just in time employees. So instead of they want a graphic designer instead of hiring a graphic designer at you know 38000 dollars a year plus benefits, plus vacation plus plus plus, with all the sort of paper works, bureaucracy and taxes there just like, we need a graphic designer for this project were willing to pay 14-20 dollars an hour whatever it is and its a 3-month contract and then it’s out. and for the employees you really lose the stability and I think that, that’s a real underlying theme for our podcast is this loss of stability and the anxiety and the stress around that and one of the things we wanted to highlight was it can be an opportunity both for the employers and the employees and whether you agree for it or not for many of us it’s here and it’s time to adapt and adjust. So just sum up on that it’s the technology, that allows us to start businesses and communicate and find clients easier than ever before and there’s sort of big change in the work force, where employers are moving towards a more just-in-time employee’s situation.
05:57 Julian: Yeah, I think if we wanted to really boil it down, were speaking to people who want to change their working life. I would say, in general people who wanted make changes in their life but really specifically change how they work and that change is either trust upon them or their choosing it and as Nanci referred to this can be, all changes you’d both as a threat and as an opportunity, and I think were skewing to the side of opportunity and were hoping to open that up through discussions about the tools, about the mind-set that we think is helpful when you’re starting out as a freelancer and you know bring as many real life example as we can, throughout the episodes to either interviews with actual freelancers or anecdotes of people that we know or we’ve met. To illustrate that in fact this kind of lifestyle much more rewarding than facing a career path or having a job where you work 9-5 or you know your concerns are both the corporate entity versus your own flourishing.
07:15 Nanci: I think that, I mean one of the reasons I wanted to state our age at the beginning is were not Millennials, and Millennials have a completely different experience than say I don’t even know what generation we are Y, X I lost track, but when I was growing up you went to school and if you have enough money you went to university or you got a student loan and then you got a job if you were lucky, you got a great job and with that job came benefits, holidays, pension and you worked at that job from age 25 to 65 or 55 again if we’re lucky like that. And so this is been my mind set for decades I would say but I did that and I found myself in a corporate environment and it just didn’t work for me, the pension and the vacation and the benefits, it just wasn’t enough and you start looking around and you see other people are doing it differently and I think that one of the reasons we’re seeing these trends as positive is that’s been our experience.
08:18 Julian: What was the turning point for you specifically where you have told the story of where you realize or why you realize you wanted to do something different, you were a director of marketing I believe?
08:24 Nanci: I, Yeah it wasn’t a slash because it’s an old slash I didn’t list the old ones.
08:34 Julian: The past slash but that was the turning point for you, was there a specific moment, day, event that led you to the conclusion that you wanted to do something different you needed to make a changed, or was it a gradual kind of evolution that you know came to you over time, did you have an epiphany or did it, were you slowly building up to it? Because I think those are both valid paths to becoming something new but…
08:58 Nanci: okay, we’ll you know me well enough Julian that that could turn into a 7-hour episode. However, I’m gone do my best here to make not a 140 characters but not much more. The first time I’ve been in a corporate environment twice. The first time, I was sort of forced out just because of stress, I wasn’t forced out by the company but my husband was working and travelling full time like crazy and I was in sales at that time and I was working and travelling full time like crazy and we had two young children under 5 and were in the middle of a huge renovation. You know long story short, I felt like I was burning out and it just became almost a force necessity for me to get out of the corporate world but because I didn’t want to go home and be with my children 7 hours a day not that there’s anything wrong with that, whole other episode, but I still wanted to work. I still wanted to feel productive, I wanted to earn money, I just couldn’t do that in a 9-5 environment anymore and for any parent that’s out there you know when you have to go to work, you’re expected at 9 o’clock whether it’s for a project or a meeting that you can’t miss and your young child has an ear infection, two parents are looking at each other it’s your turn but no it’s your turn. And it’s such an awful awful feeling of not being able to be in two places at once and so that’s definitely one of the benefits of this sort of slash lifestyle is this ability to, has been for me anyway, and I think for you too as a freelancer is to be able to have some sort of an autonomy over your schedule. Just to answer your question the first time I left because it was a forced sort of physical stress reason that I really needed to take a step back from the corporate environment and then I’d like to talk about this a little bit more later but I spent 2 or 3 years sort of trying to build this entrepreneurial online business sort of a new slash, if I can say that. I couldn’t make it stick, I couldn’t make it work. I really felt like I was treading water and I was taking like 3 steps forward-3 steps back and so I did the craziest thing, I went back to work. Actually at the same company and that’s when I was director of marketing. Then the next time I left was because of choice, it was because I have this quote, I have it frame on my wall “If you don’t build your business, someone else will hire you to build theirs” and for me that sort of the driving force behind why I do this is I know that I have solid skills, I know that I’m good at certain things and I want to build my business with those skills and I don’t want to trade my time for money anymore. I really found that for years, there was a place for that, it works, you need money you can trade your time for money, that’s great, but where I’m at today I want to build my own business I want to use all of the amazing tools. The research that their doing on mind-set and everything to focus on building my business and it’s that whole thing of the airplane where if there’s trouble you have to put the oxygen mask on yourself before you put it on your kids and so I do feel like “if I’m taking care of myself and my own business and I’m sort of happy and I’ve got the structure that I need. Then I’m a better friend, I’m a better mother, I’m a better wife and I’m just all around, I’m much happier. So I don’t think I told that story very short, but I hope that I answered it.
12:43 Julian: You’ve provided a lot of good detail. I think I like the idea of the boomerang. You know you felt the need for change, you responded, you left, you went back and you’ve left for good, I’d say. I can’t see you went back to a full-time job.
12:59 Nanci: I would say at this point never. Unless it was like completely on my terms, so never say never but no it’s working what I’m doing right now. It’s tough, there’s though days I feel like I’m in a middle of a tough quarter right now. So I think that in this one thing we wanted to talked about I how do you handle, when the going gets tough and it will, but just for this introduction we really wanted to just focus on what is slash about, what do we want to accomplish with this podcast and a little about the history of who we are and how we got here, which brings me to you, what made you convert?
13:36 Julian: I like your answers, very prosaic. I think mine was a lot more of visceral than that. I really hated working for somebody else. I’ve always hated working for other people and you can’t fire yourself which I think is a great way to look at being self-employed you’re always gonna have the opportunity to go out there and get business if you got a hustle in you. And Personally I love, you know I wake up every day and I’m excited whether I have work or not. The opportunity to go out and get work or for me to do something that I want to do further enlarging my vision and myself through the projects I’m working on is really energizing. If I look back, did I have a specific moment? I mean I can speak to a time in my life where I didn’t have any of this confidence of myself, were I went on did an MBA because I thought that was a good thing to do to get a good job, I want to make money and I didn’t want to do law cause it took twice as long as an MBA. You know, English major initially which over to modern languages, lots of different interests but not any specific career path in mind, graduated from university in the midst of a recession and really had no clue what to do with my life. I think my first job was leading adventure travel tours to South America which was a great first job but after a year and a half doing that it just felt like I was spinning my wheels literally. So without going into too much detail, after doing the MBA I got a job in a very traditional corporate entity, I won’t say anything to the company but I worked a, I was a cubicle warrior and I had the worst possible experience anybody can have. There was a smothering silence to the office, open hostility with some colleagues one of whom as it turned out I took her job. The job posting was her actual job, when I showed up for the job she like hated me immediately, doing the kind of work that was at on its best days uninspiring and on its worst days soul crashing, facing off with the screen every morning making PowerPoint presentations and excel tables that nobody really cared what they wanted to see but was my job and I spent months and months doing that. I was getting paid well, it was a great post-MBA experience in a good company but for me, it felt like a very slow eruption of myself and I died a little bit every day. At some point I just realize, you know what this is not worth it I don’t want to, I don’t care about career path, money, status you know the job, I wanna do something I cared about luckily I had maintain a small spark of other interest one of which was photography and that’s really where id began. I pulled on that tiny little thread and I just kept on pulling on it and 15 years later I have thriving photography business that’s, I‘m sure I’ve done much better with photography than I ever would have done had I tried to thrived forward into that corporate structure that I just wasn’t cut out for. I can’t imagine having done anything else isn’t feel like I had a choice but you I look back and I did have a choice. When I first set out, I hardly made any money at all that something you know I think that is a reality you have to face if you decide to go 100% independent and you don’t have to choose that of course because there’s ways to start side hustles, job on the sides you’d take on or do during your off hours. Which maybe a much more intelligent way to go about things depending on your financial situation or you may be benefiting from being a relationship where one person’s working at a full-time job and you’ve got that extra time or that luxury exploit your own career development. So whatever your situation is, but in my case it really was about taking a big hit financially and also psychologically going from, taking yourself out of the herd and then starting to try you own thing in the beginning, spending a lot more time alone and you might expect to or want to its difficult but if you don’t have that tingling experience to go through those growing pains, you won’t get to the point in life where you feel like you’re flying, that’s my story.
18:15 Nanci: That’s awesome and I really admire Julian for doing it 15 years ago because I think one of the reasons that I had the hard time the first time I set out to be entrepreneur is the tools just weren’t there. I just wanna stress how much easier it is with the tools even just for invoicing, client relationships, sales, marketing, building a website, so kudo’s to you Julian for 15 years ago making that work.
18:43 Julian: So another thing, we wanna talk about is the gig economy. So briefly, what is it? How would you define the gig economy?
18:51 Nanci: Well it’s about what we’re saying about this sort of just-in-time employees that companies want. So for the employee’s side of it, it’s a series of gigs. So i might have a gig at GE for 3 months, if say I’m a graphic designer I might have a gig at GE for 3months, I might do 8 weeks at bombardier, I mean I might do a private contract one on one from my website, I find client on my website and I do projects for them, logos and so you just really structure your business so that you have marketing, sales and were gonna teach you how to do most of that automated. Then you just sort of have this pipeline of gigs, where you can plan your vacations and any time off that you need and your income really. So for me that sort of the definition of the gig economy is a series of a pipeline of upcoming work contracts and we’re calling them gigs and not just us they, you know gigonomics is a we just looked it up on Wikipedia. Why? Because Julian has a new book coming out called Gigonomics and it’s a, I can’t read it from my head right now cause I can’t remember what it was but it was sort of the economy of short-term work contracts.
20:16 Julian: Right, and I think that you know, it’s technologically driven change that’s fundamentally altered the way human societies are organized. So we are living through that time now, the economies really shifting in favour of short-term contracts, small gigs and its being driven by all kinds of you know people talked about hollowing out of middle class, you know and I think that’s the reality that we’re facing today and that’s because robot’s artificial intelligence, leveraging big data all these kind of buzz words de jure are actually transforming how goods and services are produced and delivered in our societies and a lot of the jobs that used to do aren’t going to exist are already disappearing and the jobs of the future of yet to be invented but those jobs are going to be largely determined by people independently taking into their own hands the responsibility for their own future and for their revenues, for their careers. There’s a quick quote by William Gibson a science fiction writer who says “The future is already here, it’s just distributed unevenly“ and I think that is a call to arms for us and with this podcast because whether you realize it or not you are working in the gig economy and you may already be a freelancer you just not know it. The reality, take a look at your job if you got one how secure is the company that you work for? The industry they’re in? I mean 15 years ago, who would have thought AirBnB would be the biggest hotel operated in the world but doesn’t own a hotel.
21:58 Nanci:15 years ago who thought that Kodak would not be in a dell 500, I mean they did not see digital photography coming or they did and they thought it was a fad. I completely agree I think that this model I talked about, about going to school, going to university, getting a job and retiring, the model has almost completely broken down and were seeing the results of that and what we wanted to do with this podcast is a help with that transition and make it more an opportunity and something where you can thrive and not just survive change.
22:37 Julian: Yeah, and I think maybe one way to lead us into our next step episode is for you to a start to think about yourself in terms of what kind of freelancer are you? What kind of freelancer do you want to be? Are you an accidental freelancer? Have you fall into it? Are you somebody who’s got a passion for something, a hobbyist that’s either turning professional or like to turn professional? You see yourself more as a portfolio manager running various different freelance businesses? You look at yourself more as a pirate, pirate freelancer? or a nomad, somebody who’s out there who wants to fuel a lifestyle and do what it takes to maintain living on the road or living somewhere else and changing physical location? Or your purposeful freelancer? The intentional freelancer, who’s choosing to do something because it’s the best choice for you and for the world? And I guess I hope that wherever you are on the continuum purpose driven freelancing becomes a part of why you are what you are and will fill in one space between your two slashes.
23:42 Nanci: I think that’s great. I think that’s a great place to end it, you want to wrap it up? Our next episode will be next week, find your why. How to find it why you’re doing what you do to really help you get through hard times. So just to finish up. Thank you, Julian. If you want to reach us you can reach us on the Facebook page Slash Podcast. You can find us at slashpodcast.com and there’s just tweet anyway you wanna reach out to us, give us feedback, and ask us questions: slashpodcast.com