Gone are the days when you can rely on one source of income to survive. There is no secure full-time job anymore because the economy is too unpredictable and there are many external factors that you can’t control. You can’t control if your company goes into bankruptcy or if it’s acquired or even if they decide not to sell your product line anymore. It’s even possible that you may be replaced by a robot or someone who can do a better job at a cheaper price. With so much uncertainty, no free handouts and corporations that aren’t hiring even though they are making more money.
We’ve entered a new economy where you can’t take anything for granted. Don’t be surprised if you end up in a career or job you didn’t expect – it’s more common than you think. In order to confront uncertainty, the best thing you can do is diversify yourself. In the age of diversification, you need to have multiple sources of income and the best way to accomplish that is by having an entrepreneurial mindset. Think about career diversification the same way you think about managing a portfolio of stocks. If you put all of your money on one stock and it plummets, you are broke and living with your parents. On the other hand, if you invest in a series of stocks across various industries, you are more balanced and if one tanks you can stay afloat.
Although freelancing could be difficult for some, it is the easiest path to career diversification and it’s becoming more and more popular. Intuit predicts that 40% of Americans will be freelancers by 2020 and MBA Partners predicts that there will be more freelancers than employees by the same time period. With freelancing you can take on multiple clients and if you lose one, you can survive and replace that one overnight. Aside from the benefit of freedom and flexibility, it diversifies you in a way that protects you from economic uncertainty. I know this because I’ve done it personally and even if you work for a big corporation, you should be doing side projects (such as freelancing) just in case you get laid off. You can also parlay your entrepreneurial activity outside of work into a full-time job if you work hard enough at it.
Diversifying your career is the smartest decision you can make because it gives you the upper hand in your career, confidence, meaning and is your best insurance plan against things that you can’t control.
Pre-order Dan Schawbel’s highly anticipated new book,
Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success.