When kids graduate high school, they typically have three options: higher-ed, work, or the military. Not any more.
It's time to add a fourth. An entrepreneurial career option as a freelancer.
Some data will provide context. Intuit and Emergent Research have recently released a report that indicates that there will be 7.6 million Americans working in the on-demand economy by 2020, up 4.4 million from 2017. Edelman Berland estimates that 34% of the U.S. workforce is involved in freelancing, and with a workforce estimated at 157 million, that translates into 53.7 million people that are engaged in some form of freelancing.
You can add me as one of those that work in the on-demand economy as a independent freelancer. It's not easy. Actually, it's a pretty hard thing to do.
But, in my opinion, the number of students graduating high school and choosing to freelance as an entrepreneur is only going to increase.
Given that, are schools preparing kids to be entrepreneurial freelancers? Are schools preparing them to seek their own path and build the requisites skills that enable them to follow their passion(s) in an on-demand economy?
What's required? It begins with a very serious commitment to providing an experience where new skills set are explored, developed and directed towards building a very necessarily entrepreneurial disposition that is rooted in confidence, creativity, boldness, connectivity, and determination. That skill set also includes the use of technology, the use of different types of spaces for work, social media marketing, accounting, selling, doing presentations, interviewing, and being banker, web developer, health care provider, administrative assistant, support staff, travel agent, and founder, all of that rolled into just you.
How could these experiences begin in kindergarten and follow a pathway throughout school where the ability to negotiate and employ what I just described becomes a reality? That's the question at hand.
Adding another dimension to the choices that kids have at graduation should provoke the imagination. Imagine the new ways to engage students in experiential learning while developing community-based partnerships that could support entrepreneurism and freelancing. Imagine new spatial designs that could support a co-working environment and a renewed emphasis on technology as a tool that provides the 24-7 platform for creating the connections necessary for entrepreneurism. Imagine that teaching freelancing is a great way to reinvent school and what it means for kids.
Most importantly, imagine that freelancing is another viable option for kids and one that they should have the option to choose for the pathway of their lives.