An investor here, seeing growth in the ‘online’ economy, that army of digital entrepreneurs. The ebay army, individuals finding they are linked into a global market, with no intermediary required. Who isn’t doing something extra? Making something? Selling something? The article says the online economy is worth the same as our construction sector, which I doubt, but I know some of my friends are doing well enough, that inability to find work, or fears of work disappearing are easing.
Many, like me, juggling two or three sources of online income, to create something like a consistent stream. Ebay, amazon, etsy, mean an income stream, while you plan and prepare for longer term projects when you can’t get finance and have to plan around constant interruptions. Freelancing means invoices which don’t get paid, but making and selling something can ensure a stream of income underpins it. And can grow into something to replace it or employ others.
Safe to use, low odour polyurethanes, epoxy, silicon, and rubber, are cheap and require few tools. Small scale metal work requires few overheads. Online forums allow people develop skills and knowledge and ask questions when stuck, even if it’s 4am. You can take your time building up, be demand led and have an entire internet to educate yourself with. That means even small scale manufacturing and metalwork is possible in your house, a website providing your public face instead of a shop front with overheads. No requirement that you work between 10-2 to catch school, when you can work when the kids are in bed.
A job lot of something bought cheaply can be sold at a profit through a blog, and stored under the bed or in your attic. Self-employment and underemployment, everyone is a serial freelancer and entrepreneur these days.
Personal assistant services, bookkeeping services, almost everyone I know is doing something, and most of us are doing things that overlap, so we can help each other. We aren’t making chutney and cushion covers because Krusty Allsop says it’s fashionable. These days location means nothing, although the government keeps deliberately increasing the deficit we all live at, repeatedly….for the sake of growth. Even home based businesses require homes with power.
No industrial sewing machines, stacked boxes of magazines and DSS files waiting to be assembled and glued, delivered by exploitative bastards offering pennies per hour in this eighties revival. A laptop, a skill, and space in your home is a functioning start up, every one of them an innovation. The boom in ‘microbusiness’ has long been known about. The irony of this particular sector growing is that they are, and will always be, completely invisible to government of whichever variety. A significant proportion of these entrepreneurs are likely to have uteruses, and there is the possibility they may have been used…
As our young people consider emigration and relocation, in the part of this eighties revival that requires your young people leave because there is nothing to stay for, those wanting to stay in those communities and locked out of the labour market, have to take advantage of the death of a retail market and an accessible global economy.
The Big Society vision recognised the potential of this sector only in picking up the dirty work the public sector doesn’t want to acknowledge responsibility for any more. The invisible economy, made invisible, demonised, sacrificed and exploited for the sake of more acceptable ‘growth’. This is a sector being tripped up every step of the way because it can be got away with. Unemployment and welfare expansion to be used to keep wages low, waste our human resources, and keep Britain ‘attractive’. That’s a much better plan.