Shhhhh…it’s yet to be given the attention it deserves but one of the fastest growing trends in employment, in particular, self employment is going digital! . For Generation Z’s it is intuitive as many have grown up only knowing technology. They now are avid users and buyers online; communicating on SnapChat and Instagram, undertaking frequent purchases on the iTunes Store, accessing music and movies through Spotify and Netflix and downloading the latest games and useful apps for entertainment, information, boredom busters and mental challenge.
The digital and online economy is huge. While our younger generation have digital literacy embedded in their psyche you don’t have to be the “Next Gen” to explore an online/digital business as a viable career pathway. What’s more, as you get more “life/career skills” you may be able to spot a gap in your industry or identify one with scope for digital disruption! But first let’s look at the types of possibilities for using an online business or career strategy.
You may have already had some exposure to buying/selling online if you’ve sold cars/caravans, household items or personal affects. The modern trading post allows buyers and sellers to come together on specific sites, such as carsales.com.au or more general sites such as e-bay or gumtree.
Moving a volume of product into the e-trade space is akin to a retail store minus the “bricks & mortar”. The opportunity allows you to open up trade globally and there a minimal barriers to entry. For some traders they never leave eBay. Ebay continues to invest in SEO so goods that you may be looking to sell rank strongly in searches by prospective buyers. If you make or import categories of product then you can launch very quickly setting up on eBay. I have known high school students who boast successful online businesses; and with “paper runs and check out operator roles” fast losing traction, teenagers are now accessing different modes by which to access cash. Alternatively, you may be an established retailer/wholesaler with a strong brand or unique product offering. Such traders often scale to the highest level of digital strategy with a full blown website with ecommerce built in, complete with a comprehensive shopping cart allowing buyers to shop securely from the website direct. This can significantly boost sales to an already solid business.
2. Training, learning and development
Are you a subject matter expert (SME) or do you have skills in a certain field that others could benefit from? Non-accredited training programs can be compiled and delivered in a business, industry or education setting. However the biggest trend for individuals is remote/online training. Uni’s and Training Organisations are doing this highly affectively. The beauty is the material (and potentially video training sessions) can be accessed again and again with little modification required. Individuals can access training across the board by purely searching for courses, reviewing a “sneak peak” of content, signing up with a click of a button and credit card purchase and undertake a self-paced training course. Topics can be as far reaching as using software such as Word, Excel or PowerPoint, mastering the English language or learning a new language, to specific “how to” skills. It’s there online. If you have the capability to impart your knowledge, prepare course booklets and present to the camera you can move to monetising your offering by developing a course and offering it online on sites such as Udemy.
3. Broker products or services
Consider the current transitions we are witnessing across industries?
Travel agents to brokers of travel and accommodation such as Webjet, Travago, Hotelz, Lastminute.com.
Mortgage, Power and Insurance Brokers to iselect and comparethemarket. Coupon and discounts to Scoopon. Consumers are continually seeking a better deal or purely want to see a selection of services and compare them all on one site. It’s fast and easy to find what you’re looking for courtesy of such Apps.
If you can think of a product or service where you need to search and compare each organisation/product or service individually then you’ve found a niche that is yet to have a digital collaborator/broker. With an idea, a great app developer, crowd funding plus an angel investor wouldn’t go astray you could be the brokerage portal for an industry/product or service.
4. Revolutionise an industry in App development
The Uber App has transformed the taxi industry. AirBnB has transformed the accomodation sector. Now anyone can access other means of income by becoming an Uber driver or leasing out their house or part of their house on AirBnB. I know regular 9-5 workers that are exiting normal careers to work and derive income in a very different manner. Even work and the offering of services is now brokered through sites such as airtasker, freelancer, Upwork and odesk.
All sites began with an idea..a thought..which led to an innovation and they are now changing the way we buy, what we buy and the service as it is traditionally delivered.
Whether you can conceptualise a way traditional services are delivered or choose to channel a career that is a derivative of the online economy you are on the digital highway and can charter a pathway to career success ..in the modern age.
Article written by Maree Herath, Harvest Recruitment Agency Director and author of “Bodysnatchers – Unlocking the Secrets of the Recruitment Industry” .