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There has been a seismic shift in the way people look at work — how they work, where they work, and who they work with. No longer built around the idea of a 9-5 job, the future of work is becoming much more fluid, allowing people’s creativity, passion and skills to shine. As this evolution continues, the creative economy and the ethos embodied by the creators will pave the way for the future of work.
In many ways, the future of work is already here. The creative economy is estimated to exceed $104 billion by the end of 2022 50 million people consider themselves creators, and about 30% of American youth want to become digital creators instead of traditional professions like doctors and lawyers. But being a creator doesn’t just mean using social media or monetizing online content. Being a creator means doing work that you have a deep passion for – which often means sharing experiences, expertise or creativity with an audience. That audience could be millions of subscribers on YouTube or a few dozen customers on Kajabi. That’s the beauty of the creator’s ethos: whatever you have to say, there will be an audience eager to consume it.
Related: Breaking into the Creative Economy in a Digital Age
Embracing a strong sense of self
At the heart of the creative ethos is a strong sense of self. Rather than being “one of many” or working for one company or marketplace, being a creator means you can thrive on your own terms. In fact, this strong sense of self is one of the biggest differences between gig workers and creators.
In the gig economy, workers have some freedom, but for the most part they are constrained by platforms that encourage uniformity among workers. For example, if you’re an Uber driver, you’ll be told who to pick up for a ride and when to pick them up. This is clearly different from an artist who has the freedom to sell their work on Instagram or collaborate with other creators to produce art and show it on YouTube, or an aspiring musician who not only makes music on Spotify, but also collaborates with other artists to make music picked up by TikTok creators.
Related: Can the Creator Economy Help Democratize Entrepreneurship?
There’s never been a better time to adopt the creator’s ethos
A confluence of events from the pandemic to technology to pay for transparency laws makes now the perfect time to let your creator’s ethos shine. While the seed was always there, this kind of thinking has become more prevalent as the way we think about work continues to change. The barrier to entry, traditionally high for most jobs, is significantly lower. These days, you don’t necessarily have to go to school to become an expert at something. You can learn from a plethora of online courses, both from institutions and other creators.
The pandemic has undoubtedly accelerated the shift to remote working, making it easier for those who want to follow their passions to have the flexibility to do so whenever and wherever they want. In addition, the pandemic has forced many people to re-evaluate their relationship with work and how they want to spend their time. Many people quickly realized that life is too short to do something they have no passion for.
For some, embracing the creator’s mindset was an inevitable choice. For example, my wife left her 9-5 job to start her own coaching and consulting practice after her passion for helping people helped her realize the freedom to leave oppressive systems. For others, becoming a maker was more circumstantial, such as those whose livelihoods were threatened by the pandemic and who discovered dormant creative skills to keep afloat.
Broadway recording artist, Kari Cotone, shared with me her story of how she channeled her writing skills when Broadway shut down during the pandemic. Prior to the technical tools that support online creators, she had to juggle between an executive contract and working in bars and restaurants. Now she can run a freelance writing business, work with clients online and adjust her workload based on upcoming artistic appearances.
We cannot forget the role of technological innovation in creating the environment and tools that creators need to follow their passions. Without the creation of communication platforms like Slack and Zoom, the proliferation of affordable laptops, ubiquitous high-quality Wi-Fi, and more, it’s hard to imagine creators being able to make a living, let alone thrive.
Related: Earning Passive Income in the Creator Economy
Companies must make room for passion
There is no doubt that passion breeds creativity. In today’s landscape, creativity drives business impact beyond mere hours. In reality, McKinsey Study finds a strong correlation between creativity and financial performance, and creativity and innovation.
In the next 10 years, I believe that over 90% of Americans will have some sort of passion-related income or job. The amount of time people invest, the income they earn, and the size of the audience they reach can vary significantly; however, it is inevitable that the passion-driven work will continue to spread.
Whether you’re a small business owner, startup founder, or Fortune 500 leader, every business will need to adapt to this new reality and think about what it takes to thrive in this changing environment. As business leaders continue to adapt to remote working and consider their employees’ desire to be part of something bigger, issues will need to be addressed in the context of this changing climate.
This is not the time to hinder creativity and passion, but to encourage it. When business owners encourage employees to adopt the creator’s ethos and employees give themselves permission to spend more time doing what they love, the future of work looks a lot brighter.