Tag Archives: self employed

The Gig Economy

Gig Economy

When I was growing up, everyone was expected to work a 9 to 5 job with a pension, health care and other fringe benefits.  Only deadbeats turned down a “real” job to do their own thing.  Of course, even then cradle to grave employment was already a myth.

Lifetime employment with one employer went the way of the dodo bird in the 1970’s as the U.S. economy began opening up to international trade.  The auto industry, the bedrock of lifetime employment and gold-plated benefits, was the first to feel the shock.  To compete, the U.S. auto industry automated factories which meant they needed fewer workers.  That led to labor strikes and everyone blamed the Japanese auto makers for “stealing” American jobs.

In the 1980’s, President Ronald Reagan pursued his dream of “small government” which translated into de-regulating many industries.  That lowered costs to consumers but it also meant job losses.  One of the deregulated industries was trucking.  That led to more labor strikes and the occasional murder of non-union truck drivers.  Union members and their sympathizers used high-powered rifles to shoot at trucks driven by non-union drivers.  I remember holding my breath as I listened to the evening news, wondering if one of my truck driver relatives would be the next casualty.

In the 1980’s, companies automated many jobs to remain competitive.  They downsized and reorganized their workforces and cut their employee training budgets.  Today employers complain that workers are disengaged and lack loyalty to the company.  Here’s a news flash to employers: Employee engagement is not likely to come back.  Employees who are old enough to remember the 1980’s are not going to invest in a company that they believe won’t invest in them.

Millennials and Gen-Xers didn’t experience the wrenching changes of the 1970’s and 1980’s but their parents did.  So, in a sense, these younger workers grew up disengaged from their employers.  Rather than fitting into a box prepared by their prospective employers, they want to set their own hours and decide what work they will perform.

That’s not such a bad attitude because the economy has changed.  Our economy now thrives on technology that automates many jobs. Cloud-based software allows an entrepreneur to replicate an entire back office with little or no assistance.  Of course, this means that businesses large and small need fewer workers.  But it also means that the barriers to starting a business are lower which allows the self-employed and “gig economy” to grow.

A major concern is that government regulators are creating more rules that fit the old economy instead of the new “Uberized” economy.  Government service is virtually the only remaining industry with lifetime employment which may explain why the regulators are looking at the myth instead of the reality of today’s workplace.  Instead of more regulations, we need training programs to teach new skills to workers who have lost their jobs due to technological advances.

About Norma Shirk

Norma started her company, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor, to help employers create human resources policies for their employees and employee benefit programs that are appropriate to the employer’s size and budget. The goal is to have structure without bureaucracy. Visit Norma’s website: www.complianceriskadvisor.com/.

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Flying Solo:  Pros and Cons of Being Self-Employed

Flying Solo

I am self-employed.  Notwithstanding a part-time hourly gig, I am entirely responsible for my work product, time management, working conditions, clientele and income.  In the past, I spent years working in a corporate environment; a place I learned is not for me.  But being my own boss is not without challenges, either.  Thankfully, I have my supportive HerSavvy friends to help me over the rough spots and to celebrate my victories big and small.  In fact many of us are self-employed, leading one Savvy gal to refer to us as her “advisory board.”  I LOVE IT!!!!  Indeed there is a veritable font of knowledge flowing through this group so I decided to ask the question: What are the pros and cons of being your own boss?  And being the generous women they are, they gladly opened up and shared some of their lessons learned.  So, in no particular order, here are some answers from our HerSavvy Advisory Board:

“For what it’s worth, I love being self-employed because I have complete and utter creative and aesthetic control over my products and how they are presented, marketed and packaged. There’s no group that has to sign off on my new collection or the colors of my logo. I also enjoy being able to accept challenges and quickly modify offerings/policy based on client feedback. What I often struggle with is switching between the creative (right brained) responsibilities and the business/analytical (left brained) tasks. I find that to be most effective, I often need a bit of space between the two.”

“What I like – no issues with changing schedules as needed.  What I don’t like – being all things – custodian, bookkeeper, office manager, marketer etc…until and unless you have funds to outsource all this, it is a lot of work to wear all these hats.”

“Practically, my biggest hurdle to overcome was technical support.  I had resources to address all the legal consulting issues specific to my profession.  It was having/maintaining the technical tools that was tough. In a broader sense, I had to critically analyze my greatest weakness(es) and find outside resources to bolster my practice.  It takes a critical, objective eye and the willingness to admit that ‘you can’t do it all.’  That can be very difficult for some people. For me the biggest pros were not bowing to bureaucratic requirements that got in the way of serving my clients and freedom to set my own hours, focus on the type of law I wanted to practice, etc.  I also had greater freedom about setting my rates and even accepting consideration other than money.”

“Pro: You are your own boss.  Con: You are your own boss.  But expanding on the Pro side, you have flexibility with your time.  Even though all of us that are self-employed put in many hours each week we can take the time to go to that special family event or take our vacations on our schedule and not someone else’s.   And on the Con side being your own boss means you wear many different hats and that can be stressful and very tiresome at time.”

“Pro: Flexible schedule.  Con: Having to keep a watch on every piece of the business (i.e., billing, scheduling, business filings, etc.); not having anyone else to help manage those things.”

“Pro: I absolutely love the ‘Flexibility’ of being self-employed!  Con: The need to continuously look for the next job!”

“I thrive on the accountability of it. You do good work for a client you get rewarded; there are not as many variables between you and the work you do, unlike in a large corporate firm where the performance or needs of partners. etc., may affect you. I like control so this allows me maximum control over my work and reward. On the other side it is occasionally lonely. While your employees may be friends with each other, as their boss I could not have the same level of camaraderie. This is especially true in a small environment when you have 2/3 people working for you.”

So, there you have it, straight from the mouths of the most successful, motivated, intelligent, passionate, creative and amazing women I have ever known.  If you are self-employed, let us know your pros and cons and how you keep it all together.  Stay Savvy, my friends!

About Barbara Dab:

Barbara Dab is a journalist, broadcast radio personality, producer and award-winning public relations consultant. She currently hosts two radio shows locally in Nashville, TN. Check out her website athttp://www.zoneabouttown.com.

Barbara is also creator of The Peretz Project: Stories from the Shoah: Next Generation. Check it out at http://www.theperetzproject.com If you, or someone you know, is the child of survivors of the Shoah, The Holocaust, and would like to tell your story please leave a comment and Barbara will contact you.

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How The Heck Did That Happen?


Running a business is both exhilarating and scary.  It’s exhilarating to have total intellectual and artistic freedom to do what you want as you earn a living.  It’s scary because all the responsibility falls on you as the business owner.

Expect that you will have a few “how the heck did that happen” moments. These moments can arise from many situations.  Perhaps you discover that a trusted employee has stolen company money or property.  Perhaps you learn that a key supplier has gone bankrupt just as you are about to enter your busiest season, leaving you scrambling to meet your sales goals while searching for a replacement supplier.

Planning can make all the difference between failure and success for your business.  Planning involves taking three key steps:


  1. The first step is to ask “what if” questions. What if my key supplier suddenly disappeared? Asking this question means that you will immediately begin looking for a backup supplier. Or it could mean that you decide to use several suppliers at all times so that you have an existing relationship and can quickly ramp up orders to the surviving supplier. This type of planning is a component of what the pundits call your “business continuity plan”.  A good business continuity plan works in conjunction with a good disaster recovery plan or emergency response plan.


  1. The second step in planning is to buy insurance to cover your risks. If you have employees, it is always a good idea to get a policy that covers employee dishonesty.  These policies can restore you cash flow while your former trusted employee is living in the islands on your money.  At least your business won’t fail due to the sudden, acute loss of cash.  These days, most insurance companies offer package deals on property and casualty insurance that cover the basic liability risks faced by any business.  A basic P&C package can be supplemented with a “rider” that adds more coverage for specific risks.  Your agent or broker can help you decide which coverage best fits your company’s risks.


  1. The third step in planning is to remember that your advance planning will probably not fit the crisis that you face in your “how the heck did that happen” moment.  No matter how well you plan, something will boondoggle in unexpected ways. But having a plan means that you can improvise a solution. An existing plan can be tweaked to fit the unexpected and that will save your business. Not planning in advance is a guarantee of failure for your business.


If you follow the three key steps outlined here, I believe you will have the basics for a good corporate compliance plan.  After all, the point of a corporate compliance plan is to sort out all those boring back-office details that make the difference between failure and success, when you find yourself asking, “How the heck did that happen?”

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